I was absolutely excited to score last minute reservations at Issaya Siamese Club, as it came highly recommended by the folks at Pepo. They said it was better than Nahm, and as I’ve made dinner reservations there as well, I felt it was only apt to compare notes. Plus it’s currently listed as one of Pellegrino’s Top 20 Asia’s Best Restaurants List so I had to try it out.
Not wanting to be stuck in the infamous horrific Bangkok traffic jams (and after hearing that Issaya is quite hard to find), we booked a cab and were rather too early for the reservation. However, it was quite nice to have a wander through the restaurant, whilst there weren’t much punters around. Because it is an absolutely beautiful place.
Chef Ian Kittichai, Thailand’s first international ‘celebrity chef’ is a Founding Partner of the restaurant. He’s a pioneer of farm-to-table dining and it’s reflected in the decor of plants and the restaurant’s garden of aromatic Thai herbs and produce (couldn’t see much of this when we visited because it was, erm, night time).
“Issaya” is apparently an old Thai word for the rainy season and was chosen to pay homage to nature’s gifts. The ground floor dining outlet has an indoor and al fresco dining area, boasting of Chef Kittichai’s menu. The upper floor is a lounge-bar area inspired by traditional members clubs. The heritage house has been preserved by designer Hans Bogetoft Christensen and the colourful and contemporary decor and fabrics are all Thai made and produced.
Food and Drinks at Issaya Siamese Club
We are living in an era of YOLO and FOMO so it was a quick decision for us – we ordered Chef Kittichai’s 10-course menu. At 2500 Baht (or roughly £60) per set, this was absoluely a bargain.
But first, cocktails (350 Baht / £8 each). I had a (gigantic) Issaya Mojito which was rather refreshing and G had the Issaya Passion. Both cocktails were decent.
A trio of amuse bouche arrived, and I’m kicking myself for not finding the right angles to photograph it better. (Soz guys!) Anyway. From left to right: a teeny omelette with pork, lobster spring rolls and a floral rice cake.
My bouche wasn’t too amused by the other two mouthfuls but the lobster spring roll was packed with flavour.
Starters arrived at the same time, and boy it was an absolute feast.
Sai Klok Talay – a house made fresh shellfish sausage with Hua-Hin style seafood broth. Hua-Hin is a coastal town in Thailand, two and a half hours away from Bangkok.
This soup BLEW ME AWAY big time. The tanginess was surreal – it was addictive and brings a liveliness to the soup but its depth doesn’t overwhelm the seafood.
Yum Makur Koong Tod – crispy harbour shrimp, melting eggplant with a tamarind dressing. I loved the lightly battered shrimp, whose flavour didn’t shy away from the generosity of the tamarind sauce. But what I really enjoyed from this dish was the smokiness of Thai eggplant. Love.
Kradook Moo with AOB sauce – spice rubbed baby back ribs with Issaya’s special chilli paste. Presentation-wise, this dish was quite stunning. Flavour-wise I thought it was okay. I wish the ribs had a bit more meat in them to absorb all that gorgeous paste.
Yum Nua – grilled tender beef with organic veggies in a birds eye chilli vinaigrette. This was my least favourite starter – then again I like big chunks of beef. I was surprised by how mild the sauce was, considering the amount of chillies the dish had.
After the starters and a berry palate cleanser, we were comfortably satiated, but absolutely ready for more.
Hor Mok Goong Mun Korn – steamed Maine lobster, lobster curry custard, fresh coco milk and sweet basil.
I was scared, that the lobster meat would be dry underneath all that thick, warm sauce but was pleasantly proven wrong. It was succulently sweet and fresh, with the juices creating a beautiful dance with all that creamy, bisque-flavoured custard. Obsessed is the word.
Choo-chee Salmon Rom Kwan – slow-cooked salmon with Jerusalem artichokes in red curry sauce. I’m quite a fan of choo-chee sauce and that’s a statement as 1) I’m not too big on curry and 2) when I eat curry I’m not huge on super creamy curry.
I thought the salmon was beautifully cooked and I thought the sauce was perfectly balanced. I loved the spicy kick (which I reckon most people would classify as extra hot).
Paneang Nua – grain-fed Aussie veal cheek simmered in spices, coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves. This looked overwhelming as it seemed like an ordinary stew in a bowl but we all know that nobody should judge a book by its cover. The veal was melt-in-your mouth outstanding and the sauce had great flavour and very distinctive from the other red curry sauce we had.
Our ‘rice’ was a big bowl (could possibly serve four people!) of Asian multigrain with ‘shrooms and fried garlic (love!!!) and sprinkled with mushroom scented oil. Overall, this was okay but I would’ve preferred a bowl of plain steamed jasmine.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering… we did have a go at veggies, too.
The dessert platter was phenomenal. It was all your favourites with a Thai twist: Tamarind macaron, panacotta with exotic fruits, coconut milk ice cream, jackfruit sponge, and something else I totes forgot. Soz again, guys. My mind was too full to concentrate.
Verdict for Issaya Siamese Club
Holy smokes, guys. I can’t recommend this enough. From start to finish, we were shown great Thai hospitality and I can’t fault service at all. Food is deliciously bold and the menu is exciting. I love the concept of growing their own herbs in the garden and the produce they used all tasted fresh. If you only have a few nights in Bangkok, make sure you put this on your list. And get reservations about a month in advance. Thank God I got lucky, else I’d’ve missed out on such an epic meal!
Issaya Siamese Club
4 ซอย ศรีอักษร Chuea Phloeng Rd, Thung Maha Mek, Sathon, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
Ave spend pp: £50 for a la carte, £80 for the superb tasting menu