When Celia Boyd and James Wilson moved to Phnom Penh in 2015 to launch SHE Investments, a social enterprise that helps Cambodian women to grow their businesses, they realised something else was missing in the capital: a perfect spot for a relaxed, Melbourne-style, Saturday morning brunch.
At Lot 369, they’ve created precisely that. Whether sprawling on the comfy sofas inside or out on the bright and airy patio area, this chilled-out cafe is a real find in Russian market – and one of the best spots in the city for proper coffee, giant breakfasts and healthy treats… with plenty of options for veggies, vegans and gluten-free diets, too.
Lot 369 has become something of a local legend in Tuol Tom Poung for its fabulous range of brunches and all-day breakfasts, and it’s easy to see why…
… Plus, there’s a huge selection of delicious pastas, salads, bakes, mixed bowls, fish dishes, cheesecake, smoothies and, now, a booze list too.
A Model for Fair Employment
With typically long hours, low pay and few benefits, working in Cambodia can be tough. Worse, just 10% of Cambodian businesses are officially registered, making it near-impossible to enforce labour laws that protect worker’s rights.
Lot 369 is striving hard to buck that trend. They’re properly tax registered, certified by Workers Sabay to offer high standards of pay, annual leave, sickness and maternity benefits, and operate a 5-day workweek (on 6-day pay) to keep employees happy and healthy.
They also work with the organisation iLead to provide training and employment to people from difficult backgrounds – and helping to progress them to assistant manager positions in the cafe.
“We love working here – we help each other a lot as a team. It’s not like I’m the manager and they work for me, we’re friends, like a big family,” says cafe manager, Dy. “Also, we love the coffee!”
… And Sustainable, Too
As well as their social conscience, the team at Lot 369 are passionate about doing their bit for the environment.
Wherever possible, ingredients are locally sourced – and dishes like Smashed Avo are seasonal. They’re also committed to reducing plastic use and take part in regular clean-up events in the Tuol Tom Poung area.
When to Go
While lazy weekend brunches go down a treat at Lot 369, there are a bunch of great offers to keep you going back during the week, too! Here’s a rundown:
Muy Tiet Monday: Bring a friend and the second meal is half price
Tight Ass Tuesday: Happy hour all night, with every third plate of tapas free
$1 Coffee Wednesday: Now a Toul Tom Poung institution!
Kids Eat Free Thursday: Exactly what it says on the tin…
Bowl & Bevvie Friday: Buy any bowl and add any non-alcoholic drink for only $1.
What to Get
Dy recommends going for the giant all-day Breakfast Stack (poached egg, tomato, bacon and spinach stacked on a homemade hash brown, $6.50) or a Protein Bowl ($6.50 – see photo below). Plus, of course, any of the amazing coffees from the extensive list of hot and iced options.
The Whole Package
“We’re from Melbourne, so we really value great coffee and great brunch,” explains Co-Owner Celia Boyd. “Here you get all that, in a beautiful environment, and you also know it’s served to you by someone who’s treated fairly and genuinely respected as part of the team.”