Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Royal Angkor

Historically, when I've asked people about Royal Angkor, the general response has either been something like "I've never heard of it" OR "You know - it's that place on Princess Street that looks a little run-down but has fantastic food". Given these little tid-bits of information, imagine my surprise when I explored their website to find out that Royal Angkor has been voted in the Top 500 restaurants in the country by "Where to Eat in Canada" (pretty impressive - especially considering how many restaurants there are in Kingston alone, let alone the country!); AND when we walked in to Royal Angkor this week, we found it to be completely renovated to look classy and gorgeous. Least to say, both the website and the restaurant left me more than impressed... and that's before I had anything to eat.

Offering affordable Cambodian and Thai cuisine to its patrons, Royal Angkor has been in operation for over 11 years and is run by a local family. Having been well known for good food since they opened, the renovations inside mean that customers have something new to be impressed about - and perhaps that there is a whole new crowd being drawn in. While I had yet to visit Royal Angkor, my fellow adventurers (we were a small but mighty group of three this week) had been in the past - but none of us had seen the new renovations yet, and we were all impressed. The restaurant walls are painted a neutral colour and simple track lights keep the space around the plain yet comfortable tables well lit. Perhaps the nicest feature - two sets of wall art, each made up of 3 canvases that are stunningly hand-painted. Honestly, they are gorgeous. The colours and the detail drew in my eye as soon as I walked in the door... and I found myself staring at them mid-conversation from time to time. A true highlight of the cultural background of Royal Angkor, these pieces of art very much add a positive accent to the space.

Another piece of art? The food. As each plate was delivered, it was very clear that these chefs take pride in the dishes that they present to their customers. Colourful and aromatic food sits atop elegant white dishes in such a way that as soon as you see it, you know it must taste good. Simply put, things look healthy and fresh and delicious.  Here's what we ordered:

Carrie: Cambodian spring rolls to start, and #4: Thai Vermicelli - Crispy spring rolls on a bed of steamed vermicelli noodles with lettuce, cucumber, basil and bean sprouts topped with roasted peanuts, served with Thai salad dressing. I also added grilled pork.

Tonia: Cambodian spring rolls to start, and #5: Chicken Stir Fry - Stir fried chicken in a light red curry sauce with peanuts, lemongrass, bell peppers, onions and Thai green chill, served with steamed rice.

Todd: #13 - Kako Khmer - A Cambodian lemongrass stir fry with chicken, mixed vegetables, green papaya, jackfruit, eggplant, long bean, and Thai green chill, served with steamed rice.

The menu is not very large - which is actually quite nice. In my opinion, this allows the restaurant to truly provide what they are really good at cooking. Everything, no doubt, arrives tasting as good as it looks - and I'm sure tasting as good as our meals did. And with that, I might as well get right to it instead of beating around the proverbial bush... So here are our ratings:

Carrie: 4.5 forks. Everything was absolutely delicious. Seriously. The spring rolls were a little different from what I'm used to - but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. I think ultimately, I just wish I hadn't ordered so much food... I wasn't expecting the rolls to be as hearty as they were (the wrap was thicker than other "joints"), so by the time I got to my meal (that, if you hadn't noticed also had rolls on it), I was already starting to feel the "bulge". Now, did that stop me from eating it? Heck naw... It was good food, after all.

Tonia: 4.8 forks. Tonia thought the spring rolls were really good - not the typical outer shell that she thoroughly enjoys, but they were "hearty and flavourful". As for her main course, Tonia thought that it was a good portion and was very tasty. Nice flavour with just a bit of kick. Tonia said that she would definitely come back in the future.

Todd: 4.5 forks. Continuing his trend of being brief, Todd said, "It was flavourful and it was a nice portion size. It was real good."

Overall Score: 4.6 forks

While we have had more high scores than I expected to have on this journey, this one - as one of the top scores overall, I think - certainly surprised me a bit. As a "Royal Angkor newbie", I wasn't sure what to expect... Now, as a "Hopeful Royal Angkor regular", I can't wait to continue to be impressed.

Royal Angkor Restaurant on Urbanspoon

TEN RESTAURANTS LEFT!!! What will I do with myself after that?!...

1 comment:

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