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Friday 14 October 2022

Eat like a Thai - in downtown Melbourne

It is a Monday night and the Melbourne CBD is close to deserted. The exception is a queue outside a small Thai restaurant on Bourke Street.

When I sit down in Isan Soul I find I am one of the few non Thais in the joint. I take that as a good sign.  

Isan Soul promises "Thai Street Food" - and it delivers. 

The food is great - and terrific value - but don't expect any airs and graces.

You order your food either by using an app, or heading to the counter, where you'll get a 5% discount for paying cash.

You'll be told you have 75 minutes to order, eat your food and depart, although I didn't see that being enforced.

Anyway, this is a place to grab a quick and tasty treat, not a venue for a long sit-down supper. 

It is bustling and engagingly chaotic with tables constantly being turned over. There are two-storeys with some quirky decor, including a real tuk-tuk.

I ordered prawn cakes with a sweet chilli dipping sauce ($8, above)), chicken, vegetable and cashew stir fry (below) for $13.90 (a sizeable serve which came spicy as ordered), some jasmine rice ($3) and a Mason jar with lemon, lime and bitters ($6).

With my discount I got away with a bill for just under $30, which was excellent value.

The menu features traditional Thai street dishes like pad Thai, pad see ewe, hot basil chicken and Thai papaya salad. There can be a hot and sour Isan kick if you like a bit of spice in your life.

My verdict: tasty, fun and affordable.

Isan Soul is at 98 Bourke St., Melbourne. Phone (03) 9654 0606.


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