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ACME and Merivale's Cambodian Street Food Pop-Up Is Opening This Week

Kingdom of Rice has landed at the Tennyson Hotel's drive-through bottle-o, with a menu of colourful Khmer-inspired fare.
By Libby Curran
October 08, 2018
By Libby Curran
October 08, 2018

It's time to fasten your seatbelt for another Southeast Asian adventure, as Cambodian street food pop-up Kingdom of Rice gears up to open its doors this Friday, October 12.

Taking over the space at the Tennyson Hotel drive-through bottle-o, most recently home to Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco, the temporary eatery is a collaboration between the crew from ACME and Merivale — the latter being new owners of the hotel.

Kingdom of Rice will set up shop here for a lively six-month stint, dishing up a fun, colourful menu loaded with classic Khmer flavours and culinary techniques. And of course, plenty of that signature ACME creative streak. It's fare that promises to pack a punch to all the senses, with a share-friendly offering of snacks, skewers, grilled delights, wok dishes, noodles and — of course — rice.

ACME co-owner Mitch Orr will be working in the kitchen with head chef Lillia McCabe, who has just returned from a stint at Singapore's Blackwattle. They'll be joined on the floor by another ACME co-owner Cam Fairbairn and head of front-of-house Sophia Thach. Thach is of Cambodian descent and spent time living in working in Phnom Penh, and will be bringing her first-hand experience of the region to the pop-up.

On the menu, expect starters like trey neet alek (dried fish and watermelon) and svay kchey (green mango with chilli and salt), and skewers featuring the likes of shiitake mushroom and lemongrass beef, each served with baguette and a pickled green papaya salad.

The heftier end of the lineup sees plates like chicken wings stuffed with a traditional Cambodian spice paste, pipis with lime and kampot pepper, whole fish with coconut and lemongrass served hot from the grill, and pandan coconut waffles teamed with coconut sorbet.

The self-serve bottle shop set-up remains as it was for Mr Liquor's, though this time the walk-in fridge is stocked with easy-drinking Asian brews and natural wines sourced from across the country. Cocktails share the menu's Cambodian leanings, with sips including the Pandan Piña Colada and a Hennessy and Jasmine Tea.

Head in, nab a plastic market stool and dive into some gutsy fare, while old-school Cambodian movies flicker on the colourful walls.

Find Kingdom of Rice at the Tennyson Hotel, 952 Botany Rd, Mascot, from this Friday, October 12. It'll open Wednesday through Sunday each week, for the next six months.

Images: Nikki To

Published on October 08, 2018 by Libby Curran
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