The White Rose Restaurant nestled in the heart of Battambang’s city center is a puzzle warped in a mystery. It’s an expansive corner eatery that serves a hybrid western-Cambodian fare. The place is perpetually crowded; with a mix of foreigners and locals. One might assume with that kind of thriving business it would indicate that its cuisine was something special.
Actually the two times I dined there the dishes I had were disappointing. They ranged from mediocre (the chicken curry) to awful (the so-called chili con carne).
The chicken curry was a listless affair of insipid curry sauce, wide white noodles and a smattering of small pieces of boiled chicken. For inexplicable reasons the curry included soggy French fries mixed in the soup. All in all the curry was not offensive, just instantly forgettable.
Now the chili was in a dismal class all by itself. In all my years as a chili aficionado I’ve never tasted a batch of chili that was so non-chili. Not sure how to describe it except that in no way could what I was served be called chili- maybe stir fried veggies with shoe-leather beef, but certainly not chili.
The service was predictably slow and the hospitality staff not very hospitable. I don’t mind a long wait for decently prepared food, but for the low quality at the Rose, it’s annoying.
Which comes to the puzzle warped in a mystery: how on earth does a restaurant do such a brisk business when its food is so lackluster?
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