It was A’s turn to organise date night last week and she decided on Itsara Thai restaurant with a surprise after (dessert at the lovely Koko Black in Claremont). Itsara was chosen after she’d heard it was worth a visit from a few colleagues at work.
On arrival, we noticed that it was BYO only for alcoholic beverages. We decided to enquire first if they had a table for two and then venture to the nearest bottle-o. The man we saw, who wore a cap backwards and I think was the manager, seemed confident that a table would be available. We asked directions for the nearest bottle-o and off we went.
On our return, the same man in the backwards cap greeted us at the back entry. My partner lifted the sixpack to signal that we were back, ready for our table. He seemed to have no idea who we were and what we were doing there (keep in mind that we had only been gone for 20 minutes – max). The restaurant was still empty at this time and A asked if there was a table for two. He then took us to the counter at the front but got distracted on this short journey. We then stood at the counter, waiting for him to finish talking to one of the waitresses when another male jumped in to help us. As he was looking in the book, a third male jumped into the mix and ended up signalling to one of the closest tables. By the time the guy looking in the book had organised a table, we were already seated and ordering water. The guy in the hat had already moved behind the bar and he seemingly forgot us again.
The venue is quite pretty aesthetically and the back garden setting would be lovely in Summer. The main inside area is one room, probably as big as your lounge room. The tables aren’t close together however they are set out weirdly. There are big tables on the side then tables of two in the middle. We were seated in the middle, which felt a bit awkward and was quite close to the counter area.
We decided to skip entrees and get one noodle dish and a curry to share between us. We were both craving Pad Thai, so that was an easy choice and I decided to get the Green Curry with Chicken.
The Green Curry had lots of fresh ingredients that I like, such as herbs and fresh chilli. The meal was nice but was pretty basic. I felt that the Green Curry wasn’t balanced in regards to being sweet, sour, salty and spicy. The plate at the end was covered in oil and it was pretty pathetic for the $25.50 price tag.
The Pad Thai was disastrous. Really and truly the worst Pad Thai I’ve ever had and I forked out $23.50 for a small helping of noodles. The prawns were overcooked and were flavourless. The noodles were gluggy and stuck together. The dish was overpoweringly sweet. It was as if it was dripping cane sugar. The overall result was not pleasant at all. Even after sharing these two dishes I was completed dissatisfied due to the serving size and food quality.
And then there was the service. The service for the whole night was absolutely shocking. I don’t know how six waiters can screw around so much in that tiny room. We didn’t have a consistent waiter and the flow was so disjointed and annoying, as you constantly had to tell your different waiters what stage you were up to. It irked me when a waiter tried to take a dish from the middle of the table when we were both still eating. Yes, it was empty – but leave us in peace while we are eating! This is just one of my pet peeves in service unfortunately and overall we ended up bolting as soon as we ate as the experience wasn’t worth sitting there. Plus we were probably getting charged for the space we were taking up, as somehow the bill ended up being $60.
I hate writing bad reviews. Really, I do. After venturing here to Itsara, I said to A how disappointed I was that another one needs to be written.
To say this plainly – I really disliked Itsara. From the amazingly overpriced food, to the small sizing, to the annoying service – Itsara was a displeasing venture. I wouldn’t return, as there are so many better Thai restaurants around that don’t cost this crazy amount that provide better food and service.