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RIP Georges Restaurant, Siem Reap.

Georges Restaurant and Distillery in Siem Reap

Georges Restaurant and Distillery, Siem Reap.

April 2020.

It was a characteristically sweltering late afternoon in Siem Reap as Sladja and I made our way through the large entrance gates of Georges Restaurant and Distillery. Rays of sunshine slanted through the jungle garden in all directions as a pair of smiling Khmer ladies came out to greet us. “Hellooo!” they sang in unison, smartly dressed in their black Georges t-shirts. Already I had a warm feeling, the same impression I’d gotten from my online chats with Sebastien, George’s affable owner. “Hi, I’m Leighton”, I said, “and this is Sladja. Is Tom Cruise around?”

Georges Restaurant and distillery sign

One of the girls hurried off to find Mr. Cruise, while the other led us to the garden’s tropical island style beach bar. In fact, just the kind of bar Tom Cruise strutted his stuff in for the movie Cocktail back in 1988.

Complimentary rum shots Georges Restaurant Siem Reap

George Restaurant and Distillery, Siem Reap.

Our remaining hostess wasted no time in bringing us two shots of coconut rum. Her name, we learned, is Srey Nich and she’d been with the Georges family for just over a year. “Mmm, down the hatch!” This was our first taste of their famous rum and we were not disappointed.

Georges Restaurant and Distillery, Siem Reap.

Tom Cruise Siem Reap Cambodia

Tom Cruise, Georges Restaurant and Distillery.

Cambodia’s very own Tom Cruise exuded a genuine warmth from the moment we met him and made our introductions. “Welcome to Georges” he said with a smile. Relaxed, considered and softly spoken, Tom explained how, as Operations Manager, he would be our guide for the evening and that we were going to get “the full Georges experience”. 

Remembering Georges Restaurant and Distillery in Siem Reap

Giant Leighton with tiny Tom.

But wait! Before we began, there was a pressing question that I had to get off my chest. “How did you come to be called Tom Cruise?” I asked, trying to conceal my smirk.

Cocktail Tom Cruise 1988.

“You want some rum?”

“Well, I love that movie Cocktail! I really identify with Tom’s character, Brian. How he has all those interviews and gets rejected by everyone. Then he goes back to school, betters himself, follows his dreams, stops at nothing to succeed. I feel like it’s the same as my life”. This, along with his dedication and skill in mixing cocktails, led to Sebastien giving him the nickname.

Inside Georges Restaurant Siem Reap

George Restaurant and Distillery.

Georges was a French-Asian bistro and rum distillery located in the Salakamreuk neighbourhood of Siem Reap. Inside, Tom reaffirmed the key parts of the story I’d been researching. That Georges Fevrier opened the restaurant in 2013 at a time when Cambodia “felt like the far west, the last frontier where you could start with nothing and maybe strike gold”. 

Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean

Réunion Island, an overseas region of France in the Indian Ocean.

The Fevrier family hails from Réunion, a French island situated between Madagascar and Mauritius. The idea was to offer beloved family recipes, along with their cherished, home-brewed rum. Soon after opening, Papa Fevrier handed the reigns over to his son Sebastien. 

“We make rum in a very artisanal way. It’s really satisfying when people come here mainly for the rum!”

Sebastien Fevrier Rum maker.

Sebastien Fevrier, Georges Restaurant and Distillery.

It was Sebastien who approached me about doing an article. And boy oh boy did his passion for Georges come literally bursting out of my computer screen. Picking up what his father had started, he channelled all his energies into making Georges the best it could possibly be.

However, Sebastien had certainly experienced more than his fair share of challenges, “just about everything you could imagine”, he says. “In Siem Reap everything evolves rapidly and the market is forever changing. If you relax, you’re dead without even knowing it”. 

“Dad still comes back from time to time, so we can bicker about the dishes”. 

Sebastien Fevrier and father Georges Restaurant and Distillery

Father and son, Georges Restaurant and Distillery.

