On Friday, most of the office went on a team building in Knokke while the marketing team was left in Brussels, an occasion for us to get together and to enjoy a delicious lunch at Issan, a Thai restaurant in Ixelles.
We struggled to decide where to eat after the "fiasco" at Kokuban, we really didn't want to be disappointed again. We checked our option: Tom Yam, Apocalypse, Exodus, Chez Fleur, Cao but Issan really stood out. We had not yet been so we didn't have yet an opinion, it looked authentic and reviews were good. So around noon, we drove to Ixelles and parked in front of Issan, rue des saisons (not too far from Menma actually).
Issan only had 2 tables occupied when we arrived so we chose a spot for the 4 of us and sat down. The restaurant had a lovely decoration with a lot of Asian touches (without overdoing it) like Buddha statues, paintings, a gong, etc. The atmosphere was peaceful and I think we all liked it, even the table set up actually! We received the menu and read it quickly but we were all more or less already decided, the lunch menu seemed really good!
Everyday Issan offers 2 lunch options to choose from, one at 10€ and one at 12€. That Friday the lunch was composed of skewers (chicken or pork) and either a green curry or sauteed shrimps with ginger. 3 of us took the chicken skewers and curry and I took the pork skewers and the shrimps. I didn't know what to expect but the smell coming from the kitchen was mouth watering. Additionally, people just kept coming in to eat at Issan which can be a good sign.
The drinks arrived, well presented and looking interesting, the girls took a coconut water and an apero (I just had my usual water haha). We snacked on chips while discussing the nice decoration of the restaurant and what we would be doing that afternoon. It didn't take long for our skewers to arrive, 2 per person, smelling delicious!
We dug in and were all very happy with our choices! The meat was tender and juicy, the sauce coating each piece was really tasty and a bit thick so it didn't drip easily (a plus for some of us who wore a white top!). This plate was small but perfect to get started! More might have been too much actually...
Not long after we finished our starters, the main course arrived. It was also well dressed, the portion size was perfect for small/regular eaters and again it smelled so good! From the looks of it, the curry seemed a bit too watery but taste wise it was right although a bit spicy for my taste. As for my shrimps, I was happy to see a bunch of them mixed with veggies and big chunks of ginger! They're not lying when they say sauteed shrimps with ginger ;)
All the girls finished their plate...As well as the hot sauce pot on our table, they do like to eat spicy! I also finished my plate and was full. I liked that the shrimps were cooked enough (it's not always the case at restaurants!), that the veggies were still a bit crispy and that the sauce had a strong gingery taste...And the ginger chunks were a bonus, I like to snack on cooked ginger, it has such a nice flavor without being too aggressive (like raw ginger is).
We did not order dessert because we were full and planning to stop at Garcia on our way back to the office, we craved some fresh Pastel de Nata and other Portuguese sweet pastries!
Overall the lunch was really enjoyable and went by so fast! I would definitely recommend to visit Issan for a lunch if you feel like eating Asian on a budget, 10€ - 12€ is a good bargain for the food that you get, plus it tastes quite good! Additionally the staff was nice although not too present (absolutely not pushy) which was fine.
After this lunch, I am eager to come back to try a few more things on the menu like the Lao dishes which sound quite interesting. I would also be curious to test the Pad Thai, it is a simple dish but it tells you immediately if the restaurant cooks indeed Thai food or a derived version...I have rarely found in Brussels a restaurant able to cook a similar Pad Thai to the ones I've had in Thailand for years...
To be continued!