“ISSO – Prawn Central”

Pondering whether this establishment’s name is pronounced “e-so” or I.S.S.O, we walked underneath a large neon orange sign, in to the restaurant.

ISSO offers their signature dishes such as a prawn covered biryani or “The Italian Job” – firm penne entwined with cream and tomatoes. What gives most room to experiment at ISSO is their “build your own” approach. Each customer gets to choose a base of which friendly crustacean or seafood will star in the dish. This is followed by choosing the overall flavor for the dish.

Some of the available flavors were Maldivian Musamma, Lankan Favorite and Rich and Red. We decided to go for the spiciest option available – The Northern Twist. We were told that we could have any number of sides and opted for rice, potato fries and roast paan. While the rain poured outside, kadak chai was recommended to us. “It’s really good hot or cold”, we were told.

Our entourage of steaming dishes were accompanied by crispy fried shrimp tempura. The biryani was bursting with flavors that surely stood out on their own within every bite. We only had to grab the prawns by their tails and bite into the juicy blend of spices, combining it with one of the many sides. The Northern twist was definitely spicier than we imagined, and the roast paan was gone within a few minutes. Each spice-filled bite was followed by a soothing sip of the sweet kadak chai that was recommended.

About 20 minutes later, the dishes were cleared and our tummies groaning. We cannot wait to satiate our curiosity regarding what combinations we could try next time!

Words and Photos by Jumana