As challenges go, the unwelcome arrival of Coronavirus was a biggie. Thus Sebastien and the extended Georges family found themselves pouring their hearts and souls into keeping the place afloat during such turbulent times. “It’s been devastating” he admitted. “We can only do our best to survive and hope for a change of circumstance”.

Georges Distillery and Showroom

The Rum Experience at George Restaurant and Distillery.

From the restaurant interior, Tom Cruise led us back through the garden and into the Distillery & Showroom. In addition to dinner and drinks, visitors could immerse themselves in the Georges Rum Experience! It was Tom himself who talked us through the complex rum making process.

The Rum Experience tour Georges Restaurant and Distillery in Siem Reap

The rum experience!

With a presentation that was educational, fun and interactive, he told us about the history of rum and how the team makes their flavours using local, organic sugarcane. We took a look at their sugarcane juice extractor and learned about the fermentation, distillation and maturation processes. It was even possible to make your own rum onsite!

Maturation time how to make award winning rum

George Restaurant and Distillery.

What Tom wouldn’t tell us, however, was their all-important secret ingredient. In fact, he was keen to point out that only Sebastien knew… and he definitely wasn’t sharing it with anyone.

Georges Restaurant and Distillery, Siem Reap.

Packaging Does Matter.

Committed to protecting the environment, Tom revealed how Georges was also a strong advocator of eco-friendly packaging for all their products. That’s right, there wasn’t so much as a single plastic box to be seen on their premises.


Back in the restaurant, it was time for us to peruse the menus and decide on what to have for dinner. In the meantime, Srey Nich reappeared with a complimentary rum platter of 12 Georges flavours!

The Rum Platter!

The complete rum platter at Georges Restaurant and Distillery in Siem Reap

Georges’ 12 Shot Rum Platter!

They came on a beautifully presented board that features a guide map so you know what’s what. My favourites were Coffee (naturally) and Caramel & Cinnamon. Sladja, meanwhile, loved the Kaffir Lime, Tamarind and French Fusion.

Georges Restaurant and Distillery, Siem Reap.

Rum tasting at Georges Restaurant in Siem Reap

Rum tasting at Georges.

At the time of our visit customers could choose between either the rum platter or two bigger glasses of their favourite rum flavours, free with every meal. Tom says the promotion sprang up in response to the pandemic, an effort to tempt both locals and the city’s expat community out of their homes.

The rum store at Georges Restaurant and Distillery

Georges Restaurant and Distillery, Siem Reap.

It was clear to Sladja and I that the rum side of the business really came from the heart. According to Sebastien, they actually lost money on the rum, but he wouldn’t have considered continuing Georges without it. “To make money, we should sell it at a rate of about 25% higher than we do” he said.

The Cocktails!

Cocktails at Georges Restaurant in Siem Reap

Cocktail time at George Restaurant and Distillery.

Despite all the rum we had, Tom Cruise wasn’t going to let us leave Georges without sampling a pair of his best cocktails. Sladja had the delightfully pink Coco Kiss, a tantalising concoction of coconut rum, fresh watermelon juice and milk. I opted for the S’vayk’chey, comprised of mango rum, lime juice, milk and mint syrup. It was phenomenal, like an After Eight mint chocolate in drink form.

The Starters!

Cheese baguette slices and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

George Restaurant and Distillery.

Our food that night was simply fantastic! We started with a couple of appetisers. First, a plate of French baguette slices with Reblochon melted cheese. They came with three little pots of homemade jam. Then we swiftly set to work on the Goat Cheese Bruschetta. It was tough choosing from the many appetiser options, including the Smoked Duck Salad, Sebastien’s top pick.

The Mains!

Homemade Craft Sausages with mash, bacon and salad Georges Restaurant

George Restaurant and Distillery.

For our mains, we just had to go meaty. The Homemade Craft Sausages with Endless Bacon were outstanding, served with the creamiest of creamy mash and a crisp salad.

