When it comes to Thai food i am always ready to try new places as i am 100% sure of this particular cuisine that nothing can go wrong with it. Both me and my hubby are always at the look out for new Thai ventures in town and i must say i have almost had 90% of them in my list of BEEN THERE. I was super excited to review this small yet beautiful outlet in JLT, Cafe Isan to try the Isan food.
Café Isan is down-to-earth, vintage Thai inspired by the flavors, and distinct character of north eastern Thailand (Isan): its food, people and culture. Thai owned and managed, the restaurant brings genuine Isan, Thai food to the Middle East’s Thai community, whilst playfully re-interpreting it in a way loyal to its roots for the rest of us. More than a Thai restaurant Cafe Isan is a home from home for the UAE’s Thai community, as it was here Café Isan was born. Cafe Isan prides itself on serving only the freshest, handcrafted, delicately balanced dishes daily. We’re also committed to providing very high quality food at great prices.
The very first spotting of the place was WISH I COULD GET A HOUSE LIKE THIS!!! Beautifully done interiors with plants implanted on the ceilings, a rock brick placed at the middle of the cafe which indicates the living habit o0f the Isan community, karaoke which is their favorite music, books kept on shelves about the Thai region and lots of games on board to keep you busy with the delicious food.
To start of with the menu we were served fresh DragonFruit and Watermelon Juice, so fresh yet so refreshing. A kick start for the amazing meal over board.
Nam Nua Isan Beef Sausage, home made Isan styled minced beef, sticky rice and garlic sausage wrapped in banana leaves to locked in the flavor and then deep fried. Served with fresh chili, ginger, cucumber and raw cabbage. O WOW WHAT A DELICACY!!! The meat melted in my mouth and it left the most flavorful aroma from it. A must try at Cafe Isan.
Som Tum Thai, sliced papaya, carrot and tomato salad sprinkled with peanuts and prepared in a pestle and mortar, tossed with a slightly tangy and sweet dressing. The best part of the Salad was the peanut which has left the most flavorful taste to it. The dressing was prepared by in house which was fresh and tasted so well with the other add ons.
Om Pak, Isan styled clear curry made with a special dill, lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves, garlic and onion broth and veg. It comes with your choice of Beef, Chicken and Fish and i opted for the Chicken slices. The chicken infused with the other ingredients was perfectly cooked with the most delightful flavor and aroma. The most important thing that it tasted divine to me.
Panang Nua, the creamiest of their curries, this slow cooked dish is prepared with Prawns, coconut milk, eggplant and red chili paste. Most Thai curries are always very thick and heavy but here at Cafe Isan as the food is inspired by Isan cooking all their curries leave you with a very delicious but light and fresh aftermath.
Sticky Rice, is a type of rice grown mainly in Southeast and East Asia, which has opaque grains, very low amylose content, and is especially sticky when cooked. It is called glutinous in the sense of being glue-like or sticky, and not in the sense of containing gluten. While often called “sticky rice”, it differs from non-glutinous strains of japonica rice which also become sticky to some degree when cooked. There are numerous cultivars of glutinous rice, which include japonica, indica, and tropical japonica strains. (Information Courtesy – Wikipedia)
The Sticky Rice at cafe Isan is served in traditional Bamboo servings and it goes well with the other curries served specially with Panang Nua.
For our next round of drinks we ordered Iced Lemongrass Tea and Roselle Tea, iced tea made with hibiscus flower buds, popular in rural Thailand for reducing blood pressure. Prepared fresh with no sugar added.
Mango and Pandan Sticky Rice, Chef WaWa’s unique, Isan style version of this dessert. Fresh cuts mangoes with pandan sticky rice and served with a light flavored milk. O MY GOSH!!!Has to be in my favorite list for desserts from now.
Chocolate Spring Roll, honey drizzled chocolate spring rolls, served with vanilla ice cream and a fresh mint sprig. The star stealer of the evening, the hot chocolate rolls were bites of happiness and tasted so pure. I am definitely going back for this.
Highlights : Home Delivery,Wifi,Outdoor Seating,Private Dining Area Available
Phone number : 04 4535269 Table booking recommended
Cuisines : Seafood, Asian, Thai
Cost : AED 160 for two people (approx.) Cash and Cards accepted
Opening hours : 12 Noon to 11 PM
Address : Waterfront, Cluster M, Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT), Dubai
Owner and Executive Chef “New” started out cooking privately for Dubai’s Thai Community, who were under-represented food-wise. To her initial surprise (being self-taught) her cooking became popular, leading to the opening of Café Isan in Jan 2016, where the same home-cooked style is served.
How does Isan, Thai food differ from Thai?
In general Isan, Thai food is lighter than standard Thai – especially when it comes to curries. Soups are clear as opposed to having a coconut base, and most dishes are traditionally spicier – Thai red chilli (crushed, dried or made into pastes).
The Isan region of Thailand is 70% of the country, and is its lush rural heartland – the land of farmers, ancient temples, festivals and the birthplace of Thai funk or ‘Morlum. ‘ Its people are notoriously warm, welcoming and embrace the lighter side of life. Karaoke is another regional passion, hence Café Isan’s group karaoke table!