Saturday, March 05, 2016

Issaya Siamese Club, Hong Kong - Smoke and Mirrors

Choo-Chee Salmon Rom Kwan at Issaya Siamese Club, Hong Kong
Let me start by saying this: Issaya Siamese Club is a gorgeous looking restaurant.

The full height windows, the juicy saturated jewel tones, the neat terrace, the references to the halcyon days - the place is beautiful. I don't usually like to use press pics, but since I don't have a better one of the interiors, here's a taster:

Issaya Siamese Club, Hong Kong [source]
The food, rather sadly, is not as great as the decor, nor as all the accolades purport, and I now understand the reason why I've never been to the Bangkok original on my many trips to the city.

Making Kor Moo Yang (pork neck salad)
That's not to say it was bad - it's just that nothing stood out, and most of the time, I felt that the seasoning was heavy handed and usually too sweet (yes, okay, "authenticity" nerds, I understand sweetness is a southern Thai thing, but still, it was a lot).

Nua Sun Seaklong
I wasn't keen on the gimmicks either. Take tableside service for instance - I like the fun and drama as much as the next person, but did I really need to see every second dish made before my eyes? (Let's just say watching soup boil is no more fun than watching water). Even the server asked, boredom seeping from her every word, "should I just do it, or will you actually watch?" We stopped our conversation abruptly each time so we could be polite and watch the server make both our salads and a soup. It does say on the menu that they make it tableside, but is it really necessary to have so many tableside dishes? I guess I could have asked them to just make it in the kitchen...

There were some major blunders. The smoked salmon was an attempt at the low-temp technique but was ultimately raw in the middle, and the smoke was much too intense, creating an almost bitter edge. The video above shows how it was served, in a big poooooof. Theatre!

Kor Moo Yang
The Japan's "defence" force might be sufficiently angered by the Tao Hoo-Tod, described on the menu as a "Japanese-style silken beancurd", to declare a war. It was a messy, dense, grainy tofu, with a tough deep-fried skin to boot.

I guess the lesson I've learned here is that it's "genius" if it works on the actual, y'know, eating front, and "a gimmick" if it's just a show with no substance. (And a lesson for all of us: good restaurant food is bloody hard to make, and idiots like me are bloody hard to please.)

It's not cheap (mains are around HKD200-350) but it's not too pricey either. I hear the desserts are good (makes sense, they seem to like sugar, teehee), so I guess I'll be back one of these days for a nice cold drink on the terrace and some pudding, but the only true feasting I'll be doing here is through my eyes, on the d├ęcor.

Issaya Siamese Club
25/F, Soundview Plaza 2 - Midtown
1-29 Tang Lung Street
Causeway Bay
Hong Kong
+852 2154 3048

1 comment:

  1. Wow! These foods look luxurious and delicious. I like....:)