Pacific Dory Fillet with tomatoes rice kaffir lime and mixed spices

The Dory Fillet.

We also went for the Pacific Dory Fillet, served with tomatoes, rice, Kaffir lime and mixed spices. Again it was great, especially the melt-in-your-mouth chunks of boneless fish.

The Dessert!

Caramel samosas with ice cream.

Dessert at Georges Restaurant.

In truth, we really didn’t need dessert. But then I spotted the words Caramel Samosas and I realised just how simply Sladja and I had been eating during those preceding weeks in self isolation. Happily, these coconut-pineapple filled samosas were every bit as good as they look. As was the caramel sauce they came drenched in and the accompanying ricotta ice cream. Just like all the dishes that evening, our verdict was a resounding ten out of ten.

The Electric Daisy!

Electric daisy flower with rum.

A novel end to an amazing evening at Georges.

On an evening full of lovely little touches, there was one last surprise at the end of the meal. The Electric Daisy (Acmella oleracea) is a fascinating flowering herb that took Sebastien over three years to grow in Cambodia.

That evening, Tom encouraged us to take a shot of rum, treat ourselves to a nibble of the daisy and enjoy the electric tingles zooming around our mouths! Moreover, Georges offered a dish featuring the daisy called Romazava, a Malagasy stew made with beef, greens, tomatoes and onions.

Georges Restaurant and Distillery, Siem Reap.

Drinks in the garden at Georges Restaurant in Siem Reap

Evening drinks at Georges.

I cannot overstate what a brilliant evening we had at Georges. A restaurant that offered fine dining at a price that wouldn’t destroy your wallet, served by some of the loveliest people we met in Siem Reap. Between the relaxed community feel and scraps of food dropped on the floor, no wonder this was such a perfect home for Cheese the cat.

Cat resting between plant pots.

Georges Restaurant and Distillery, Siem Reap.

Update November 2022: Nearly a year after our visit, in April 2021, Sebastien finally took the difficult decision to close Georges. He cited the “decimation of Siem Reap’s tourist industry”, which hadn’t bounced back enough to keep his business alive.

Both Sladja and I felt the loss keenly. Not only for Sebastien, Tom and Srey Nich, but also for Siem Reap itself, which had lost yet another of its leading restaurants and bars. We will never forget our experience at Georges and wish the team all the best in their future endeavours.

Leighton Travels travel reports short stories.

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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  • Annie

    What a place to have created and lost. I can feel Sebastian’s passion through your words. The rum tasting sounds amazing and the food looks great. Wish I had the chance to visit. I wonder what Tom is doing now. Excellent writeup of a fascinating story.

    November 2, 2022 - 12:14 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Annie, I’m so glad you enjoyed this look at Georges Restaurant. Honestly, this was one of our favourite restaurant experiences from the last three years travelling the world together.

      November 2, 2022 - 12:53 pm Reply
  • Anna

    Just so sad that all these great places had to fold because of covid. I really hope tourism bounces back quickly, although judging from my recent visit that’s not happening.

    November 2, 2022 - 1:10 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Sad indeed, thanks for reading and for your comment Anna.

      November 2, 2022 - 1:12 pm Reply
  • Sangeeta Venkatesh

    This is extremely sad . God knows how many businesses shut down the last couple of years.

    November 2, 2022 - 1:37 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Sangeeta. Georges was a really special restaurant and I just feel glad that my article at least keeps it alive on this little corner of the web.

      November 2, 2022 - 1:39 pm Reply
  • qprgary

    What a brilliant sounding place, did the pair of you actually walk out , stagger or were carried. You never mentioned that 😂😂😂😂

    November 2, 2022 - 2:04 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Georges was a delight, Gary. Just sublime food and wonderful people. We were a tipsy that evening for sure!

