History

The Intrigue of the Indochina Bank Building!

Many people wonder about the history of this building and how such a historical landmark was restored and became open to the public as a restaurant.

This 120 year old building was constructed in French colonial style for the purpose of housing the Indochina Bank. It became the property of the Cambodian Van family in 1960, and served as the family residence for many years. In 1970 when the civil war broke out, the entire family fled the country leaving the youngest 2 year-old, Porleng Van, the last to escape with her sister Porlim.

In 2003 with the economic opening of the country the Van family procured their former house from the Cambodian government and Porleng was given the task of restoring it to its former glory. Giving attention to every detail she researched the archives of the National Library of French Colonies in Aix-en-Provence, France to provide her with accurate historical accounts of the building.

Between August 2003 and April 2004 the restoration took place with most of the genuine tiles, colored windows, beautiful wooden panels and most of all the authentic grandeur of the building intact. This building was short listed for the UNESCO heritage preservation awards in 2006 because of the care taken in conservation of architectural and period design.

Van’s Restaurant has been a subject in documentaries and magazine articles about the preservation of architectural heritage in Cambodia and South East Asia.

Though parts of the building were already open for corporate rental, the general public had no chance to witness its interior and would often pass by wondering what it felt like to be inside. So in 2007 the family decided to open the building to the public. What better way to do so, than to offer it as a French gastonomique culinary experience.

Once inside you will notice how the ambience of the building engulfs you. It does not overwhelm but exudes a homely and welcome feeling. This is no doubt from the building’s own residential past. Let the intrigue of this building, its past and present be a part of your heritage too. Let Van’s welcome you to your home.