Kingdom of Rice comes to Tennyson Hotel
Located in the drive-in bottle shop that was recently home to Dirty Italian Disco, Kingdom of Rice will launch in October, serving up Cambodian street food for a six-month spell.
Having perfected the unexpected with their innovative mash-up of Italian craft and Asian influences, chef Mitch Orr and frontman Cam Fairbairn are set to explore and experiment with Khmer cuisine, working closely with head chef Lillia McCabe (fresh from Singapore’s Blackwattle) and Sophia Thach, leading the front of house team. The concept has been inspired by Thach’s Khmer heritage and the team’s fascinating experiences travelling through Cambodia and love of Southeast Asia.
Leaning on the flavours of kreung (a paste made with lemongrass, ginger, turmeric, galangal, garlic and chilli), prahok (crushed, salted and fermented fish paste), fresh herbs, lime and Kampot pepper, the kitchen will serve share style seafood, meat and vegetables cooked over charcoal or tossed through a wok.
“The Tennyson drive-in provides the perfect setting to share our passion for Cambodian food and culture to the hungry people”, says Orr. “We’re excited to have the opportunity with Merivale to serve this style of cuisine, introducing diners to food that is unique, yet approachable and something they had no idea they craved until now”.
With mismatched furniture, big communal tables and open roller doors, the space will be reminiscent of the street side shop fronts in Phnom Penh – inspired by the capital’s bustling markets and streets. “It’s a real sensory overload. There’s laughter and noise of people everywhere, the smell of food cooked over charcoal, colours of fresh tropical fruits and an amazing sense of community”, says Orr.
The charm of the self-serve bottle shop remains – pivoting toward Cambodian and Asian beers, natural wines and Southeast Asian- inspired cocktails. Guests will still be able to buy their own alcohol from the walk-in fridge, before dining in the drive-way eatery.
Kingdom of Rice is Merivale’s second collaboration at the Tennyson Hotel, following the hugely successful American-style Italian eatery, Dirty Italian Disco, with Mike Eggert and Jemma Whiteman. Merivale acquired The Tennyson Hotel in December 2016. The pub itself will continue to operate as normal with no immediate plans for a major refurbishment. Further details on Kingdom of Rice and its open date will be announced soon.