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"Short stories and travel reports from my life adventures around the globe".

Travel Report: Wine O’ Clock, Siem Reap.

Wine o' Clock Siem Reap.

Wine O’ Clock Siem Reap.

May 2020. Even in a city with a food and drink scene as diverse and competitive as Siem Reap, Wine O’ Clock has succeeded in carving out its own little niche. Sladja and I first came here back in January when we’d had a hankering for fresh sandwiches.

After a period gorging on Khmer, Indian, Mexican, Greek and just about everything else under the sun, we wanted to go back to basics. That evening, we’d have gladly settled for a simple cheese sandwich. Instead, we found ourselves tempted by a tantalising array of artisan fillings.

Fresh baguettes Wine O' Clock Siem Reap.

Baguettes, baby! Wine O’ Clock style.

Finally, after much deliberation, I went for a multigrain baguette bursting at the seams with smoked chicken, fresh mango and avocado. Sladja, in her infinite wisdom, was similarly pleased with her French baguette and its seemingly painted layers of cheese and pepperoni.

Adding to the amazing overall moisture, a liberal drowsing of “award-winning olive oil”. Sandwich hankering satisfied? You better believe it.

Wine O’ Clock, Siem Reap.

Best sandwiches in town Wine o' Clock Siem Reap.

Wine O’ Clock, Siem Reap.

During our first few months in Siem Reap, we lived just down the road from Wine O’ Clock. Hence it quickly became “our sandwich place”. However, we knew this was doing their gigantic menu a gross disservice.

Thus, one evening, we took a chance on one of their famous cheese and meat platters. All beautifully presented and, quality wise, the kinda thing you’d expect from a high end Paris deli bar.

Wine O' Clock Siem Reap.

Wine O’ Clock, Siem Reap.

In addition to sandwiches and platters, Wine O’ Clock does cooked breakfasts, croissants, muesli, probiotic yoghurts, omelettes, tapas, salads, coffee, juices and desserts. And of course… lots and lots of wine.

Wine O' Clock Siem Reap.

What’s The Time Mr. Wolf?

It’s… Wine O’ Clock!!!

In case you’re wondering what time Wine o’ Clock actually is, the answer is always. Because, ladies and gentlemen, they are open 24/7! A great option when… like us… you find yourself with an attack of the nibbles at two o’ clock in the morning in the middle of a Martin Scorsese marathon.

“You talkin’ to me?”

Ahmed and Paul Wine o' Clock Siem Reap.

Ahmed (left) and Paul, Wine O’ Clock.

“More than a café, more than a bar”.

Wine O’ Clock is the brainwave of Ahmed, a Bahraini national who came to Siem Reap in 2014. With no intention whatsoever of “going back to an I.T. job anytime soon”, he treated his Cambodia adventure as a brand new start.

In those early days, Ahmed helped manage a modest cafe-shop with his Khmer wife. Over time, their ideas and ambitions blossomed. Eventually, after months of hard work, they unveiled Wine O’ Clock in 2018.

These days Ahmed runs the place alongside a lumberjacky Luxembourger called Paul. He came to Siem Reap back in 2016 after “a coin flip between Mexico and Cambodia”. It’s a very long story, he warns. But one that he’s happy to divulge in person at Wine O’ Clock, should anyone want to hear it. With a background in hospitality and a passion for cooking, Paul was a shrewd addition to Ahmed’s team.

Wine o' Clock Cafe Deli Bar Siem Reap.

Wine O’ Clock, Siem Reap.

At its core, Wine O’ Clock offers “a bit of everything”, a cosy haven of “great food, fine wine and good company”. Yes, you can consider it a cafe, maybe even a restaurant. But according to Ahmed, it’s way more than those things.

Rather, he sees his cafe as a home from home for people to come and be themselves. UNLESS, that is, you happen to be a snob. In fact, his one rule is that people leave any pretensions at the door. You’ll even see this mantra trumpeted from their website in no uncertain terms!

 

No snobs! Wine O' Clock Siem Reap

It’s fitting then that Wine O’ Clock puts an emphasis on affordability. While they remain committed to offering fine wines from around the world, Ahmed admits their most expensive bottle sold was at a very reasonable $20. If anyone’s up for breaking that record, Paul says they do have a bottle of Rioja Gran Reserva by Cune, at a cool $89.  

Wine o' Clock Siem Reap Cambodia.

Regarding the food, Ahmed explains that in most cases he imports his meats from Europe. That said, some of his hams are made close by, have less preservatives and therefore a shelf life of just a few days. “And you can taste that” he winks, “because it’s the real deal”.