      November 2, 2022 - 2:06 pm Reply
  • ourcrossings

    It’s so sad to hear that places like these had to close due to the pandemic and the resulting lack of tourists. Looks like you very much enjoyed your dining experience with locally distilled and naturally flavoured Rum. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    November 2, 2022 - 4:27 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for taking a look at Georges Restaurant, Aiva. It’s a tragedy really when livelihoods are lost and a special place like this dissolves into memories. Appreciate your comment, as always.

      November 2, 2022 - 4:57 pm Reply
  • NortheastAllie

    Georges looks like it was a really amazing distillery and restaurant, and Tom Cruise seems very personable! That is really neat that he was inspired by the movie. Hopefully someday they can open again!

    November 2, 2022 - 4:28 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading Allie. I often find myself wondering what happened to Cambodian Tom Cruise. He was such a lovely guy, I hope he found new work that he enjoys. Unfortunately, there is little chance of them reopening as last I heard Sebastien was living in Japan.

      November 2, 2022 - 5:01 pm Reply
  • wetanddustyroads

    A bar … with Tom Cruise as your host! Ha 😁, you can’t beat that! I like your rum platter … 12 flavours, oh, that can take some time! And then cocktails (looking great) and well presented meals … my-my, you were spoiled! The Electric Daisy was an interesting way of concluding your evening. What a beautiful restaurant – it’s just unimaginable that such a lovely place had to close its doors.

    November 2, 2022 - 4:31 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thank you Corna, as always, for reading so carefully and your thoughtful comments. I know that Sebastien really put all his blood, sweat and tears into keeping that place going for as long as he could. Poor old Tom, I hope he bounced back from the closure of Georges.

      November 2, 2022 - 5:04 pm Reply
  • Little Miss Traveller

    Such sad news that George’s Restaurant has become yet another victim of COVID. The food looks delicious, the rum experience and tastings superb and the ambiance lovely too. Let’s hope they have an opportunity in the future to start up again both for the sake of their own livelihoods and as a dining experience for everyone else to enjoy.

    November 2, 2022 - 4:36 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thank you Marion, your readership and comments are much appreciated. I think deep down I always knew the closure announcement was coming. Georges was so reliant on international clientele I think, compared to other restaurants that could appeal just as much to the local market.

      November 2, 2022 - 5:09 pm Reply
  • Monkey's Tale

    Oh that’s so sad, after your story I would have loved to have met Tom Cruise 🙂 Maggie

    November 2, 2022 - 4:44 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Tom was lovely, so warm and genuine. Much more, dare I say, than the actual Tom Cruise 😉 Thanks for stopping by Maggie.

      November 2, 2022 - 5:11 pm Reply
  • Marloes Meijer

    Oh, my goodness! What a feast. I had to google Réunion. Looks like Sebastien has quite a unique heritage. The food looks amazing, and the rum platter is an absolute luxury. I am as all your readers saddened by the new of their closure. I hope they all have found some alternative to George’s in order to sustain themselves. It is a great loss for Siem Reap indeed.

    November 2, 2022 - 4:45 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Marloes, welcome to Leighton Travels and thanks for your comment. Ha, I also had to look up the island at the time, so no shame there. I hadn’t had much experience with rum and was surprised by how much I loved just about every flavour. This article is part of a series, look out for other cafe and restaurant reports over the next weeks.

      November 2, 2022 - 5:14 pm Reply
  • Diana

    Oh that’s such a sad ending to this tale. It sounds like it was a wonderful place run by wonderful people. How fortunate that you had a chance to visit before it closed.

    November 2, 2022 - 4:57 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Diana, I really appreciate you taking the time to read about Georges and for dropping me a line. Hope you are well and enjoying the fall!

      November 2, 2022 - 5:15 pm Reply
  • kagould17

    A sad ending to an engaging tale Leighton, but RIP was in the title….SPOILER ALERT. Always a sad time when others do not share the passions of the creators of such a business. Thanks for singing their praises, nonetheless. All the best. Allan

    November 2, 2022 - 5:07 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Ha ha, I did fiddle around with that title several times before settling on the RIP approach. Thanks for reading Allan, this was truly in our Siem Reap top 3 in terms of the food, ambience and people.

