Take some cool, modern and classy interior design, add it to a traditional style Khmer wooden house, throw in some up beat funky music and you get the perfect setting to enjoy some outstanding fine-dining, vegan Khmer food.
You’ll find all this and more at Embassy, part of the Angkor W Group of restaurants in Siem Reap so when they told us they’d adapted their usual regular fine dining tasting menu and made it 100% plant-based, we made a reservation straight away.
As we’re on a Vegan Food Quest to find, eat and write about the best vegan food in the world we thought it sounded like a good opportunity, especially as part of the philosophy of the Chefs is to rejuvenate ancient Khmer recipes and to use local and season produce.
The Vegan Food:
There was something we really loved about the table setting at Embassy; perhaps it was the delicate wine glass selection ready for the paired wines that were available with each course, or the cool orange chopsticks; either way it left us with a great feeling of anticipation for the food being prepared for us.
An amuse bouche was the first little delight to arrive; a shot glass of a light boiled rice and vegetable soup with black mushroom and crunchy bean sprouts, and a pair of lightly fried pastry rolls filled with a spiced cashew nut mix.
The soup shot was subtle and soothing, a nice simple start, but the cashew rolls really gave us an idea of just how good our tasting menu was going to be. Warm, crispy pastry on the outside and a delicious aromatic, tangy chopped cashew nut filling flavoured with lime leaf and Khmer basil on the inside.
Our appetiser was a ‘Khmer Vegetable Satay’; hollowed out cucumber pieces stuffed with fresh sweetcorn kernels, bean sprouts and spring onions and mixed with delicious fresh Khmer herbs. It was light and fresh, a little spicy and full of peppery flavours but the highlight was the different fresh herbs which brought new flavours to each mouthful.
Cambodian markets are full of different varieties of sweet potatoes and so we were excited to try the ‘Sweet Potato Soup’; a beautifully coloured broth with two pieces of local ‘snake zucchini’ that had been stuffed with a vermicelli noodle and purple sweet potato mix. The broth was light and peppery which was a perfect compliment to the stuffed vegetables which were full of sweet potato flavour.
It was hard not to love the next dish; a Khmer red curry with rice noodles and vegetables. There was a fountain of herbs and spices bursting out of the middle which matched the flavours bursting out of the noodles. The coconut cream based curry was sweet and fragrant with lemongrass, galangal and lime leaf, then finished with coriander. It was full of crushed peanuts, sweet potato and crunchy green beans which was a wonderful contrast to the soft rice noodles.
Our final main course was an unusual sounding ‘Vegetable Caramel’ with steamed rice served in a woven banana leaf basket. Stewed jackfruit, beetroot, turnip and carrot were coated in a delicious sweet rich sauce, full of tomato and caramel flavour.
Every good meal has to come to an end eventually and we were happy that our final course at Embassy was just as amazing as all the others. A crispy sesame banana tempura paired with seasonal milk fruit and a milk fruit and orange puree on the side with fresh mint leaves to garnish.
We’d never tried milk fruit before but now we’re hooked (although we’ve probably been spoiled by the excellent use of it in our dessert!). The puree was sweet and creamy and had just the perfect amount of orange flavour (without any sourness); the banana tempura were light and crispy with sweet warm banana flesh on the inside and the milk fruit on the side was deliciously creamy.
The Vegan Food Quest Verdict:
Want beautifully presented, great tasting Khmer food made with fresh seasonal produce? Then follow in our Vegan Food Quest footsteps and make a reservation at Embassy.
Try the vegan tasting menu for an adventure of Khmer plant-based cooking. You’ll get to enjoy vegan versions of Khmer classics and you might even discover a few new ingredients along the way.
*Please contact Embassy in advance if you would like to experience their vegan tasting menu.
We were guests of Embassy but please rest assured that their generosity in hosting us didn’t influence our views.
Kings Road Angkor Village,
Telephone: [+855] (0) 89 282 911
Opening Hours: 1000 – 2300