I first met Rory Hunter and Melita Koulmandas Hunter nearly a decade ago when they were completing a resort on the twin islands of Song Saa in Koh Rong, near the Cambodian beach town of Sihanoukville. Song Saa Private Island was a project born out of the Australian couple’s love for Cambodia – their adopted son Naryth, now 11, is from the area.
On a sunny Wednesday, I join them in the downstairs bar of Louise – Jia Group’s latest collaboration with Singapore-based French chef Julien Royer whose eatery Odette currently tops Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.
The two-storey restaurant’s bright bistro vibe comes courtesy of Hong Kong’s design wunderkind André Fu. A long bar faces a casual room with wicker and bentwood chairs leading to a leafy patio spilling out to the renovated former Police Married Quarters (PMQ). At the far end is a colour-saturated private dining room outfitted with a green fireplace mantel, a back wall depicting a jungle landscape and a tropical-patterned rug.