      November 2, 2022 - 5:21 pm Reply
  • Stan

    i think this is my favourite from the series so far. the food looks outstanding and how about that hospitality from tom and co. cheese the cat had it made there, hope he found a new home.

    November 2, 2022 - 5:24 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks a lot Stan, Georges was one of my favourite restaurant experiences ever I think. Ah yes Cheese. Siem Reap can be a tough place for a cat in many resects, so I wish him well.

      November 2, 2022 - 5:29 pm Reply
  • Lyssy In The City

    I’m so sad they closed, it looks like such a fun and welcoming place! Hopefully one day they’ll be able to open a similar restaurant one day. Those cocktails look incredible, don’t think I could survive a rum tasting haha.

    November 2, 2022 - 5:26 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      You know Lyssy, both Sladja and I are total lightweights when it comes to alcohol. But we overcame the mighty rum platter and were no more than a tad tipsy. Probably due to all that food we ate, ha! Thanks for reading!

      November 2, 2022 - 5:31 pm Reply
  • Memo

    Kind of hard to believe 2013 was the Wild West in Cambodia. George’s hardly looks like something you’d find in Tombstone. I need to take their tour. I had thought of rum as being easy to make. Obviously there are trade secrets. Twelve shots of rum after an introductory glass followed by cocktails and an Electric Daisy. Wow! And you still got fabulous food pictures. How do you keep topping yourself? Hopefully, George’s will reopen some day. It sounds like a jewel.

    November 2, 2022 - 5:34 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Cheers Memo, Georges was something of a Siem Reap jewell. I had never thought of that night as being a drinking binge, but as everyone is pointing out we did indeed drink quite a lot!!!

      November 2, 2022 - 6:51 pm Reply
  • ThingsHelenLoves

    How sad that Georges closed. I feel like the smaller places, the family run from-the-heart places were so disadvantaged by COVID and the slump that has followed. They just don’t have the back up of big chains and investors. As I begin tentatively to make travel plans again, it makes me feel really mindful of how and where I take my tourist spend. Food (or drink) for thought!

    November 2, 2022 - 6:39 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      That’s a great point, Helen. These kinds of places need our business now more than ever. Thanks for reading about Georges Restaurant, your contribution to the thread is much appreciated.

      November 2, 2022 - 6:54 pm Reply
  • grandmisadventures

    It’s not every day that you get a distillery lesson from Tom Cruise himself! What a cool place- having the restaurant and the distillery there together just seems like the perfect recipe for success. How sad though that they had to close! I’m sure that loss will be felt for years from all their supporters. Here’s hoping though that it will reopen in another time and place.

    November 2, 2022 - 6:43 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Meg, thanks for reading about Georges Restaurant. The food that night was magnificent, and I can honestly say that few establishments have managed to match the genuine warmth of Sebastien, Tom and his team. Like you I hope that somehow this group of people can reunite and start again on something.

      November 2, 2022 - 7:00 pm Reply
  • Mike and Kellye Hefner

    Oh, so sad that they had to close! I was totally immersed in your George’s post, and I would’ve loved trying the different rums. The food looked fantastic too. I just hate that the pandemic has caused so much turmoil for so many. Thanks for sharing a great post, Leighton.

    November 2, 2022 - 7:57 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Kellye, yes the pandemic’s devastation was ruthless and far reaching. Thanks for checking out Georges Restaurant, I’m glad their story has its space on these pages of mine.

      November 2, 2022 - 8:25 pm Reply
      • Mike and Kellye Hefner

        It just makes me wonder what has happened to those wonderful people…where they’ve gone and what they’re doing now.

        November 2, 2022 - 8:53 pm

    Such a shame to have lost so many of these great places around the world. Love the way the rum tasting is presented – if you drank that lot, I’m surprised you could remember so much detail about the place! You must have made notes….!

