Architect models his own house on Angkor complex

Building the house took three years.
Building the house took three years. PHOTO SUPPLIED

By Cecelia Marshall for the Phnom Penh Post

When architect Drew Heath returned to Sydney after visiting Angkor, he mulled over how he could remodel his grandiose home. The house he created recently won the 2013 National Award for Residential Architecture. Cecelia Marshall heard how he did it.

The temples at Angkor have inspired travelers from all corners of the globe for generations – from the first explorers to modern-day poets, artists, and musicians. But few decide to try to recreate them at home. Drew Heath, an Australian architect, first visited Cambodia five years ago as a tourist and came away from the ancient structures with an unusual plan. Last month, his $9 million Angkor-inspired home in Sydney won the 2013 National Award for Residential Architecture House.

At home, the 44 year-old runs the Drew Heath Architects firm, mostly doing residential home designs with illustrious gardens. But his schedule regularly takes him abroad to visit some of the world’s greatest architectural wonders: the mountaintop Greek Acropolis is one of his favourites. Continue reading “Architect models his own house on Angkor complex”

Water-themed art proves thirsty work

The ‘water art’ project gave children cameras to create their own art about water.
The ‘water art’ project gave children cameras to create their own art about water.

By Cecelia Marshall for the Phnom Penh Post

Friday, May 23 2014

The sun beat down on the thirsty Spaniards as they pedaled their mountain bikes through dusty Banteay Meancheay province.

“If there had been tears, we would have drunk them,” said Berta de la Dehesa, one of three NGO workers who have spent the past four months biking around the Cambodian countryside to implement their “water art” project.

Without a drop of the stuff in their canteens, Dehesa and her companions slogged on, conscious that they were far from alone.

For many living in rural parts of the Kingdom, water and the shortage of it is a constant anxiety, especially in times of drought, whether it’s needed to make a living from fishing or to drink.

Continue reading “Water-themed art proves thirsty work”

Russian food wins international appeal

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The borsch moskovski goes best with sour cream. (Photo by Charlotte Pert)

By Cecelia Marshall for The Phnom Penh Post

Samovar is Phnom Penh’s second – and I’d argue best – Russian restaurant. Russian isn’t exactly a renowned world cuisine so this might not sound like much of an endorsement but the dishes at Samovar are delicious and easy on the budget.

One weekday night recently I gathered a group of nine friends – including a Russian – for a big, Russian-style dinner get-together there. It started, naturally enough, with a round of vodka shots. People grasped at their throats. Our Russian friend looked smug.

We then ordered from the diverse menu and after a short wait – during which we admired the teak table topped with colourful Russian fabric and one of the Russian teakettles, known as samovars, after which the restaurant was named – the dishes started coming.

The appetisers took almost no time. The vinaigrette ($2.40) left our Russian swooning. “Just like back home,” she said scooping up forkfuls of cubed beets, potatoes, beans carrots and onions with vinaigrette and a little oil. Simple, yet with a slice of rye bread, ($0.20 per slice) another Russian staple, and enough to let you feel adequate with your choice.

Another appetiser highlight was the pickled items ($1.90). A dollop of thinly grated sour cabbage encircled by sliced pickles-balancing on salty and sweet yet crunchy, and pickled cherry tomatoes that pop with a burst of flavour.

Next came the beetroot and cheese salad ($2.40). Creamy and shredded, it was done in a way that made us feel that we should have had been eating it our entire lives.

The filling staples – mashed potatoes, steamed veggies and rice – should be ignored. Invest instead in more appetizers, salads and rye bread and sour cream ($0.20) – you need to accompany every dish with a slice and spoonful.

My borsch moskovski along with the solyanka tsarkara arrived next (both $3.40). Both stews were steamed with fragrances of beets, chicken and beef. I barely took a sip of the broth before my Russian friend dumped a dollop of sour cream on top, leaving it more a pinkish strawberry color. “This is how you eat it,” she said. She was right. The chunks of beef were tender and the grated beetroot a nice touch.

Our party sampled almost every menu item, from the pirozhki ($2.90) – two small calzone-shaped buns filled with chicken and mushroom that were baked fresh and spiced subtly – to the chicken with cheese and cream ($4.90) – a filling and perfectly cooked dish.

The dumplings were the stars of the night. Both the pel’meni ($3.40), with beef and pork mixture inside the light and steamed dough, as well as the vareniki ($2.90), enlarged crescents with either creamy mashed potatoes or Russia’s own cottage cheese, called tvorog, made us feel with each comforting bite that we were huddled up in a wintry cabin in the Ural Mountains escaping the cold snow outside.

We finished the night off with hot drinks of sbiten ($1.90) and kissel ($1.90) – traditional fruit or honey and spiced beverages – and shared bites of syrnkiki ($2.90) five thick doughy pancakes bronzed on both sides. Dipped in jam or sour cream, you can end your night happily.

With tea, borsch and pirozhki my bill came in at around $8. A bargain.

Don’t miss the opportunity to test your taste buds at Samovar. Your wallet and stomach will thank you.

Samovar, #11 Street 108 (Near Night Market), phone: 015 892 525.

Come to visit Korean import Hahahoho for Jenga, Chinese checkers or some Uno

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Take your pick of Western or Korean board games. (Photo by Charlotte Pert)

By Cecelia Marshall for the Phnom Penh Post

First it was petting dogs and cats. Now it’s playing board games. The latest Korean eating-and-other-activities dining trend has made its way to Phnom Penh cafes with the amusingly named Hahahoho, in the city’s Toul Tumpong One commune, which opened last November. Continue reading “Come to visit Korean import Hahahoho for Jenga, Chinese checkers or some Uno”

New to Toul Kork: upmarket Asian-fusion

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The exterior of Metro Azura on Toul Kork Avenue (Photo by Charlotte Pert).

Like most shopping centres, Toul Kork Avenue, which opened in late December of last year, is a little short on quirk but long on brands. There’s a Pedro shoe shop and an Adidas. There’s Suki Soup and Chatime. The first of its kind in Cambodia, the place is very chic. At night, manicured trees are spotlit with beaming fluorescent lights and walkways wind through upscale boutiques. Continue reading “New to Toul Kork: upmarket Asian-fusion”