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Le Cedre - a taste of Lebanon

By: Mitchell Isaacs Posted: January-01-2006 in
Mitchell Isaacs

The diversity and quality of the international cuisine available in Phnom Penh is a constant source of surprise and excitement to me, however cuisine from the Middle East has been notably under-represented.

Needing some sort of pick-up after the aftermath of a rowdy Friday night, I was glad to be going to the opening of Phnom Penh's new Lebanese restaurant, Le Cedre. Greeted by the owners in the stylish front garden, I was quickly ushered to the outdoor dining section, and poured a sharp, but very drinkable red from Lebanon.
More photos of Le Cedre are available in the EAS Photo Gallery.

Following my friend's arrival, Karol the owner greeted us and insisted we share a drink of "the best drink in the world", a milky-white aniseed concoction called arak. The food followed shortly, and varied from good to excellent. For the vegetarians, we had a wonderfully textured hummus, moutabbal (a smoky eggplant dip) which was divine - complex flavours and not too heavy on the smoke, pickles, and a very fresh tasting tabouli, all with freshly baked flatbread. Falafel was served soon after, and while it wouldn't make my top three list, was very tasty, and I would certainly order it again (for the record - the falafel on a subsequent visit was vastly improved over the opening night - with a good crisp outside, and slightly crumbly inside - that alone will make me return!).

The meat dishes on offer were given high praise by my dining companion, with his favourite being the kibbeh, a crumbed mince concoction with pine nuts. Other meat dishes served included small meat filled pastries, and chicken chawarmas.

Our meal was concluded with some raucous singing and dancing from our generous hosts, baklava and Chaaybiyat , accompanied by strong, aromatic coffee, poured at the table by chef Issa.

Considering the elegant setting, and well prepared food, I was fearing that I would never be able to afford to return, However, with dips ranging from $3 to $3.50, chawarmas and sandwiches under $3, and Lebanese pizzas from $2 to $3.50, the price is certainly reasonable enough to make Le Cedre a regular meal.

Le Cedre

No. 1, St 360

Tel: 023 997 965 / 012 810 731 / 011 399 335

Open 11am-9pm, closed Mondays.
Le Cedre at EAS Photo Galleries


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