Khmer fusion cuisine at its best

Originally published in Khmer Times:

Setting a new standard in the finest of the fine dining department is the Khmer-owned-and-run restaurant Roleque, which opened in November, which is unique to Siem Reap, in that it only serves eight people at a sitting and serves only one set course of seven dishes.

The restaurant is the creation of chef Keam Kongleaphy and former PR practitioner Proeun Panhary, and the idea is to create a vibe akin to being invited to a friend’s house for a wonderful dinner.

This is paying off, according to Panhary who said, “Most of our customers who come to our place say that Roleque is really something new and unique to them.”

Siem Reap-born Panhary studied at a university in Phnom Penh and in 2018 she also participated in two startup competitions – Startup Weekend, and the SmartStart Young Innovator Programme. She then worked as a sustainability specialist, then in PR and media and she also travelled internationally and domestically with her father who owns a travel agency, sparking her interest in tourism and hospitality.

Chef Phy developed his own culinary prowess while studying for university degrees, first in Phuket where after enduring the usual student hospitality jobs, he ended up owning his own restaurant-bar. He then went to Tokyo to complete his Master’s degree where, unable to cook the Khmer food he craved, he developed a fusion style that evolved into the fare featured at Roleque. The diverse backgrounds, interests, and influences of both business partners have influenced the creation of Roleque.

“Roleque was originally inspired by the Cambodian term ‘រឭក-recall,’ meaning the remembrance of what has been learned and experienced,” Panhary said.

“Our menu was crafted from the collection of memories and inspiration from the different types of food we had in different countries and here in Cambodia.”

She added that the mission is “to offer a meaningful and interactive dining experience through exceptional fusion cuisine in a home-like environment,” and the vision is “to become the most loved and enchanting fusion cuisine in Cambodia.”

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