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Croatian Masterchef winner Nikola Lesar opens Issara restaurant in Phuket

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Issara restaurant is the latest brainchild of 2012 Croatian Masterchef winner Nikola Lesar. Born from the commitment to contribute to Phuket’s changing food scene, Issara champions local produce and aims to bring more experimental flavours to Phuket’s culinary values.

Inspired by Thai flavours and the informal Japanese concept of izakaya, where dishes are designed to be shared, this provides an authentic yet not entirely traditional dining experience. The menu is reflective of Chef Nikola’s admiration for the passion, innovation and authenticity of Thai and South East Asian cuisine. By combining handpicked local produce with exotic Southern Thai flavours and Japanese accents, each carefully curated dish showcases the best ingredients the island has to offer.

Chef Nikolar Lesar

True to the brand concept of ‘Issara’ meaning ‘Freedom’ in Thai, Chef Nikola incorporates tastes and European cooking techniques to his signature dishes: spicy tuna tartare with avocado, ikura and wonton nachos, crab cakes with Penang curry, barracuda teriyaki with shitake chestnut risotto, and chilli crab tagliatelle carbonara.

Issara’s bar offering also promises to deliver a stylish, well-considered experience. Pairing perfectly with Chef Nikola’s contemporary cuisine is a drinks programme that will include heritage cocktails and a comprehensive list of organic wines.

Located at Kata Noi, adjacent to Kata Gardens, Issara is open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Sunday, from 13.30 to 23.00. Kitchen closes at 22.00. For reservations please call +66 (0) 76 604 296.

Watermelon shrimp mint island (left), katsu chicken Hokkien stirfry (right)