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Wednesday, 7 September 2011

London Restaurant Reviews – Patara (Thai Fine-Dining in Soho)

is an upmarket international group of nine restaurants scattered from Vienna to Beijing, a flagship unit in Bangkok and four branches in London. It has received much recognition in its home country as one of Thailand’s finest eating establishments, and in London, reviews have also been largely positive. So it was time Dr G and I headed to the group’s latest addition on Soho’s Greek Street to find out more.

The restaurant was designed by the architect responsible for Indian restaurant Benares – it looks elegant with plenty of dark teak wood, natural stone on the walls, soothing lighting, and beautiful wooden carvings including a model Thai temple as a centrepiece.

Near the entrance, there is a bar area with various tables where diners can enjoy cocktails or other drinks before moving on to the dining room. Cocktails are surprisingly well priced for Soho with most costing around £7. We ordered a couple of Martinis @ £7.10 each, a Lemongrass one for Dr G and an Espresso Martini for me. These were both well made, deliciously flavoured and refreshing.

The menu read well and with so many interesting options it was difficult to make our choices. I tend to grossly over-order while Dr G, much more sensible and about two stones lighter, is always trying to stop me. After much deliberation, we made up our minds – a selection of salad, curries, stir-fries, vegetables and rice.

We started with “Poached King Scallops in Spicy Lime and Chilli Vinaigrette with Lemongrass, Mint and Shallot” @ £8.50 and “Fried Honey Marinated Gressingham Duck Breast in Fresh Pandan Leaf” @ £8.25. These were both good but the scallops had the edge – beautifully presented, and with a delicious zing from the lime and chillies, they tasted fresh and were large and meaty.

The “Green Mango Salad with Crispy Thai Soft Shell Crab” @ £8.95 was also excellent; we particularly liked the addition of crispy soft shell crab to an otherwise simple salad.

The best main course in my opinion was one of their signature dishes “Slow Braised Beef in Aromatic Coconut Reduction with Fresh Lime, Lemongrass and Chilli” @ £14.25 – the beef was very tender and tasted sweet in the rich coconut reduction. The sweetness was well balanced by the refreshing acidity from the limes and lemongrass, a perfect combination of flavours.

The “Seafood Sautéed in Piquant Chilli Sauce with Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime” @ £16.25 was a generous platter of fat mussels, deliciously tender scallops, prawns and squid fried in a lightly spicy sauce, the flavours lifted by the addition of chillies and Thai basil.

I somehow managed to refrain from ordering Thai Green Curry on this occasion, opting instead for Patara’s “Grilled Aberdeen Angus Beef Sirloin in Basil Green Curry Sauce” @ £16.95, and was pleased that I did. The meat was sensationally tender and tasted like beef of the highest quality. The basil green curry was deliciously fragrant and less fiery than many others I have tried.

We also enjoyed the "Lamb Shank in Paneang Red Curry" @ £15.25 - I had never tried lamb in Thailand but thought that the combination of this type of meat with the rich, aromatic Paneang curry worked very well together. The meat was slow-cooked to perfection and was falling off the bone.

A Thai meal would not be complete without a plate of morning glory and some steamed rice - Patara's "Chinese Water Spinach with Chilli and Garlic" @ £6.50 was delicious as was the beautifully presented "Sticky Rice" (steamed glutinous rice) @ £2.50.

To accompany our meal, we had a bottle of 09 Albarino from Serra das Estrelas, Rias Baixas @ £28.60, that had good fruit concentration with hints of melon and crisp acidity. The wine list is not extensive but we felt that the choices on offer were good matches to the cuisine. I was also pleasantly surprised to see quite a few affordable options with bottles of white, rosé and red below £20.

For dessert, I had "Coconut Sweet Rice with Fragrant Sweet Thai Mango" @ £7.10 while Dr G opted for "Sticky Rice Pudding served with Seasonal fresh Berries, Vanilla Ice Cream and Palm Sugar Sauce" @ £7.10. We loved the presentation of the dishes and despite being rather full by then, we thoroughly enjoyed both desserts.

I was very impressed by the quality of the ingredients used at Patara, for the more delicate and sophisticated flavours of its dishes and for the well thought out and reasonably priced wine list. Patara is somewhat more expensive than many other Thai restaurants in London, but judging by my recent visit, I believe this is more than compensated by the superior quality of the ingredients and cooking skills.

Cost: A Thai meal (soup, curry, stir-fry, salad, rice, vegetable, and dessert) will cost around £40 per person (excluding drinks) based on two people sharing.

Likes: the star dish was the slow braised beef in coconut reduction (highly recommended), good attentive service, excellent quality ingredients particularly the seafood and fruit, the 09 Albarino was the perfect wine for the food we ate. Elegant décor.

Dislikes: None.

Verdict: Sophisticated Thai dishes at reasonable prices in Central London locations. Elegant décor. Good service, excellent quality ingredients and highly skilled chefs. I will return. Highly recommended.


  1. It looks very good Luiz. And that rice is beautiful.

    How does it compare to the Blue Elephant?

  2. I'm naturally wary of places like this but I couldn't fault Patara when I went. It isn't cheap but it is good. I was particularly impressed by the spicing, which was quite full on and uncompromising!

  3. Seems like another Thai place that I should try...and that rice presentation is just eye catching!

  4. I have been very disappointed by Thai restaurants in London but of them all I have to say Patara is my favourite. Some unusual dishes but all very tasty. Worth the extra £ as you say.

  5. Patara is one of the best Thai Restaurant followed by Thai square at trafalgar square in my opinion. The food is so delicious and authenthic and the service is always really good.

  6. got take away for todays lunch and Love it :)


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