Cafe Isan.

OK, you guessed it, it’s a food post again. I honestly can’t help myself. Food makes me happy! It brings people together, it warms you up, fills you up, gives you that satisfied, content, dopey smile that you only get after a truly scrummy meal. And this meal truly was scrummy. 

Just across the lake from where we live there is a little Thai joint called Cafe Isan. Jake and I walk past this place daily when we’re walking Pika and I always gaze in longingly through the window.

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The allure of this place is three fold. First and foremost – the food. There’s something so special, so unique and fresh about the food here. Although I have visited Thailand, it was sadly only a fleeting, four day visit. Day four of which was spent mostly on a train bound for Kuala Lumpur. So I can’t claim to be an expert on the food, but even after that very brief visit I know the food at Cafe Isan is legit.

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Secondly, there’s the decor. Mismatched tiles on the floor, a tower of cinder blocks in the middle of the room, plants hanging from the ceiling, and not to mention the bicycle in the bathroom. Cafe Isan oozes cool.

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Last, and by absolutely no means least, is the staff. In a city where everything is ‘go go go!’ all the time, where very few people even have time for a smile when you pass them in the street, the folks at Cafe Isan somehow manage to make you feel like a long lost friend and the guest of honour all at the same time. Happy faces and friendly conversation is all just part of the deal when you grab a seat here.

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The beauty of eating with three other people is getting to try more dishes.

For starters we had…

Poh Plaa Pak (crispy spring rolls) because you can’t go here and not have these, Nam Nua Isan Beef Sausage, Gai Jor (this one was mine, and a mighty fine choice I might add) on the menu it’s described as ‘street style deep fried chicken rolls’… they were kind of a Thai version of chicken nuggets, but way, way better. And, Lab Gai Tod Cakes which were the stand out winner – the flavours from the kaffir lime and lemongrass really make this dish something special. I don’t know who invented this, but hats off to you!

Apologies for the photos of half eaten food, I may have gotten a little too excited before remembering to pick up my camera…

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Sadly, for the mains they had run out of Massaman and Penang curry – Jake’s little bearded face fell when he heard the words ‘Sorry, we’re out of Penang’. But it’s just the risk you take when you eat somewhere that makes everything from scratch, and I respect that. All was not lost though because the menu is bursting with drool inducing dishes.

Jake, James and I all opted for the Kra Pao, I had Nua (beef) and the boys had Gal (chicken). Wok fried with Thai hot basil, green beans and red onion in a light soy and garlic sauce. Perfection on a plate. Lydia went for the Keow Wan Gal, Thai Green curry with chicken. I had this last time and can 100% vouch for it’s deliciousness.

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Ooo, did I mention I had a fresh coconut straight outta the fridge? That was a treat and a half.

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If you live in Dubai and haven’t yet been to Cafe Isan, there’s no time like the present! Check it out for yourself here, they’re open 12 – 12 over Ramadan so no excuses.

Until next time!

 

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