Long-running French fine dining restaurant Topaz has ranked 90 in the 2022 Asia’s Top 100 list, marking the first Cambodian establishment to make the list and highlighting the country’s evolving hospitality sector.
The restaurant is under the Thalias Hospitality company founded by well-known businessman Arnaud Darc which includes other local restaurants Malis and Khema.
The group employs over 500 local and international staff, and consists of accommodations, restaurants and cafés. Professional event planning services in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap also fall under its umbrella.
Speaking to CIR Life & Luxury, Topaz Director of Operations Lina Hak said that compared to cities like Singapore and Bangkok, Cambodia’s high-end restaurant scene is still evolving despite a truly thriving and diverse mid-level range dining scene.
“However, there is still space for much more at the top-end, but fortunately there is the talent and ability here to meet the rising demand. But we don’t see it as a race to catch up with cities like that,” Hak said.
“The high-end dining scene here is a unique reflection of Cambodia’s history and its hopes for the future. There is a great deal to be proud of within that,” she added.
To make the list restaurants are chosen by more than 300 industry leaders, referred to as “the academy.” They are food writers, critics, chefs, and restaurateurs from across the region.
Hong Kong was awarded top destination in Asia this year, according to the rankings by the 50 Best organization with 16 of the region’s “best” 100 restaurants. Thailand and Japan tied for second place, each with 13 restaurants, and Singapore third with 12 establishments.
Cambodia’s strong economic growth a key driver
Cambodia’s strong economic performance over the last 20 years has considerably raised the standard of living for many Cambodians with more luxury restaurants, bars and brands looking to capture the increased spending power.
To read more about luxury brands entering the Cambodian market click here.
“Phnom Penh is unrecognizable from when Topaz was established. Today, it is a busy, fast-paced city that has seen a lot of development and the growth of an important commercial sector that needs the right environment in which to entertain their clients and dine out with their families,” Hak said.
“Our customer’s tastes and expectations have grown over the years, and we hope to have played a contributing role in that with, for example, our Michelin-starred dinners led by invited chefs from France,” she added.
Developing Cambodia’s workforce
Cambodia’s tourism and hospitability industry has been tasked with increasing the number of high-value tourist destinations and increasing the average spending by tourists in Cambodia.
Cambodia currently has only one internationally recognized hospitality and culinary school, the Academy of Culinary Arts Cambodia (ACAC) recently hosted its open day aiming to attract local students to join the school.
The sector is a key contributor to its economic growth and addressing Cambodia’s skills gap and youth unemployment is one of the Academy’s main objectives.
To read more about the ACAC click here.
“There is a lot of talent in this country that sometimes just needs to find the right outlet at the right time. I do not doubt that more Cambodian restaurants will be listed in the coming years,” Hak said.
Topaz is located at 162 Preah Norodom Boulevard, and is open from 11:30am to 2pm and from 6pm to 10:30pm daily to make a booking click here.