The hottest new restaurants in SE Asia

It might be one of South East Asia’s grittier cities but the former capital is booming and has a growing hipster scene to match. One of the newest pop-up restaurants-cum-bars to watch out for is Port Autonomy and its cool retro-interior of neon signs, old-school wooden benches and a laid back outdoor dining area overlooking a peaceful jetty. Chef Kevin Ching’s seafood-centric menu features modern takes on Burmese classics like Burmese fried rice with guacamole (US$7 ($9)) and Goan fish curry with lemongrass, cilantro and coconut (US$8 ($10))

Phnom Penh
The charming 70-room hotel, The Plantation, just gave us another excuse to return to Phnom Penh with the opening of high-end French restaurant La Pergola. Set inside a purpose built glass structure in the grounds of this charming hotel on the site of the former Ministry of Labor. It’s helmed by chef Sébastien Rubis, who has earned a reputation for reinventing traditional local recipes and will be serving up dishes like foie gras cooked in strawberry wine and Kampot pepper ($18).

The city’s dining scene continues its love affair with all things Italian with another a new restaurant set to open in January. Located on Soi Ruamrudee, in the heart of the high end Phloenchit district, Italics Bangkok will be serving up contemporary Italian fare, covering dishes like Prossecco steamed river prawns with coriander chili aioli (THB300 ($11.80)) and buffalo poached chicken with sundried tomatoes, prune balsamic and herbs (THB260 (10.20)). 

Meanwhile, down in Bali, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver continues his quest for world domination by bringing popular brand Jamie’s Italian to the bustling streets of Kuta Beach. Also slated for a 2015 opening, with over 40 chains worldwide, Jamie’s Italian is known for it’s affordable rustic eats. With a large alfresco dining area it offers the chance to enjoy freshly made pasta while overlooking the beach.