Furthermore, being staffed twenty four hours allows the team to get hold of the freshest ingredients at a moment’s notice and also reduces any worries of their stuff spoiling.

Brownie in chocolate syrup Wine O' Clock Siem Reap.

The Wine O’ Clock Brownie! With whipped cream & chocolate syrup.

Wine O’ Clock is one of the few cafes in Siem Reap that has stayed fully operational during the outbreak of COVID-19.

“We obviously witnessed the great escape of a lot of people” muses Ahmed.

“The last flights to Europe and all that, pretty sure they all regret it by now, ha”. As a result, the cafe has lost plenty of familiar faces. But it hasn’t been a total disaster. Those who decided to stay and self isolate have proved loyal to Ahmed and his team, while there’s also been a clear increase in deliveries. When all is said and done, he thinks it’s been “about the same as any typical low season”.

Deli counter Wine o' Clock Siem Reap.

Wine O’ Clock, Siem Reap.

Moreover, he has managed to retain his team of nine local staff members. Even better, he was able to award salary increases for their loyalty and hard work. “They really deserve it”, insists Ahmed. “I could tell you about each and every one of them”.

“The guy who drives half an hour to work everyday and never comes late. The one that speaks 3 languages? Oh, and the dude who works night shift and parties all day!”

Wine o' clock food and drink Siem Reap.

Ahmed and Paul chatting to a customer.

Still in Siem Reap? Why not swing by Wine O’ Clock. You could grab a fresh sandwich, taste some award-winning olive oil, or break their wine sale record. Failing that, there’s always the chance to find out why Paul never made it to Mexico.

24 hour delivery Wine O' Clock Siem Reap.

For more on Wine O’ Clock, check out their website.

You can also get in touch with Ahmed and Paul through their Facebook page.

For more on Siem Reap’s excellent cafe, restaurant and bar scene, check out my detailed guide on Where to Eat and Drink Siem Reap.

You can also read my exhaustive overview of What to See and Do in Siem Reap.

Looking for a roof over your head? Check out my articles on Where to Stay in Siem Reap.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.

Leighton Travels logo travel reports and short stories.

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16 Comments

  • chalkandcheesetravels

    You have some great knowledge of Siem Reap. Really enjoy reading the posts. Especially enjoy wine oclock 🍷

    May 27, 2020 - 2:18 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! Getting to explore SR deep has been quite the journey.

      May 27, 2020 - 2:20 pm Reply
  • carllbatnag

    You really stayed there for months? Wow, that is quite amazing. I hope I get the chance to settle in any place for a period longer than a week 🙂

    May 27, 2020 - 6:07 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Carl, yeah we’ve been here for five months now, which has really helped us to get to know the town better and do this series. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

      May 27, 2020 - 6:21 pm Reply
      • carllbatnag

        Wow! I enjoyed Siem Reap’s laid back atmosphere. It was just a dampener that it was raining when I was there about two years ago. But I did enjoy exploring the temples. Thinking of revisiting the place and exploring other parts of Cambodia once this pandemic is over 🙂 I hope you’re well and safe over there.

        May 27, 2020 - 6:26 pm
      • Leighton

        Cheers Carl you too. This is a wonderful part of the world, hope you get to make it back.

        May 27, 2020 - 6:27 pm
  • Memo

    Your photography just keeps getting better with each new restaurant. Do they deliver to the US?

    May 27, 2020 - 8:21 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Memo. I have spoken to Wine O’ Clock and they say “it might take a while”. Anything specific you had in mind?

      May 27, 2020 - 8:27 pm Reply
      • Memo

        I’m tempted to say one of each but, just surprise me.

        May 27, 2020 - 8:41 pm
  • Anonymous

    Your posts make me want to go back to Cambodia asap! That’s amazing that you’ve been there for so long! Stay safe and happy traveling! 🙂

    May 28, 2020 - 4:34 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey “someone”, thanks for reading and taking the time to drop me a line. I’m glad you like the articles, there’ll be plenty more coming out over the coming weeks.

      May 28, 2020 - 9:54 am Reply
  • Lyssy In The City

    I wish I had Wine O’ Clock down the street from me!

    May 28, 2020 - 5:24 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Lyssy, we are blessed with the food and drink options in Siem Reap.

      May 28, 2020 - 9:55 am Reply
  • Eromonsele Emmanuel

    Another awesome restaurant review Leighton, I like how you always add a background story, making it much more relatable to us.
    Thanks for sharing!

    May 28, 2020 - 6:21 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Cheers, thanks for reading Emmanuel!

      May 28, 2020 - 9:58 am Reply

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