AHA Restaurant & Bar – Tapas With International Wine List in Siem Reap
Tucked away in Siem Reap’s old market area, AHA’ (which means ‘food’ in Khmer) is one of the restaurants operated by the Shinta Mani Hotel. It is one of the rare air-conditioned restaurants in town, so it’s a perfect place to escape from the tropical heat.
Tastefully decorated with waved wooden walls, the restaurant is famous for its Western, Khmer and fusion tapas and extensive wine list. For appetizers, we ordered four sets of small plates, with each set containing three different dishes. For Khmer style food, enjoy the beef skewers with green papaya pickles, deep fried chicken with coconut spring roll, and green mango salad with dried snake. Yes, your eyes weren’t playing tricks on you. I thought it was cuttlefish, but it was shredded dried snake on the green mango!
There were also contemporary, vegetarian and cheese sets. I thoroughly enjoyed the unagi roll with pickled vegetables which gives it a bit of tangy kick. The cashew nut prawns with a sexy purple raspberry dressing was a fruity touch to the deep fried fritters. If you are a cheese lover, go for their cheese sets which includes gorgonzola with crushed cherry tomatoes, crepe with brie cheese, and marinated goat cheese with honey. The goat’s cheese set off the sweetness of the honey perfectly. The small plates ranges from $5 to $9 each set.
By the time we reached our mains, we were already too full from the appetizers. But I can’t resist the chicken with curry paste and pineapple ($7), served with traditional sticky rice with bamboo. Kroeung, the Cambodian curry paste, has an amazing blend of spicy flavours that are unique to this country, including turmeric, lemongrass and galangal. For a western dish, go for their Australian beef sirloin with creamy potatoes ($16) or the pan roasted pork escalope ($7) with braised tomato concasse, ginger soy reduction and steamed rice. The presentation is great and the flavours are well balanced. The tang of the ginger, the umami of the soy and the blend of other flavours made my lunch an enjoyable one.
Even though we were full to the brim, we still had some sweets to end the meal. Their homemade honeycomb ice cream ($3) is smooth and rich. For the quality, presentation and price, there was nothing much to complain about. This is definitely worth a try, especially if you fancy some tapas and wine. Note that there are two entrances to this restaurant, one in pub street alley and the other in Road 9, just across the Old Market.
AHA Restaurant & Wine Bar
Address: Pub Street Alley, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Tel: +855 63 965 501
Open daily for lunch and dinner