    November 2, 2022 - 8:41 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Ha, I think the ridiculous amount of food we ate may have helped keep us upright. Thanks for reading about Georges Restaurant, guys.

      November 2, 2022 - 10:06 pm Reply
  • travelling_han

    It makes me so sad that so many of these places have shut down – it’s really so upsetting. I hope one day they can start up again!

    November 3, 2022 - 4:50 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for your comment, Han.

      November 3, 2022 - 6:08 pm Reply
  • Travels Through My Lens

    How sad that this creative and innovative restaurant had to close. The pandemic has created so many stories like this one. Thanks for sharing Leighton. I wish all the best to Sebastian, Tom, and the crew.

    November 3, 2022 - 11:29 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading Tricia, it’s always appreciated.

      November 3, 2022 - 11:56 pm Reply
  • WanderingCanadians

    I couldn’t help but laugh at the size of that rum platter!! Those cocktails sound and look delicious too. I have no idea how you managed to drink it all and then eat all that food, including dessert afterwards! That’s dedication! Sorry to hear that Georges closed during the pandemic.

    November 4, 2022 - 2:10 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Glad you appreciated the platter, it was a beast. Thanks for reading guys.

      November 4, 2022 - 4:44 pm Reply
  • bronlima

    Rum platter…. what a nice idea. I must get s pisco platter together! Each grape makes a different pisco!

    November 4, 2022 - 10:20 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Geoff, thanks for chipping in on the thread. A pisco platter sounds like a winner.

      November 9, 2022 - 9:07 pm Reply
  • Rebecca

    From “Tom Cruise” to rum tasting to eating an Electric Daisy, you certainly had quite the experience at Georges Restaurant! Hope you weren’t too knocked out from all that rum you had, haha…it’s really unfortunate that the place closed its doors: I would’ve loved to have gone for a taste. Another great food review, Leighton– keep them coming!

    November 5, 2022 - 6:02 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Rebecca, this place was an absolute gem. What a loss, I wonder how many restaurants there are in the world that focus on the traditional dishes of Réunion Island. A fair few in France perhaps?

      November 5, 2022 - 9:35 am Reply
  • Nieves Sanz

    It sounds like a really special and memorable experience thanks to great food and warm, charming people. Sebastien has an alchemist aura about him. I would’ve loved to have had a chance to taste rum at Georges restaurant.

    November 5, 2022 - 12:30 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Nieves, you are completely right about Sebastian’s aura. Thanks for reading about Georges Restaurant.

      November 5, 2022 - 12:33 pm Reply
  • 100 Country Trek

    This was a great place we visited..but during this pandemic so many restaurants are closed. But now everything is open ..such delicious food. Anita

    November 6, 2022 - 5:37 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for your comment Anita.

      November 6, 2022 - 9:24 am Reply
  • Priti


    November 6, 2022 - 7:11 pm Reply
    • Leighton


      November 9, 2022 - 9:08 pm Reply
      • Priti

        Cheers! 🙂🙂

        November 9, 2022 - 9:46 pm

    this may be the best place so far, how awful that Sebastien finally had to close after all their hard work. the sausage look amazing and all that rum… you didn’t even have a huge headache?

    November 6, 2022 - 10:33 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Health Coach, yes I imagine everyone at Georges was devastated when they finally had to admit defeat and shut up shop. As for the rum, we were a bit tipsy but honestly no hangovers at all! Cheers for reading and leaving another comment.

      November 6, 2022 - 11:00 pm Reply
  • rkrontheroad

    A shame they couldn’t stay open – such a unique place. This reminds me of taking sake-making tours in Japan. You have a new appreciation for the drink when you see what processes are required.

    November 16, 2022 - 8:22 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Oh, that’s something I would’ve loved to experience. Next time we are in Japan, if indeed there will be a next time.

      November 16, 2022 - 8:43 pm Reply

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