I love discovering great restaurants when I’m least expecting it. Today was one of those days. I was ambling around Islington in need of refuelling, and while I wouldn’t normally pop into a Thai restaurant, Isarn had been recommended to me about 10 minutes before I entered.
The restaurant is long, black and very sleek. Each table is set perfectly with gorgeous Asian crockery and possibly the first thing to catch my eye were the cow skin seats. Cow skin isn’t usually to my taste but i have to say, they work very well. Lights dangle down to create an intimate atmosphere.
I dined outside in the small terrace area as it was a hot day and I wanted all the fresh air that I could get. Despite next door being a building site, it was very calming and a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Upper Street on a busy Monday lunchtime.
I couldn’t decide which of the set menu lunch meals to have – there are a wide range of options so when the waitress came to take my order I panicked and opted for Chicken Pad Thai. Not a problem as it is always a winner. I usually have Pad Thai Chicken and it seems to be different everywhere I go. Isarn was no exception and it delighted the tastebuds.
At first, the portion looked small but the plates were deceiving, as well as being incredibly gorgeous. The chopsticks were not of the wood kind (what you get at most Thai restaurants) and I felt more and more elegant each mouthful I took. The portion size turned out to be just perfect and I was very satisfied as soon as I had mopped up the last noodle and crunched the last beansprout.
Service at Isarn comes with a smile and the two waiting staff were very attentive and polite.
I was very interested to learn that the restaurant is owned by non other than Alan Yau’s sister, Tina Juengsoongneun (she is married to a Thai man). Interested because Busaba is one of my favourite London eateries. They certainly know how to please a customer. Isarn is the more traditional of the two but if I had to choose, Busaba would still get my vote.
I walked out feeling very calm but maybe this was due to the fact that there were only a handful of fellow diners. I’d like to go back at dinner time and see if I feel the same then.
119 Upper Street
020 7424 5153