Venue: Isaan, Grand Hyatt
Location: West Bay (Opposite Lagoona Mall)
Eating Occasion: Dinner
Cuisine Type: Thai
Cheap and Cheerful Mid Range Expensive
Highchair Available: Yes, they also provide kiddie crockery too. Plates, bowls, cups, spoons and forks. I was SO impressed by this. Huge mummy points.
Changing Facilities: Not in the restrooms in the restaurant itself, but they do have a restroom just around the corner in the lobby, with changing facilities and spacious seating area.
Private Dining: Yes
Family Section: Yes
Smoking/Non Smoking: Non smoking section and smoking section.
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Timings: 7.00pm – 11.30pm
Contact Number: 4448 1250
Isaan is my absolute favourite restaurant in Doha for so many reasons. I just love, love, LOVE the food, they are so great at catering for Tara, the staff are so lovely and attentive, the ambience is just great and they have the most amazing mangojito!!!
The entrance to Isaan is nice and open, they have a small bar and seating area where you can enjoy drink or two before sitting down to eat. What I love about this part of the restaurant is how open it is to the lobby area, yet evidently still part of Isaan. As a mummy, I love the fact that I can enjoy a drink (responsibly) and let Tara have a run around without making her feel restricted. The more she runs around, the easier is to keep her seated for when we eat (strictly speaking this sentence is a lot more challenged in practice)!
The restaurant itself is just mummy heaven, they have curtained family sections, set back from the main seating area. This is perfect for families with younger napping babies and noise conscious parents. The number of times I wanted to tell the person next to me to shut up because Tara was sleeping when we were out. No offence intended to our completely innocent next door diner, it’s just my inner mummy monster! It’s also a perfect area for those seeking more privacy for breastfeeding.
The flooring is wooden with these huge lovely soft cream rugs, when Tara was crawling this was heaven to my eyes. At this stage as some of you will know, containing that bubba in one spot is virtually impossible for an entire evening. We’d often visit on a weekday evening, pick a quiet spot and let Tara have a little crawl about (by our table not the entire restaurant!).
The ambience of the place is so calming and enticing. There are three food stations around the restaurant with open visibility of chefs cooking. The sight of fresh food, instantly opens up those tastebuds, ready to tuck in to the amazing flavours scenting the room. The fresh vegetables and fruit are also heaven to babies. We usually take Tara for a walk around the different stations and she just loves looking at all the brightly coloured, beautifully presented food bowls. At this stage to her, everything is either an “aaa-pu” (apple) or a “na-naa” (banana).
The food set up itself is great, it’s like Thai tapas, there are no starters or mains, I personally love this concept. You just simply order a bunch of dishes and tuck right in. They provide complimentary jasmine rice to accompany your orders, your waitress comes around to serve it from a beautiful Thai basket.
You may be thinking, the food would be too spicy for the little ones. For Tara, we always get plain minced chicken, she has this with jasmine rice, then we order her some dragon fruit for dessert.
On this particular occasion, I was invited to attend a food tasting evening to try out some new dishes added to their menu:
First up, were these rice balls – I’m not exactly sure what they were called but Isaan will typically serve up a complimentary taster before your order arrives. They were light, crispy and delicately sweet with tamarind – very yummy indeed.
From the salad section of the menu, we were served Nam Tok Pla Thod. The cripsy fish was moistly soft from the spicy onion dressing. This is definitely a dish I’d recommend and order again myself.
Mieng Pla Thod was the second serve from the salad section: The deep fried sea bass was delicious and chunky with a think crispy coating. The peanuts in the dish added a great texture and as with anything thai, the kick from the spice was a must. I didn’t realise, that the sea bass was supposed to be eaten wrapped in the betel leaves served on the plate. They weren’t bad, but I preferred it without. I’d order one or the other, from these first two selections when I dine here next.
From the soup section, we were served Kaeng Leang Goong. This spicy vegetable soup was bursting with flavour, without all the guilt of the calories. A great option for a healthy pick. When you sip the soup itself, it’s warm from spices and ginger. The vegetables are nicely crunchy and the shrimps are good in size and delicious in taste.
From the wok part of the menu, we had the Pad Si-eiw. It was a plate of wok fried noodles, with shrimps and vegetables. Whilst they were flavoursome and tasty, personally I prefer pad thai over this particular dish. As Tara gets older, I’d maybe pick this for her.
The Nuea Pad Prik Kra-tiem is one of my favourite dishes at Isaan. Stir fried beef in a chilli garlic sauce with sweet basil. This dish with the jasmine rice is just amazing. I highly recommend – if you can handle the spice.
From the curries we were served the Panang Gai. This is Amrit’s go to curry order, I usually switch between this and the beef massaman. The Panang curry is typical with everything you’d expect from this dish, gentle on the spice, creamy coconut flavour, succulent chicken:
From the chargrilled part of the menu we were served Mak Nuea Yang I hadn’t tried this dish before and think it’s one of their new additions. OMG it was just amazing, the beef just melted in your mouth, chargrilled along the outside and quietly pink in the middle. It was so flavoursome, that I needed nothing else to accompany the dish and spoil the taste:
The desserts were both new additions, Kha-Nom Thuay, which was steamed rice flour and coconut milk pudding. Unfortunately I did not enjoy this dish at all. The consistency was really odd and whilst I tasted a hint of coconut milk, it was quite flavourless and not what I expect from a dessert.
The second dessert was Khao Niew Sang Ka-Yha, unfortunately again this was a fail for me, the sticky rice was nice, but the egg custard was not good. It was basically like having scrambled egg on sweet rice – odd and not my idea of a dessert. I wouldn’t order this myself but if you’re brave enough give it a whirl.
This is my most frequently visited restaurant in Doha and I highly recommend you give it a try – there are other desserts on offer. They also do Thai influenced cocktails/mocktails and have a great wine list too.