Issaya Siamese Club
A vibrant and exciting take on traditional Thai cooking.
The idea of a Thai restaurant in an old house normally sets alarm bells ringing. So often these places end up serving tourist-friendly Thai food that lets the décor do the hard work. But this is no ordinary Thai restaurant. Run by the ‘prodigal son,’ Ian Kittichai, Issaya is a vibrant and exciting take on traditional Thai cooking. The vibrancy begins with the décor, which is bright and bold, large floral wallpaper and vivid blue walls somehow combining perfectly with the heritage building. The food manages the same high-wire act of being resolutely traditional and thought-provoking in equal measure. You’ll recognize most dishes on the menu which includes appetizers, entrees and, pleasantly, a pretty thorough home grown and organic vegetarian menu. Yet most are given a little twist, notably through the artful presentation and use of high quality ingredients, such as the yum nuar (B300), tender imported beef balanced on mini-towers of salad. Despite the delicate presentation, it doesn’t hold back on the spice, the heat marrying well with the sourness of the chili-lime dressing. Indeed, the most impressive aspect of Issaya is the balance of flavors. The yum hua plee (B220), an elegant pillar of crisp heart of palm and bamboo flower salad, is sweet, spicy and refreshing in equal measure. Some dishes are on another level, like the kradook moo aob (B360), delicious chili glazed baby back ribs; it is fall-off-the-bone tender and decadently sticky and sweet. It’s a mountainous portion, though, as is the equally tender and aromatic gai yang (B450)—despite both being apps. Indeed, disparity of portion sizes can make communal ordering tricky, surely an essential aspect of Thai dining, and it’s something the young and attentive staff could offer more direction on. After all, you want to make sure you have room for dessert, where Kittichai is at his most inventive. The kanom moh geang cha Thai (B220) is a case in point, an out-there reinterpretation that brings the flavors of Thai tea to a classic crème brule. Finally, don’t miss the delicious kanom Thai (petits fours, B180) complete with its touch of smoky theater. It’s a suitably impressive end to an experience that ensures Issaya joins a very select band of Thai restaurants in Bangkok that soar above the ordinary and easily justify their price tag. Corkage B600
|Issaya Siamese Club, 4 Soi Sri Aksorn, Chuaphloeng Rd., Bangkok, Thailand
|daily 10:30am-1:30pm, 5-9:30pm
|MRT Khlong Toei
|Reservation recommended, Parking available, Dress requirements
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