Kingdom of Rice, Merivale’s new flavour-packed, colour-charged pop-up restaurant at the Tennyson Hotel, opens this Friday 12 October. An inspiring collaboration with the team behind ACME – Mitch Orr, Cam Fairbairn, Lillia McCabe and Sophia Thach Kingdom of Rice is serving up Cambodian-style street food in the drive-way eatery for a six-month stint.

Orr, Fairbairn and head chef McCabe (ex Blackwattle Singapore and ACME) have drawn inspiration from good friend and front of house manager Thach to create the vibrant menu. Thach is of Khmer descent and recently spent time in Phnom Penh, reconnecting with the flavours of her heritage.

With ACME’s signature techniques firmly at the forefront, the menu is made up of five categories of shared-style dining; snacks, skewers, grill, wok, noodles and rice. Guests can start off with 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), followed by a selection of skewers served with chlouh (pickled green papaya salad) and numpang (baguette) – phsaet ung (shiitake mushroom), sach chrouk ung (caramelised pork) and sach gor ung (lemongrass beef). Hot off the wok are classics including bort ling (corn, dried shrimps and scallions), cha dtrop (chicken, smoked eggplant and coriander) and cha le’a samot tdek meric (pippies, lime and kampot pepper), while slab moan baoek ung (kreung stuffed chicken wings), trey ung (whole fish, lemongrass, coconut and herbs) and murk ung (calamari, pork fat and scallions) are served straight from the grill. Rounding out the savoury offering is a selection of noodle and rice dishes that pair perfectly with the mains. For dessert, the team has turned to the fruits of South East Asia with jek ung (grilled banana, sticky rice and caramel), noum dorng karem (pandan coconut waffle and coconut sorbet) and bobor lapoav (roasted pumpkin, tapioca and coconut milk).

Changing direction to Asian beers and natural wines, the charm of The Tennyson’s self-serve bottle shop remains. Guests can buy their own alcohol from the walk-in fridge, choosing from a wide range of varieties including small and exciting new producers handpicked by Merivale’s Group Sommelier Franck Moreau, Mr Wong’s Assistant Sommelier Fabio Pallottini and the ACME team. For the drinks list, Group Bars Manager Sam Egerton has taken inspiration from classic Cambodian flavours and drinks, like the fresh whole coconut rum, Pandan Piña Colada and Hennessy & Jasmine Tea.Inspired by the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh markets, the space is a calamity of colour, mismatched furniture and open roller doors. Stacked plastic market stools sit against bright floral tablecloths full of melamine plates, ruby red chopsticks and jars filled with house-made pickles. The lime-washed soft pink walls project traditional Cambodian movies and a neon crab welcomes guests.

Tennyson Hotel, 952 Botany Rd, Mascot

Wednesday – Thursday – 5.30pm-12am

Friday – 12pm-3pm, 5.30pm-12am

Saturday – 5pm – 12am

Sunday – 12pm – 3pm, 5.30pm – 10pm

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Georgia Dawes

Lover all all things that make me happy, happiness is the way to her heart!

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