Rating: ★★★★☆

Address: 25/F, Midtown Soundwill Plaza II, 1-29 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay 銅鑼灣登龍街1-29號金朝陽中心2期Midtown25樓

Telephone: 2154 3048

www.isaya.hk

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I have been wanting to try Issaya Siamese Club as soon as it opened in Hong Kong. The original outlet in Bangkok was named as one of Asia’s Best 50 Restaurants in 2015 by San Pellegrino, and with such pedigree, it is no wonder that the Causeway Bay eatery has been packed with diners since its opening.

Issaya is a truly beautiful name – it is an ancient Thai word for the rainy season, and the restaurant pays homage to this beautiful season which enables fresh herbs, vegetables, fruits and rice to grow and flourish. The Issaya Siamese Club in Hong Kong is co-founded by international celebrity Chef Ian Kittichai, who is renowned for his unique style of combining traditional Thai ingredients ingredients and flavors with international and progressive cooking methods. Organic ingredients are flown in daily from Thailand, Australia and New Zealand for the restaurant.

The Hong Kong eatery is stylish and spacious – it spans the entire floor of Midtown Soundwill Plaza II, the main dining room can seat 150 guests, and a large outdoor terrace can accommodate another 24 people. The decor is warm and inviting, in warm, colourful tines.

(1) We immediately order the pomelo salad with seared tiger prawns, hard-boiled egg and peanuts in a red chili dressing ($145) after seeing photos of the dish on Instagram. The salad is theatrically presented in a clay pot, which is then poured onto a plate when it is served at our table.

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The salad offers a range of bright, exciting flavours, and the prawns are firm and fresh.

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(2) The banana blossom and heart of palm salad, crispy shallots and roasted peanuts in a chili jam dressing ($120) is recommended by the waiter. It is indeed an inspiring dish, as not often will we be able to eat a dish that incorporates banana blossom and heart of palm. The flavours are sweet and delicious, but a tad too strong.

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(3) The “Issaya-spiced” Australian chicken, rubbed and pan-seared drizzled with a coconut turmeric sauce ($198) follows. This flaming chicken dish certainly looks exciting, but the flavours cannot match its appearance. The chicken is nicely tender, but can definitely be a tad saltier; a mild taste of liqueur lingers.

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(4) The Asian multigrains, Chiang Mai mushrooms and garlic sprinkled with mushroom-scented oil ($108), and we enjoy the dish’s chewy textures and interesting blend of flavours.

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(5) We are rather surprised when we realise that our dessert is prepared table side. The Baba soaked in Thai rum Syrup served with coconut whipped cream, fresh fruits and Pandan sauce ($118) is delicately assembled in front of us.

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The aromatic coconut cream and strands of coconut meat are a real showstopper for me, and the baba’s flavour is also well adjusted and alluring.

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(6) Last but not least, the jasmine flower panna cotta served with jasmine rice ice cream and jasmine rice tuile ($85) is served. We are totally unprepared for how explosively delicious this panna cotta turns out to be. The texture of the panna cotta is perfectly rich and creamy, just like how it should be, but it is the startlingly refreshing and alluring jasmine flavour that really wins us over. I would come back just for this dessert alone!

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One of my dining companions has visited the Bangkok outlet before, and notes that the Hong Kong outlet doesn’t fare as well as the Bangkok one. For this Hong Kong branch, I find that the main courses can be better executed, but the desserts definite exceed all expectations! We order from the à la carte menu this time as all of us are not very hungry, but next time I come, I would probably order the set dinner menu at $550 as it includes most of the restaurant’s signature dishes.