Monthly Archives: February 2013

SECRETS PAVILLION BOUTIQUE VILLA

#120, Angkor Night Market Street, Steoung Thmey, Siem Reap Central Area, Siem Reap, Cambodia

http://www.secretspavilion.com

Telephone Number: 088 727 2737

Sous-Dey … Hello!

DSCN4118

Buddha guarding the Entrance

It was a place suggested by Agoda to our group.  It opened in September 2012. It was chosen because of the price and its proximity to Angkor Night Market and the Pub Street which is the center of Siem Reap’s night life.  Like so many things in life, the people that you will meet have been predetermined … even before we were born.

564186_364651223617751_2132232453_n

Walkway

This is a charming Khmer Villa with a very affordable price manned by a very warm and hospitable staff … all willing to be of help, of service.  Genuine customer   satisfaction is their aim. 

391662_120910234344367_STD

Exterior

There are only few rooms in this hotel but there’s a room good for a family of four which we took.  This includes pick-up from the airport using the tuk tuk ( 15 minutes ) and free breakfast of different ways the egg is cooked … poached, fried, omelet and scrambled – served with coffee or tea, toast and fruits. Not bad for a very economical room.  Though electricity is very pricey in Siem, there is an air-conditioning unit (a relief!) and 2 extra wall fans.  Wait … there is more: free bottled water. 

391662_120910193439809_STD

Family Room

_DSC0277

Room for 2

 Even the floor of the lobby/restaurant is clean … they remove their shoes or slippers when entering it but tourists are not required to do so.

_DSC0297

Stylist: Vanessa Zapanta

_DSC0260

Stylist: Vanessa Zapanta

The best thing is its proximity to the Angkor Night Market and Pub Street.  You can take a tuk tuk going there or walk.  There is a “secret passage” or a shortcut to the place.  Each room is given a key to the gate so you can enter in and out of the shortcut.  As Sothearith Voeun aka Sivata, the owner, said : “it looks not safe but it is”.  You will pass by a small pedestrian road but the bad thing is that you have to pass by a “smelly” canal which he always emphasize that will be covered soon. 

They have their own tuk tuk driven by Rat whom we are so fond of … we taught him words like beki and charot … and he loved it! He became my hubby’s BFF and he told him his life and his frustrations.  We particularly loved the story about his dog that died and he cried for a week.  He is fun to be with and even gives free cold water after the “temple run”.  He is so shy that he doesn’t want to join us for lunch.  My heart goes out for people who never took advantage of other people’s kindness.  They are always apologetic even when not necessary.  Very careful with words.  We have developed good relationships with them and I paid it forward by re-styling their lobby. 

_DSC0074 (2)

Rat and his Tuk Tuk

More than the clean rooms and hospitable staff … it is the very heart of Cambodia that captured me … too trusting, too pure, too kind.  Some are victims of the landmines … but doesn’t want to beg … they would sing and you can pay them.  There is pride in their hearts and a legacy etched in their temples.  Yes, it is hot in Siem … but not as warm as their hospitality.

_DSC0221

Joul Moury !!

Will I go back to Secrets Pavilion?  … yes, a hundred times more.  Siem Reap aside from its magnificent ruins and temples has a heart of that I have never seen and felt in the places I have been to.

 

Advertisements

FEZ Restobar

384222_3307524226915_137598908_n

How the stars defined your destiny has been determined aeons before you were born … coincidence is merely a product of one’s unperturbed innocence of how the universe works. Even the choices were given … you just have to take it.  It is like choosing food … was there ever a specific taste that you would rather have or that you have known to love all along? It is always a journey that will lead you to the wondrous liking of a certain taste that will fit your palate.  It is like finding love in the most unexpected circumstance … loving when others won’t find the ­­­­­­­object of your affection even appealing at a glance.  It is a person who finishes the sentence for you or the one that reminds you of the things that you have forgotten because your mind is unbelievably a mountain of bits and pieces thrown in to get your mind off a lot of misplacements. 

Those who knew me knew that I live and breathe Carrie Bradshaw … with their last movie to boot … most of it were shot in Morocco … it is also where she saw Aidan  and the rest was history in this beautiful movie.  And if I ended eating in a Moroccan grub (place) … might be a mischievous wave of my fairy’s wand. 

2011312-sheesha-toronto

Ack: Sheesha Toronto

And I never thought it was a Moroccan grub … aside from the tell-tale signs of the word FEZ (Turkish hat or city in Morocco) … shlada (salad) is one’s metaphoric description of a Moroccan identity.  Arches of intricately carved wood and hookah or sheesha (oriental tobacco pipe with a long flexible tube connected to a container where the smoke is cooled by passing through water) … it is like something dumped on your face but never quite knowing what it was.  I am too dense in so many ways … it is very hard to assume. I don’t want signs; I want hard facts and words.  Twice in my life I lost something because of this.  Or this is Part 2 of ” I didn’t come prepared” … what was Google doing in the midst of this?

Ambience: cosy, intimate … middle-eastern-ish (how could I miss it!)

Foodie’s Order:

Pita Platter: “freshly made pita breads served with 4 kinds of homemade dips: hummus, baba ganoush, garlic yogurt and tomato sauce.”

Hummus – Mid-eastern dip made of chick peas, lemon, olive oil, tahini, garlic and salt.  My 1st taste of a hummus with certain “chunkiness” in it …  The usual is paste-like … this is … different. Not in a bad way … it gives it character.

Baba ghanoush – this is the spelling that I am familiar with .It is a mixture of eggplant , olive oil and various seasoning.

Trivia: Ghanoush is an arabic word meaning “father of coquetry “ … harem , anyone?

Garlic Yogurt – yogurt, cloves, lemon juice and salt

Tomato sauce – tomato, olive oil, salt, pepper, onion, garlic and other seasonings to taste

This platter is hard not to like … this is a safe thing to order.  My fave play is spreading it all together in one pita.  It will become a delight of its own.

377603_10200147779355882_1915946961_n

Pita Platter

Rocket Salad: “crisp romaine lettuce with roquette greens topped with slices of grilled tomatoes, candied walnuts with feta cheese and Mediterranean vinaigrette”

Roquette (perennial herbs grown in Mediterranean region … see arugula as well) … The salad is light and easy yet with a chomp and a certain feisty taste. This was chosen because feta goes well with pita and it turned out to be great combination.

534807_10200147777555837_459781400_n

Rocket Salad

(*) Rib eye Steak: “Angus beef cooked to your own doneness served with sautéed baby asparagus and marble potatoes. “

When the porter house or T-Bone was choice and becomes rib eye … it connotes having to settle for the uneventful or the resto doesn’t offer one. I hope it is the latter and not the former because it says: boredom; lacking in tiny bites and missing the meat on the bone.  This is one is very tender and juicy … no not like the hotdog kind of way … it is a flavourful, succulent beefy goodness.

486254_445882248802200_1638570220_n

Rib Eye c/o Fez FB Page

The rest on the menu … it is up for you to discover. 

Will I ever come back?  …  depends …  Wink – wink  … from an avid believer of 2nd chances and about soul and palate that never forgets.

*Kenn Velasco, owner and friend of my twin sis, Nicole Cruz. 

Serendra Piazza
Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines

Phone Number
(+63 2) 901-1840, (+63 916) 250-4532