Cambodia is touted as the next culinary hot spot. Phnom Penh’s dining scene is hotter than the nation’s famed kampot pepper. There has been an explosion of new restaurants right along the gastronomic spectrum, including newly-opened Sevensea (almondbassac.com) where diners can savour chef Luu Meng’s contemporary take on Cambodian fine dining. Florian Lindener (Arzak and Celler de Can Roca), meanwhile, has been drafted in to spice up the FCC’s gastronomic offering, while South African chef, Timothy Bruyns (ex-Song Saa) closed his progressive Asian restaurant (think asparagus panna cotta and raw and cured tuna with hot basil gel), The Common Tiger, at the end of last year to open another experimental dining venue, The Tiger’s Eye, on the city’s Sothearos Boulevard.
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The latest seafood craze to hit Australia is pearl meat. Kimberley’s Pinctada Maxima pearl oyster shells can grow as large as side plates and the delicate meat has become sought-after. Australian and Asian chefs are clamouring for it – at $100 per kilo for the fresh meat and up to $400 for dried. You can tuck into a Japanese inspired eight-course pearl meat degustation menu at Cygnet Bay, Australia’s oldest pearl farm, on the Dampier Peninsula. Think pearl tempura with lime miso aïoli or yuzu-poached scallops, grilled pearl, peach, oshinko and seaweed salad. After a tour of the farm, you can stay over in a revamped pearler’s cabin or a safari tent.
Live like a local – and eat with them. Flagged as the Airbnb of the culinary scene, peer-to-peer dining, a kind of global supperclub, connects chefs looking to host dinners in their homes with people tired of the impersonal restaurant experience, through sites such as MealSharing and EatWith. CookApp, which began life in Buenos Aires, points you in the direction of authentic dining options across North and South America, along with European hot spots Madrid, Barcelona and Paris – and it’s whispered that it will launch in London soon.
Old wives’ tale or doctor’s orders, pregnant women should drink stout, brandy settles the stomach, sip a hot toddy if you’re feeling sniffly. Medicinal mixology might sound like hocus-pocus but, in fact, the cocktail was originally designed as a restorative drink, made from bitters, sugars and spirits. And it’s a concept that’s been revived by savvy bartenders. Austrian Albert Trummer, who wowed New Yorkers with his apothecary-inspired concoction at Apothéke is now dishing out Prescription Cocktails using 10 house elixirs he’s created, after researching botanicals (and recipes collected from monasteries all over Europe), at the Shelborne Wyndham Grand in Miami. Curative cocktails are also on the menu at Cure in New Orleans and are now growing in popularity on this side of the pond. At the new M by Montcalm Hotel in Shoreditch, the Tonic and Remedy bar will give you a boost with a Bar’Rock’ka (gin, green Chartreuse, Fernet Branca Menta, lemon juice and organic Astralagus tincture) or how about a Bloody Remedy (vodka, tomato juice, house-made spice mix, sherry, celery and cucumber foam and salt)?
Navigating a new city’s food scene can be a bit hit or miss. A guidebook, tour guide or concierge can be useful but are likely to get more so as they become more food-focused, particularly the last in that list. One of the first off the starter’s block was Thompson Hotels which introduced the Food Truck Concierge to its New York properties to point guests towards the best of the city’s 3,000 plus food trucks. Now in San Antonio, Texas – touted as the next Austin with its stellar foodie credentials – The Emma has appointed a dedicated culinary concierge. Hugh Daschbach’s insider knowledge and gastronomic tips will steer guests towards the city’s gourmet hot spots.