4589 Papineau. Mont-Royal métro. BYOB
RESERVATIONS: 527-2124. HOURS: I I a.m.10 p.m., Mon.Fri. 5 p.m.I I p.m. Sat. and Sun. NO- SMOKING SECTION: Yes. WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes. PRICES-TABLE DHÔTE: $10.95$14.95 (à la carte), no table dhote. CREDIT CARDS: Not yet.
A brand new restaurant has clawed its way to the top of this category, and it is entirely due to one man's vision. The chef-owner has made an incredible effort to keep his dishes authentic, the ingredients pure and the flavours spot-on.
The service is friendly and informative: let yourself be led by the staff, who will patiently explain every dish on the menu, if that's what's needed, with the chef coming out of the kitchen to underline a particularly salient point.
The location on Papineau is easily accessible by car, with lots of parking nearby, or by métro and a short bus trip. The decor is better than that of many newly opened restaurants, with burgundy tables and chairs, and off-white walls with many authentic Cambodian art reproductions.
The names of the dishes can be bewildering to the uninitiated, but do try the sam lor mchou temple cam, a typical Cambodian soup sure to take the edge off even the most ravenous appetite. The bankear khmer contains spicy sauteed shrimps with pepper, onion and basil, while the sach morn char kroeung is a chicken dish, sauteed with peppers, onions and a spicy sauce, Khmer-style. Lastly, the mi char koeung samoth turned out to be a seafood dish, again sauteed with egg noodles and veggies.
The food here is uniformly delicious, situated somewhere between Vietnamese and Thai cuisine: all in all, an elegant, flavourful experience that is sure to please those tiring of the city's other Asian offerings. If the chef maintains the quality of the food, and keeps working on the decor, Le Temple du Cambodge will be a risingand not just a shootingstar.