Dine in an historical 100 year old Indo-Portuguese colonial-style Thai home and its tropical gardens in the heart of Bangkok city. Issaya Siamese Club Bangkok anticipates everyone pilgrimage by the man behind the scene, international renowned Chef Ian Kittichai’s contemporary Thai gastronomy. mylifestylenews has a blast during our recent visit……
The concept and cuisine is certain to excite sensibilities that crave delicious Thai dishes, artful unique ambience, and exceptional experiences. This all sounds like hyped advertising doesn’t it, but trust us, it is all true and so addictive that time permitting, you will want to go back night after night to try more of the amazing menu and fabulous creativity of Chef Kittichai and his team.
Issaya Siamese Club Bangkok is the lounge-bar concept throughout the upper floors of the house and front garden, whereas Issaya – an ancient Thai word for the rainy season is the ground floor dining outlet that includes both a dining room and large outdoor terrace. The garden at Issaya Siamese Club Bangkok flourishes because of the rainy season, thus the name was chosen to pay homage to this beautiful part of nature.
Chef Kittichai’s Thai cuisine and style are set in a relaxed atmosphere of dining, lounge, and bar. The menu is rooted in Chef Kittichai’s childhood of growing up in the Bangkok wet markets, cooking with his mother and pushing her food cart through their Bangkok neighbourhood. How to connect such a simple upbringing to such a beautifully designed club?
To get us in the mood for a fun evening, we began with some signature cocktails Le Issaya Cocktail (Grey Goose vodka with house-made mulberry sorbet topped with sparkling rose wine) and the Issaya Mojito (Barcadi Superior Rum spiked with the scent of kaffir lime leaves, mint and lemongrass). Both refreshing cocktails were superb in presentation and the perfect palate teaser for the very locally inspired food that was to come.
The menu features Chef Kittichai’s unique signature Thai cuisine of traditional ingredients and flavours with international and progressive cooking methods. Some of the signature dishes, such as the Mussuman Gae (Mussuman Curry Lamb Shank) and Kanom Dok Mali (Jasmine Flower Flan) as well as an ever-changing market menu that highlights seasonal specials, direct from the market, are the heart of the menu. Chef Kittichai is a pioneer in farm-to-table dining in Thailand and incorporates his purity and freshness beliefs into Issaya Siamese Club Bangkok.
And so to the food and we have nothing but gushing praise for everything we ate (try hard as we might for chinks in the armour, there weren’t any!). The feast began with a Mieng Tuna (Freshly chopped tuna tartare, ginger, peanut and young tamarind leaves in a palm sugar fish sauce dressing). The presentation was cute as the cups are served in the mould where the base of the cup is created in and the taste delivered a beautiful melding of flavours in miniature.
This was followed by more small delicacies that didn’t fail on the taste front, a Kanom Krok, a coconut crème brulee filled with wok-sauteed chopped chicken, galangal, kaffir lime leaves and chili jam. It may look so simple, but with each bite you get a different ‘zing’ of ingredient and they are all gone too quickly.
A classic Thai vegetarian dish surprised us next, the Larb Pak Sod – a salad of white cabbage, Honshimeji mushrooms, basil, mint, Japanese cucumbers, shallots and roasted sticky rice dressing. On the plate you are not sure what lies within and with so many interesting textures and herb/vegetable ingredients, the effect is divine with complexity and even for carnivores like us still can’t get enough of this salad.
The Kradook Moo Aob Sauce is a spicy rubbed pork baby back ribs dish that is glazed with the house-blended chili paste and we were positively salivating with every morsel. The rub ingredients create such an exotic flavor and the meat was cooked to perfection with a beautiful and lightly burnt ‘crust’ to create that contrast in texture.
At this point we are beside ourselves with big grins and feverish anticipation for what comes next and the Mussaman Gae – Lamb Shank Simmered in Mussamun Curry served with Pickled Cucumber was one of the highlights for us, as name Mussaman is not actually native Thai word but a generally thought to refer to the Muslims with the earlier writers from the mid-19th century calling the dish “Mussulman Curry” being an archaic form of the word Muslim. Yet, the dish originated in 17th century Central Thailand at the cosmopolitan court of Ayutthaya through the Persian merchant from whom the Thai noble family of Bunnag descends. This dish with such long and rich history beckoned Chef Kittichai and inspired him to create his own version of Mussaman on his menu. This dish exemplifies chef Kittichai’s commitment to superb ingredients and authenticity in flavor as it is so palatable and evocative yet perfectly judged in the sensibilities with a lamb shank being simmered to its tenderness that was completely a melt-in-your mouth with every single bite. It is best accompanied by the Wok Sauteed Short Grain Rice with “Hed Por” - Asian multigrains, Chiang Mai mushrooms and garlic sprinkled with mushroom-scented oil.
Seafood figures large in Thai cooking, we moved from such richness in flavor and texture back to something more visceral in intent. The Hoy Shell Moo Wan – a “Surf and Turf” wok-seared scallops with “moo-hong” pork relish - was such a pleasant digression from all previous dishes and a chance to see how scallops can taste heavenly. This dish is simplicity and complexity all in one and felt like a palate cleanser after the curry, it is a good sequence for the palate and not to be missed.
Thai people love their pork, in case you hadn’t guessed, so the last main dish was a stunner in all regards. Kor Moo Yang – made-at-your-table grilled pork shoulder with coriander and chili in a toasted jasmine rice dressing comes in an interesting presentation that has you guessing, as it looks like an edible gift wrapped delivery. The pork oozes flavor that is to be savoured at every mouthful, with a crunchy texture on the outside and you don’t want this to end.
Where could the kitchen take us now after such a wonderful array of Thai cooking? You would never guess what is to follow, but here is what happened. The Restaurant Manager arrived at our table and proceeded to assemble the dessert by laying two large banana leaves in front of us. On this she artfully brushes/splashes coconut cream over the leaves, a la Jackson Pollock style (think Blue Poles in white paint and edible too!), followed by two dollops of passion fruit and mulberry foam with shredded coconut, rice puffs and crumbled white chocolate pieces.
This is then followed by a container filled with dry ice, on top of which is a chocolate sphere, at which point she throws the chocolate sphere onto the banana leaves and smashes it into pieces, giving you an instant feeling that you have just had water thrown all over you, but of course, this is just dry ice, so you are actually still dry. Hidden inside the sphere is a crepe coconut soufflé, you are left with broken bits of chocolate and soufflé seemingly emitting vapours. This is pure theatricality that also tastes amazing as it looks. Delicious with a capital D and the Broken Bucket dessert is served!
As if that weren’t enough, out came the petit fours of fairy floss, marshmallows aided by a small glass of Digestif – a homemade Thai rum to finish to this culinary journey was much more than we had expected. Presentation is all when it comes to creating that ‘WOW’ element and yet not forgetting the basic – The taste good factor. Issaya Siamese Club has certainly gone beyond the superficial and completely immerses you in authentic flavours with a twist that dance on the tongue and make you feel very happy to be in that moment. Issaya Siamese Club is the feel good place not to be missed by any foodie of note, as Chef Kittichai has so much to say on his amazing menu that delights and surprises at once.
Tried & Tested:
Design & Decor: 4/5
Food & Beverages: 4.5/5
Value For Money: 4/5
Mussaman GaeDrop Bucket Dessert
Chuea Phloeng Road
Thung Maha Mek, Sathon
Tel: +866 2672 9040
Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated.