What’s Khmer Kitchen?
Primero Hospitality has leased the erstwhile home and writing studio of a certain stalwart of Indian literature and theatre, in J P Nagar, Bengaluru. The said structure itself was a challenge to restore and the property that was nestled between full-grown trees has birthed a new restaurant, Khmer Kitchen (KK).
Khmer Kitchen’s path-breaking, one-of-a kind and the very first Cambodian restaurant in Bengaluru and has a menu that has been designed and birthed out of travel, love, and passion for all things Cambodian.
The menu at Khmer Kitchen is borne out of a painstaking process that’s inclusive of 8 trips to Cambodia(and Battambang, Kampot, and Kaoh Ker regions) a fruitful collaboration with the legend, Chef Kethana Dunnet, author of Cookin’ Cambodian, yes, the very same who taught Gordon Ramsay how to cook Fish Amok. Aided by the intensive culinary research by Chef Nak and endless food trials through the lockdown until the gates opened at the end of 2020. The resultant menu, that we hope will remind you of your travels in Cambodia or inspire you enough to go there. We’re but enablers here at Khmer Kitchen.
The food at KK is a unique marriage of some of the staple ingredients like jasmine rice (premium Angkor variety), Kampot pepper, noni leaves, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime, turmeric, and the freshly made Kreoung paste, the said paste gets made in a dosa batter grinder (talk about Indian ingenuity) and is never refrigerated nor frozen, ever.
With the menu being 40% Cambodian, with albeit of a Chinese influence, less spicy than Thai, a certain sense of subtlety along the lines of Laotian and a full repertoire of pan-Asian offerings of healthy salads, steaming dim-sums, sushi, baos, and soup bowls that are comforting to the soul. And how does one forget the French (colonial) legacy which has left Cambodia’s desserts that much richer (pardon the pun). The result is a menu that we hope will satisfy the traditional palates whilst still enthralling the adventurous.
Cambodian cuisine is an epicurean’s delight and signature dishes owing to masterful techniques and simple ingredients are aplenty, Mud Crab with Green Peppercorn, slow-cooked Braised Pork Knuckle in Honey Soy Glaze, Lamb Shank Saraman Curry with a russet sauce, Fish Amok, Nam Ban Chok, Kuy Tiev, Royal Makh Mee, Mekong Fried Rice, Red Kreoung Pork Curry, Black Pudding, Royal Pumpkin Custard with butternut pumpkin and Kampot Pepper Crème Brulee.
The innovative cocktails are another hidden gem much like the Cambodian cuisine, be it the Wat de Ampil, Realm of Angkor, Bayon Warrior, Spirit of Mekong, and Enchanted Kep.
Khmer Kitchen is a case study, architecturally, as to how one ought to respect the old structure whilst giving it a new life, the cozy library is retained with its charm intact at its old place, whilst the private dining-rooms overlooking the calm garden courtyard below provide for privacy and are adorned with the original terracotta filler slab.
Speaking about the latest venture, Naveen Reddy, Architect, Partner at Khmer Kitchen said:
“The traditional Cambodian concepts are given a contemporary style in form of openings, entrances, and motifs that adore the restaurant interiors. Traditional Cambodian fishing baskets transform themselves into lighting elements, and motifs become part of the railings and glass patterns.
The Angkor bar’s backdrop is based on the ‘Bayon’ Temple blended with the ‘Taphrom’ temple’s iconic trees. The result is a unique mural that blends into a Jackfruit tree at the bar, that stunningly bears fruit out of the mural itself.”
Khmer Kitchen is ideal for a lazy brunch atop the serene terraces that are ensconced with canopies, lunch and/or a high tea at their day café, Khmer Kafe, or evening dinners, late-night coffee dates, and delectably sinful desserts.
Khmer Kitchen’s a path-breaking, one-of-a kind & the very first Cambodian restaurant in Bengaluru borne out of travel, love, & passion for all things Cambodia.