ISSAYA Siamese Club Brings Thai Cuisine To A Different Level of Enjoyment

Being a cosmopolitan city with a diverse food culture, Hong Kong diners have a good understanding of and are familiar with excellent quality food and now Issaya Siamese Club has been chosen as the first outpost from Bangkok’s and this Causeway Bay new & contemporary restaurant has a story to tell, mylifestylenews writes……

Issaya is an old Thai word for the rainy season. Fresh herbs, vegetable, fruit and rice flourish because of it, so homage is paid to this natural phenomenon by naming the restaurant after this beautiful season. The restaurant is the creation of the “golden poster boy” of Bangkok cooking, Chef Ian Kittichai.

All of the design ideas are based on the Issaya concept in Bangkok (although this time it is 25 floors above the ground), with all the tableware, decorations and fabrics produced in Thailand, thus providing a unique look to go with the stunning harbor view in both the restaurant and the terrace.

The whole vibe of this new outpost is a relaxed lounge concept, which is self evident on arriving on the 25th floor and it is beautifully laid out with an eclectic range of furnishings to create a wonderful space that has a Thai touches in looks.

Similarly, the menu is eclectic, while there are traditional elements, the chef has infused the classics with some modern twists and we were craving for what would come next from his menu creation in Hong Kong.

The first dish was a <Yum-Hua-Plee> - a banana blossom and heart of palm salad, with shallots and roasted peanuts in a chili jam dressing. At the very first taste, we knew we had found something special, as it reeked of authentic Thai food in every way. The combination of crunchy and soft textures from the deep fried shallot onion and banana palm was divine, with the peanuts and chili jam defining and delivering flavours that were delicate, but each were given a voice when put together. So expertly, it is truly superb dish that seems so simple yet gives so much complexity on the palate.

After such an impressive start, we were equally surprised at the next dish, <Koi Nua> a beef tenderloin tartare with Northern Thai Dried Spices, Sawtooth Coriander, poached egg yolk and chili served on a bone marrow when presented on the table. That shows how creative the chef can be above and beyond the palate and this was certainly a dish with a twist, as the sauce itself was completely different to what we expected, providing a creamy texture nixed well but no overpowering the meat. Refreshing, tangy and yet quite appetizing.

No Thai food is replete without a prawn curry, we ordered the <Kaew Warn “Like A Soup” Goong>. All the ingredients were brought to the table in multi-coloured plastic bowls – a very Thai street food presentation influenced to be cooked in front of us. The stone bowl in which everything is cooked, is pre-heated to a very hot temperature, from the beginning until you finish the last morsel in the bowl, it remains very hot in temperature all the while you are eating this dish.

The homemade Green Curry Paste “like a soup” kind of Goong is stunning itself, combining with fresh prawns, basil, kaffir lime leaves and heart of palm, it was an exotic Thai curry that didn’t miss a beat on the palate and just the right amount of spicy heat to enjoy. We looked longingly at the bowl after we finished thinking it would have been nice to have a larger portion, but the serving portions are extremely well judged to ensure you have room to enjoy what follows!

We then moved onto the <Mussamun Gae> -  a lamb shank simmered in mussaman curry and served with pickled cucumbers. The meat was incredibly tender and tasty, thanks to the slow cooked technique for hours to achieve this texture with passion, it was heaven sent. One small mouthful each time was so rich and utterly delicious that it was another dish you didn’t want to end. This is a sweet curry, but an impressive contrast to the previous dish which was more a hot and spicy curry, it is an opposite ends of the curry spectrum, but each delivering a rich satisfying flavor that was all Thai in its authenticity.

What could possibly follow such exquisite courses? None other than <Wok Sautéed Short Grain Rice with “Hed Por”> An Asian multigrains, Chiang Mai mushrooms and garlic sprinkled with mushroom-scented oil. It looked impressive in presentation and tasted equally  with wonderful nutty, crunchy texture that was refreshing after the rich sweet curry. Once again, not a typical rice dish which creates that element of surprise.

Thai desserts are something to look forward to and we thought we had hit the jackpot when the Manager started delivering an array of goodies in all shapes and forms to our table. It looked like a buffet for a royal picnic was being set up, but in actual fact, just an array of small morsels in a unique presentation. A patisserie is one of the cornerstones of their flagship club in Bangkok and they clearly intend to impress here as well.

There was a <Kanom Dokmali> A jasmine flower panna cotta served with jasmine rice ice cream and jasmine rice tuile, some egg yolk macaroons, mulberry jellies, cardamom cakes, peanut truffles and rose flavoured marshmallows.

Quite a feast for dessert and far too much to eat everything, by sampling every piece, you couldn’t help but consume every tidbit as each offering had delicate flavours evoking the key ingredient, it is rare to see mulberries being used in this region and superb in flavor. The panna cotta was silken in texture and the aroma fragrant from the jasmine flower simply mesmerized us, this is no doubt one of the best panna cotta we have had in a long while. A creative approach that had every other diner wondering what we did to deserve this and now you can have it too!

 We had a very relaxing time in this wonderful space and it was so enjoyable to see dishes being prepared at the table with such skill and knowledge so effortlessly. Each dish has a unique presentation and unique flavours that scream authentic Thai in the nicest possible way. 

The service is a little patchy still (some fine-tuning is needed from of house for such a newly opened restaurant - we were offered some cocktails which never came) but there is a lot of promise. Most importantly, the kitchen is preparing food that impresses with the balance and poise in the cooking ingredients and outcomes that are delivered to the table. Not one ingredient jarred, or made us think is it enough, as everything impressed us about authentic Thai flavours from the beginning until the end. This is a great addition to the overall dining scene in Hong Kong and now there is a chance to have superb Thai food in a fresh style of presentation – with a real twist and one that will take you beyond the classic style of cooking without sacrificing flavor in any way as well as bringing authentic Thai cuisine to brand new level of enjoyment. A must visit for all food lovers.

Tried & Tested:

Location: 3.5/5
Design & Decor: 4.5/5
Food & Beverage: 5/5
Service: 3/5
Value For Money: 4/5

Highlights :
Koi Nua
 Kaew Warn “Like A Soup” Goong
Jasmine Panna Cotta

 25/F, Soundwill Plaza II - Midtown
1 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay
Hong Kong
Tel: +852 21543048

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