Tantalising Thai At Nipa, Lancaster Gate

05 Oct 2016

Thai food is having a bit of a renaissance in London.  We’ve got restaurants popping up promising the real deal Thai or market stalls offering the most authentic taste you could find.  And there’s a place for all of it – the independents, the innovators and the originators.  Case in point: Nipa Restaurant in the Lancaster London Hotel.

Strutting its fine Thai stuff for near enough two decades, Nipa lays claim to some of the most expertly crafted Thai food in London.  Intense flavours and fresh ingredients is what Head Chef, Sanguan Parr promises and she delivers just that.  But wait, we’re not quite at the food yet!

On entering the restaurant, which smells not unpleasantly like a spa, it’s hard to resist its lavish gold hues and deep bronze wooden fixtures.  The team are attentive and friendly and you can see instantly why Nipa has maintained its status as one of the finest Thai restaurants throughout our fair city.

But for all the intoxicating scents and sights, it’s the taste we’re after.  It seems only right for a party of two to share the Ruam Mitr consisting of the chef’s selection of starters (£24).  Chicken Satay, normally reserved for those unadventurous non-spice lovers among us, steals the show here.  A sweet and tangy peanut glaze lays claim to perfectly grilled chicken skewers, which are then dunked brashly in a cucumber relish.  And speaking of sauces, a tray of sauces is presented at the table with a fanfare in its own right.  And why not?  Sauces are the real flavour accelerators after all.

The Phad Kiew Warn Ta Lay (£22) is an absolute joy to look at and to eat greedily.  Mixed seafood and Thai aubergine in a spicy and rich green coconut curry may sound like every Thai you’ve ever had before, but this is far from it.  Absolutely packed with chilli heat and a selection of seafood cooked so tenderly it’s almost impossible to believe, this is an exemplary example of why Nipa is renowned for its finesse and delicacy.

A slight mix up in desserts meant that we were given Cake Kluay Horm (£9) or banana pudding instead of the pineapple variety we ordered, but who’s going to complain about that?  The pudding itself tasted almost breakfasty in its banana punch, but it’s the banana syrup that turned this into an adult treat suitable for any time of the day.

Sometimes in London we forget how nice it is to venture out of the familiar and try something a little more upmarket.  Pop-ups and market stalls are absolutely wonderful, but you can’t argue with a tried and tested classic, especially one like Nipa which is delivering consistently vibrant, delicious plates of food and has been for so many years.  With a team that seem genuinely delighted to greet you and an array of flavours so punchy and perfectly formed, this golden restaurant deserves every jewel in its crown.

Amy

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