New kid on the block in Phnom Penh

Thu, 5 July 2012 Post Staff Two of the men behind some of Phnom Penh’s most popular restaurants have teamed up to open Deco, a stylish new addition to the capital’s finer dining options. Britons Robin Ainge and Caspar von Hofmannsthal, who have been responsible for Rubies on Street 240 and the stylish and internationally-renowned Japanese-influenced Yumi, have spent months working on Deco, transforming a run-down house in BKK 1 into a wonderfully sophisticated bar and restaurant. The house, formerly used by the German Embassy, was styled on the work of Cambodia’s most famous architect. “The building is apparently a copy of a Vann Molyvann, and it uses a lot of his trademarks and motifs,” says Ainge. “We believe it was built in the late sixties – at least the septic tank seems to date from back then.” Finding the property was a long process for the pair. “We spent months going around looking at places,” von Hofmannsthal said. “We used several estate agents to do the hard graft. We weren’t too bothered about the location, to be honest. We mainly wanted somewhere that would work best for the concept.” When they finally found the site, they knew it was right for them. “I had a eureka moment when I first saw the place: it looked right, it fit right, it had the kitchen out the back where we wanted it, plenty of space upstairs, a garden, it was on a good corner site – it ticked most of the boxes. We jumped at it. Sites like this don’t hang around too long. We were pretty lucky – there...