Also in the Post Office precinct find fine-dining stalwart Van’s, which has both a fascinating history and some of the finest French cuisine in the country. This grand villa was once the Indochina Bank building, built in the late 1800s. In Cambodia’s post-independence King-Sihanouk-led swinging sixties, the building was acquired by the Van family and remained their home until they fled the country’s civil war in the 1970s. One of the daughters of the family, Porleng Van, was just two-years-old when the family escaped, but she returned in 2003 and painstakingly restored the mansion, poring over architecture books in French libraries to ensure authenticity. She did a stellar job—the building, with all of its genuine tiles, sweeping balustrades and heavy wood paneling was shortlisted for the UNESCO preservation awards in 2006, and Van’s has appeared in a number of films, documentaries, and editorial shoots. Just as classic as the building is the French cuisine whipped up by Perpignan-born head chef Nicolas Malherbe, who has accumulated more than 17 years of experience cooking in Michelin-starred eateries across the globe, including Paris’ L’Astor Restaurant. Foie gras, soufflé, garlicky escargot, a deconstructed duck l’orange, and a hearty onion soup all make appearances on the seasonal menu, but stop here for one of Malherbe’s value-packed business lunches—they’re available on weekends too. Just US$15 will get you a starter and main (or a main and desert) and a drink, while US$20 includes all three courses. Mouth-watering is a rich, silky chicken liver mousse with crunchy crisps, drizzled in port and grapes, and the flaky friand stuffed with bacon, goat cheese, and honey. Porleng has also just unveiled The Stairs, a new rooftop cigar and champagne lounge with a resplendent view over the post office.
#5 Street 102 (opposite the Post Office building), 855-23/722-067, vans-restaurant.com