So as I’m writing this, I’m craving chicken pad thai (£10.95) from Patara like a crazy person. I can get a little (okay, a lot) obsessive over food but Pad Thai is the one thing that gets my cravings going like nothing else. I’m not sure if it’s the attention to detail in the restaurant or the mixture of the flavours and the crunchiness of the peanuts but something in that dish keeps me coming back for more. Quite frankly, it’s addictive.
And as usual I forgot my camera which meant that my iPhone pictures definitely didn’t do the amazing food justice. However, read on to hear about Patara Thai and my thoughts on this jewel of a restaurant in Soho.
Patara Thai - Soho: Sirloin with basil green curry sauce & chicken pad thai
Patara Thai is a restaurant with a bit of a pedigree. The brand has been around since the 1990s but the Soho branch was the last to open in 2004 and is the flagship for the brand. Patara is also international - They have branches in the Far East and are recognised as leaders in Thai cuisine by Zagat and Hardens. In short, they’ve done well and it’s not hard to see why once you walk into the cool, contemporary entrance on Greek Street, just across from the fabulous l’Escargot.
The staff are superb. They’re always to hand, pouring wine and water and making sure every detail of your visit is just right. This might be because on the weekends they’re busy and have a quick turnaround but on a weekday it’s a little quieter and there’s more time for you to sit back, relax and enjoy the menu. This time I went with two friends for a catch-up and we were well looked after… Next time I’m going to persuade more people to come with so I can taste a few more dishes.
So the food. What was there? The menu features a lot of what I would call ‘haute Thai’. It’s not your usual Thai fare and the prices do reflect that but I don’t think it’s overly expensive for what it is. My favourite is the nua yang pad kiew wan or, in English, Aberdeen Angust beef sirloin glazed in basil green curry sauce (£16.95). Yum. I paired this with the chicken pad thai and had a jasmine tea to wash it down with. The portions are a good size and I wasn’t that hungry so I didn’t have a starter though the steamed dumplings (£6.75) are always a good shout.
My friends had some amazing dishes too. One had a tender lamb shank in a red coconut curry with kaffir lime leaves (£15.25) and the other had a red coconut curry with beef and aubergine (£14.75). It’s worth mentioning that they really do red meat well here which is a blessing considering a lot of Asian restaurants tend to overcook the beef and lamb dishes until the meat is tough and nearly inedible. I’d definitely recommend the lamb shank to anybody, it was so so tender and basically fell off the bone. Not something I would ever have expected and yet it works really well with the spices.
Patara Thai - Soho: Jasmine flower tea
So what was the damage in the end? With a bottle of wine and that pesky 12.5% service charge on top, it worked out at £30/head for everybody. It’s not the cheapest Thai in the world but it’s not trying to be. Upscale but authentic is what it says on its website and I’d say it certainly fulfills both briefs.
Address: Patara Thai, 15 Greek Street, W1D 4DP
Telephone: 020 7437 1071