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Travel Report: Chanrey Tree Restaurant, Siem Reap.

Chanrey Tree Restaurant Siem Reap.

Chanrey Tree Restaurant, Siem Reap.

July 2020.

Sharing birthdays with your other half is fun! In July Sladja and I had our first double birthday celebrations, mine on the 8th, hers on the 9th. Among various other treats to ourselves, we decided that each of us could choose a restaurant for our respective birthday dinners. Settling on where to go was no easy task, as anyone who’s read our guide on Where to Eat and Drink in Siem Reap knows well.

Birthday cake Krousar Cafe Siem Reap.

Our birthday cake, courtesy of Krousar Cafe.

Finally, I opted for the excellent (and already reviewed) Georges Restaurant and Distillery. For Sladja’s big night, she wanted us to step outside our comfort zone. Instead of going back to an old favourite, we opted to try what is arguably Siem Reap’s fanciest Khmer restaurant. With the promise of “traditional, home-style Khmer cuisine served in a lush, contemporary setting”, we got dressed up and headed out for dinner at Chanrey Tree.

Chanrey Tree Restaurant Garden Siem Reap.

Chanrey Tree Restaurant, Siem Reap.

Chanrey Tree Restaurant, Siem Reap.

Facing the serene, green waters of The Siem Reap River on Pokambor Avenue, Chanrey Tree certainly enjoys an idyllic setting. On arrival a hostess greeted us at the entrance gate, before leading us through a lush jungle garden of plants, flowers, sculptures and flourishes of Khmer art.

Welcome to Chanrey Tree Restaurant Siem Reap.

A warm welcome at Chanrey Tree.

As lovely as the garden was, we ultimately settled on a table inside the restored wooden Khmer house. Here there was even more art and lilting local music. Not to mention air con and a distinct lack of mosquitoes.

Fresh fruit juices Chanrey Tree Restaurant Siem Reap.

Chanrey Tree Restaurant, Siem Reap.

Flicking through our menus that evening and there was no doubt that Chanrey Tree lives up to its fancy reputation. They do plenty of wine, rosé, champagne and cocktails, as well as a full range of spirits and liquors. All with fancy prices to match. We simply went for some fresh juices, Sladja an icy passion fruit, mine a refreshing watermelon and lime.

As a birthday dinner, we wanted the whole shebang, complete with starters. Admittedly, we’d never seen Khmer dishes like these. Hence we were a bit clueless as to what would be a good combination. In this regard, we could have done with some guidance from our server. He was friendly enough, but not particularly forthcoming, or indeed responsive. So we just followed our instincts and hoped for the best.

Bok Svay Chicken Salad – បុកមាន់ជាមួយស្វាយខ្ចី.

Crispy Prawns and Calamari Chanrey Tree Restaurant.

Chanrey Tree Restaurant, Siem Reap.

Our first starter was a salad with free range Khmer chicken marinated in honey, rice brandy and jackfruit. All pounded together and mixed with green mango. Served with a side bowl of banana stem, basil and herbs salad. We found it to be tasty, but very intense. So much so we were actually unable to finish what was a very modest portion.

Crispy Sticky Rice with ‘Natang’ Sauce បាយក្តាំងស្រួយជាមួយទឹកណាតាំង.

Crispy Sticky Rice with Natang Sauce Chanrey Tree Restaurant Siem Reap

Chanrey Tree Restaurant, Siem Reap.

Our second starter was much more of a success! The shrimp and minced pork comes in a salty soup of coconut milk and peanuts. The so-called sticky rice is actually a number of crunchy crackers, topped with fried vegetable tempura. We liked it, although I should point out that again the dish is really salty and rich in flavour. Not, I imagine, everyone’s cup of tea.

Tonle Sap Steamed Fish – ត្រីរ៉ស់ចំហុយក្រូចឆ្មារ.

Tonle Sap Steamed Fish Chanrey Tree Restaurant.

Chanrey Tree Restaurant, Siem Reap.

Our first main dish was definitely our favourite of the evening. Fresh from Tonle Sap lake, the fish was both juicy and tender. Moreover, the lime dressing proved an excellent accessory, along with grated garlic, shallots, basil, spring onion and cashew nuts. It was also the evening’s most understated dish in terms of intensity.

Pork Delicacy – ឆាប្រហុកគ្រឿងជាមួយសាច់ជ្រូក.

Traditional pork dish Cambodia.

Chanrey Tree Restaurant, Siem Reap.

Hot on the heels of our favourite dish came the biggest disappointment of the evening. Essentially, this creamy pork soup was a larger version of what we’d had as a starter, with a few substituted ingredients.

I would have expected our waiter to give us a heads up about this and perhaps steer us towards a better choice. Furthermore, the accompanying vegetables were pretty bland. As a side note, we ordered way too much food as a whole, thus we could have actually done without that fourth dish altogether.

Chanrey Tree Restaurant, Siem Reap.

Chanrey Tree Restaurant Siem Reap.

A birthday surprise.

However, any grumblings quickly disintegrated when the team treated Sladja to a complimentary birthday dessert and bouquet of flowers! At the beginning of the meal I had cooly let it slip that we had a birthday girl in the house.

We knew something was coming when a woman arrived at our table to indiscreetly ask me how to spell Sladja’s name. Yup, right in front of Sladja, who politely pretended the whole thing wasn’t happening.

Traditional Khmer dessert Cambodia.

Happy Birthday Sladja!

The staff even came together to sing Happy Birthday as they served her the dessert. It was a curious creation, a compact hillock of sweet sticky rice decorated with mango and coconut shavings. Very fresh, and well complimented by the little pot of bean sauce. A lovely end to the evening!

Chanrey Tree Siem Reap.

Chanrey Tree Restaurant, Siem Reap.

Overall, we enjoyed our time at Chanrey Tree. I’d say this is definitely a When in Rome kinda deal. Not all the dishes worked for us, but we really enjoyed those that did.

The restaurant itself has been beautifully crafted and I’d say the staff gave their best that evening despite the aforementioned shortcomings. To find out more about Chanrey Tree, check out their website, which includes full menus.

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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.

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  • Memo

    Great food photos. Do they deliver to the US?

    August 21, 2020 - 8:54 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Ha, I’m not sure they even deliver in Siem Reap!

      August 21, 2020 - 8:58 pm Reply

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