Cafe de la Paix (sorry, this place no loner exists, too bad it was one of my favourites)

The hotel is now the Park Hyatt Siem Reap and this restaurant is now the Glass House Deli - I will do a new review when I return to Siem Reap later in the year.


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The Cafe de la Paix is the best delicatessen style restaurant in town.

Entrance is both from the street and The Hotel de la Paix Arts Lounge. So if you are in the mood for a good New York style (well sort of) sandwich and a little culture, this is a pretty good choice. Sort of like sneaking in to the exclusive world of the Hotel de la Paix through a side door.



The Hamburger de la Paix

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I have eaten the hamburger (and other sandwiches) at the Cafe de la Paix before, but this is the first time I have taken a photo of it. This is the house special ‘Hamburger de la Paix’ with bacon, cheddar cheese and caramelized onions. What you see in the picture is what you get, the Hamburger is $7.00 and the Coke is $1.73, plus 5% service charge and 10% VAT = a total of $10.09

The presentation may appear a little cold and stark, but this a food outlet in the Hotel de la Paix after all, so ultra modern minimalist is what you expect to get. The service was also a little cold and aloof, but when I asked for a glass and ice for my coke (which was served in the bottle with a straw), I got a smile and was given this very nice tall coffee cup filled with ice (at no extra charge). The hamburger itself was well done and on the dry side (I gave no special instructions), but much better tasting than any other hamburger I have had in Siem Reap. The cheddar cheese was almost non-existent (I had to check several time to make sure it was there), the bacon was very crispy and black (maybe on purpose), and the caramelized onions where caramelized (what else can you say).

There is a big difference between a hamburger that is prepared by a short-order cook in a New York Deli or a California Hamburger Joint, and one that is produced by a hotel kitchen that has a hierarchy of chefs who design and supervise food preperation. I am a big fan of American Road Food joints where the hamburger is king and no two hamburgers are alike. So how would I improve this hamburger:
1. I would put a little more fat in the meat, not much just a little and spread the patty wider, if the hamburger is too thick it has to be cooked for too long.
2. I would choose a more interesting bread, there is no rule that says hamburgers have to be on round puffy and dry little buns.
3. The bacon should be sliced thin, cooked well done but not burned, and piled on the burger loosely.
4. The cheddar cheese should be thick enough to experience the taste and not completely melted into the meat.
5. Grilled onions (in the bacon and hamburger fat) are a better fit for hamburgers than caramelized.
6. A slightly bigger plate and a lengthwise sliced quarter of a pickle or a few onion rings would really help make this a great $7.00 hamburger.

Overall impression: A very good hamburger for a hotel food outlet and one of the best available in Siem Reap.



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Interior view of the Cafe de la Paix. The space is fairly small, so you don’t get much room to relax or spread out your belongings, but it still feels fairly comfortable. For a big guy like myself you don’t dare sit in any of the booth side seats though, I would probably not be able to get up without causing a table to fall over. I always take one of the small window tables and do not stay if there are too many customers. There is also a narrow counter with stools along one wall, but it is way too small for me. Internet surfers are welcome and there are always a few in residence, sipping on a coffee and catching up on their emails.



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Cafe de la Paix
Sivatha Blvd. - 063 966 000
Part of Hotel de la Paix but with separate street entrance.
Very good delicatessen style sandwiches and great coffee.
www.hoteldelapaixangkor.com/en/dining/cafe_de_la_paix/