Merivale have stepped into the widely underutilised (in Sydney) realm of Cambodian cooking with the new Kingdom of Rice, the group’s latest pop-up packed with flavour and colour. It follows the widely acclaimed Dirty Italian Disco as Merivale’s second pop-up at their Tennyson Hotel in Mascot, helmed by the same culinary minds behind ACME – Mitch Orr, Cam Fairbairn, Lillia McCabe and Sophia Thach – and heaving with the vibrancy of full-flavoured snacks, skewers, grilled dishes, wok dishes, noodles and rice.
Thach in particular is leading the charge here, with inspiration stemming from her most recent visit to Phnom Penh to reconnect with the flavours of her heritage. Along with Orr, Fairbairn, and Head Chef McCabe, she has put together a shared-style street food feast that’ll no doubt prove popular at the Tennyson for the next six months.
“We have always been fascinated by Southeast Asia and Sophia has cooked so many incredible dishes over the years that really introduced us to Khmer cuisine”, said Orr. “The ingredients used ignite all the senses, not just taste”.
Hungry diners keen on getting an in-depth taste of Cambodian cooking can expect to start off with dishes like the prahok k’tis (crudities with prahok k’tis, a dip made with fermented fish paste, pork belly and kreung), svay kchey (green mango, chilli and salt) and ‘trey neet alek’ (dried fish and watermelon). Things move on up to skewers served with pickled green papaya salad; wok classics like bort ling (corn, dried shrimps and scallions); and grill goodness like white slab moan baoek ung (kreung stuffed chicken wings), and murk ung (calamri, pork fat and scallions).
Pair these up with Asian beers and natural wines taken from The Tennyson’s charming self-serve bottle shop, where guests can also buy their own alcohol from a walk-in fridge. But don’t overlook the specially written drinks list by Group Bars Manager Sam Egerton; you’ll find classic Cambodian flavours like the fresh whole coconut rum, the pandan Pina Colada, and a Hennessy & jasmine tea concoction.
Address: Tennyson Hotel, 952 Botany Rd, Mascot
Opening Hours: Wed-Thurs 5:30pm-12am; Fri 12pm-3pm & 5:30pm-12am; Sat 5pm-12am; Sun 12pm-3pm & 5:30pm-10pm
Photos by Nikki To.