There are many ways to show authenticity of a cuisine. I’m not just talking about serving in a traditional way and displaying cultural items while having a modern sitting.
I’m referring to actually feeling like your at the place of origin being served street food and tea without the fancy high-class living and feel of a metropolitan city. This restaurant has won the award for “Best Thai” at the Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards in association with Dubai Food Festival.
Restaurant Name: Café Isan
Location: Cluster B, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai
Café Isan has got to be an absolute pleasure for those who are either from Thailand or for those who want to experience what true Thai cuisine tastes like, from Isan specifically. For those of you who do not know about the region of Isan, it is the largest region of Thailand consisting of 20 provinces.
Fun Fact: The Songkran Water Festival (Thai New Year), which starts 13 April and lasts a few days, sometimes longer. Songkran is the famous festival which sprays water on everyone, from young to old and even police officers. It is celebrated all over Thailand and also of course around Isans all cities and villages.
The four-star rating is very well deserved due to the fact that I felt the authenticity throughout my experience. From the store front, to the inconsistency of plates, tables and chairs, to the fostered cats sitting on the various pallets and cycles, this clearly had me forget I was in the modern city of Dubai. What makes this place even more humble and gave me a positive vibe was the fact that the founders of this café were serving and entertaining the clients themselves. Now that is rare to see in Dubai! So hats off to the beautiful women behind this fantastic café.
There was a selection of two cold soothing and sweet tea beverages.
Fresh Iced Lemon Tea
Just to my liking; Sweet, Calming, and a brilliant after taste!
Thai Iced Tea
Perfectly sweetened while giving it a comforting and rich flavour.
Pricing wise, the drinks were pretty good, keeping in mind that they are served in a large metal mug. The drinks are basically never ending, I mean literally, finishing the drinks took a very long time and even towards the end there was still heaps of it left.
The Main Course
Not the most spiciest food around but hands down they did a brilliant job with the taste. The food felt like it was made from the heart and not for commercial purposes. Initially, I was skeptical when I saw the presentation, but when I bit into the scrumptious delicacies, I realised this is how street food is meant to be.
Grilled Satay [Chicken]
Very easy to chew, easy to eat from the stick, and not messy at all. A very appetising unique taste. Great texture that is nicely complimented with the coriander. A light meal to eat.
Laab Gai Chicken Salad
A bit spicy but simple and incredible! Brilliant blend of coriander, chicken pieces, onions, and mint. Light on the stomach
Chicken & Cashew Nuts
Fantastic texture, and brilliant serving. Although, the outer part of the dish is flavourful but the inner part was plain and slightly bland. Eating with the cashew helped increase the taste.
Nua Dad Deow – Beef
Plain flavoured but with a good texture on the inside. It was well cooked. A little hard though, but with a large serving. Could have been a little more spicy.
Khao Pad Fried Rice [Chicken]
Very well textured, incredible taste, but a lot of salt, the chicken detoriates very easily without an after taste. Could be more flavourful, but overall a superb dish with the egg served on top.
The cost for the main course is pretty affordable considering the location [JLT] and the fact that you have an authentic experience, brilliant waterfront view, and tons of positive vibes happening.
Overall, the entire experience was incredible! From the moment we sat to the time we got served, till the time we left, everything was exceptional. The only suggestion I would make is that some dishes could have had a bit more spices. Despite that, everything was pleasant and the experience of trying these wonderful new dishes was impressive.
These two gorgeous ladies are amongst the most friendliest and delightful people I have met. Hard working individuals with such positive energy and big smiles. There is no place more satisfying to eat than at the place where you are treated with such respect and politeness. The founders have worked exceptionally well by complimenting one another in many ways. One is the mastermind behind the dishes and the other is the front face that represents their adorable café. I would call them, “a power team”.
What are your views? Let me know your experience with Café Isan.
P.S mention my name and the blog when you visit to unveil a surprise!