I have a love/hate relationship with AEON Shopping Mall. Yes, it’s the biggest and shiniest malls of them all, it’s stocked with a handful of shops that I will actually spend money in (that’s not a huge feat though…I can part way with my Washingtons and riel almost anywhere), has a great cosmetics and beauty selection that I can trust to be authentic, the arcade has an abundance of games and the machines actually work, and it’s overall a clean space.
The downsides? Parking can be a nightmare- I avoid the place like the plague on weekends, people still haven’t seemed how to use indoor plumbing in a way that doesn’t soak the entire stall and have wreaked havoc on what was a beautiful Japanese toilet system, and people tend to walk at the pace of a turtle when eyeballing all the shiny packaged things. Still though, I had been seeing images of food from Miam Miam pop up on my instagram and Facebook feed far too many times to ignore and made the trek to AEON this week to try the fare.
Miam Miam, a Japanese-French fusion café fuses simple dishes you’d normally find at your local French restaurant and add their own little twists to make each dish something different to look at, taste, and experience. The atmosphere of the restaurant located on the 2nd floor reminds me of a laid back spot to have a meal with friends back in the United States. Chatting over a baguette sandwich or plate of spaghetti carbonara while sipping berry soda, the feeling is warm and comfortable while still being original and not too overwhelming in any sense.
Miam Miam recently opened along with their fellow eateries in the past month and proved to be a popular spot in the hour or so that Ritchie and I dined. With four to six tables ranging from two to eight diners at each, the place can easily sit 60-75 customers comfortably and was a place for all ages to enjoy a feast! We first arrived to “bonjour!”s from the staff, with the Denise, the Operations Manager, welcoming us and introducing us to Socheat, the General Manager who was attentive, quick, and helped clearly explain their menu and a bit about Miam Miam.
After perusing the menu, delightfully designed and filled with whimsical and delicious looking meals, we decided on the clam chowder (an all time favorite an difficult to find a good bowl in Phnom Penh), Miam Miam Spaghetti, touted “Our all time favorite! Sautéed with frankfurters, tomatoes, and protein…BACON! Tossed with French butter, our secret broth and shoyu”, Riz Noir “black rice and omu egg!!! (with squid and prawns), matcha green tea latte and berry soda, and to top it off- a vanilla soufflé. As we ordered, Socheat used his handy little Apple device to take our orders and send them immediately and directly to the chefs once we had confirmed, leaving a sliver of room for mistakes and getting the dishes on our tables at a much faster rate! Impressive.
After reading countless articles and about the benefits of matcha, I was excited to find that not only is it good for you- but tastes delicious. Not overly sweet but slightly milky, served over ice it was smooth and a great way to kickstart my palate! The clam chowder was exactly the way I like mine. Not too thick,filled with pieces of hearty and succulent clam, potatoes, onions, and carrot and served with a fluffy, buttered slice of baguette- the bowl was quickly emptied between the two of us. A taste of the states all the way in a mall in Cambodia: a real treat.
Next came the Riz Noir, a hearty serving of rice flavored with squid ink and topped with a pillow of egg. The squid ink was noticeable not only for it’s dark coloring and salty flavor, but not overpowering as I’ve experienced at other restaurants with the prawn and calamari being tender. The egg added a bit of moisture to the entire dish and it seems to be a favorite considering the amount of snaps I’ve seen of the dish on social media. The Miam Miam spaghetti was an overall success and my favorite between the two. I enjoyed the al dente texture of the pasta and when the poached egg spread across the dish when punctured created a flavorful and savory gravy mixed with the sauce. The abundant mushrooms in the dish were welcomed as I always love the mixtures we get here in dishes and while the bacon was a bit undercooked for my liking, the frankfurter was a nice addition and both dishes were more than we could stomach!
Even though I was stuffed to the brim, I couldn’t say “no” to the vanilla soufflé . I’m not really a dessert person (yeah, yeah- so shoot me) and I don’t like to end my meals with something sweet- but something about the apparent lightness of the soufflé had me nodding a vigorous “yes!” when offered the item on the menu. With a custard like filling, slightly crispy shell, and dusted with powdered sugar- it was deceptively filling! The fluffy dish although seemingly airy had a denseness to it that only allowed me to get through half. Lesson learned: sharing is caring, and Miam Miam is a great place to do so.
I should have worn track pants for the occasion because we both left full as ticks with happy palates and although I’ll still avoid AEON on Saturdays, Sundays, or on the many public holidays in Cambodia until things die down a bit- I’ll return for a mouthful of Miam Miam spaghetti and clam chowder for sure. Next up to try as well is the mac and cheese and the carbonara- both had me flip flopping on what to order as I scanned the menus!
*Special thanks Miam Miam for allowing me to experience what you have to offer; I will definitely be back!