I had been wanting to check out Phnom Penh for some time as I’ve heard so much about their amazing squid dishes. I was finally able to get there on April 22 and was pleased to see that, for a Monday night, the place was humming. This had to be a good sign. Now I was dining by myself and I soon discovered that Phnom Penh isn’t the place for a solo diner. The prices are somewhat on the steep side and their combo selections were few (three in total) and really quite limited in variety. After reviewing the menu I decided what I wanted and waited and waited and waited before I was finally able to get my order taken. I felt like it was a battle to get my order taken.
I ordered a noodle dish and a squid dish and was able to justify the expensive by telling myself that I would get lunch for tomorrow out of the leftovers. The noodle dish arrived first, but it wasn’t the particular noodle dish that I had ordered. Here’s where it gets interesting. I noticed a waitress approaching with my correct noodle dish, but she saw the other one on my table, looked at me and hastily figured that I hadn’t noticed the mix up so just turned around and walked away with the correct noodles. Unbelievable! Instead of just owning up to the mistake, which wasn’t really even a big deal, they just thought that I wouldn’t know the difference. What a great business model for an eating establishment. Subterfuge dining!
Service is incredibly weak at Phnom Penh and this is largely due to their approach. There are a plethora of servers and you pretty much deal with someone different every time. A different person sat me at my table, took my order, dropped off tea, delivered each dish and brought the bill. A few were friendly, a few were surly and the others didn’t really seem to care too much. Hon’s does this service approach well and does it with efficiency and with a cheerful staff. The management of Phnom Penh could learn a bunch from them.
The squid dish was great by the way and was some of the best I’ve ever had. It’s really too bad that the front of house service blows it for the talented cooks in the kitchen.