I’ve always been a huge lover of Thai food, my usual go to was Thai Square which is more your everyday, average priced dining. When I was invited along to Nipa Thai in The Lancaster Hotel, I was excited to get a taste of Thai food at luxury standards. Calling up Emma from Adventures of a London Kiwi, to see if she wanted to join for a Friday date night & good catch up.
The Lancaster Hotel is a beautiful hotel set right to the stunning grounds on Hyde Park, near the Italian Gardens. Most of the different rooms and event spaces’ windows back out onto the park, so you’re guaranteed a serene view whilst staying or dining at this lux hotel. I’m no stranger to the Lancaster Hotel, but the last time I was there was at the #LDNBloggersTea where Chef Ben put on quite a show for us.
Chef Ben got in touch with us whilst we were there, but sadly he missed us as we were too busy chatting to check our Twitter notifications, but still a lovely intention.
Nipa Thai is nothing but authentic and beautifully decorated. As I walked into the restaurant I was pleasantly surprised, I felt like I was in Thailand for a split second. The waitresses and waiters wore traditional dress which was a lovely touch, not to mention how welcoming they were too.
After we were both seated, some prawn crackers were brought over with sweet chilli dip and an amuse bouche of vegetarian summer rolls. Yum!
The prawn crackers had a touch of spice that I really loved and had more of a prawn infusion that crackers i’ve had in the past. It was amazing. The light rice wrapper enabled you to taste the crunchy vegetables within the roll getting the full flavour with the sweet chilli sauce following behind.
Emma and I had the Friday feeling like no other, so we decided to go all out and have a bottle of bubbly to accompany our meal. Laurent Perrier was a no brainer, one of the finest champagnes there is served in most luxury restaurants.
So we raised our glasses, to reaching Friday in one piece and the start of what was going to be a busy yet fun weekend for the both of us.
Sipping at our champagne, we studied the menus as to what we should order. Our waitresses kindly suggested the platter of starters that were suggested by the chef.
The platter included Satay Kai (often known as satay chicken) accompanied by a beautiful peanut sauce and cucumber relish, Tod Mun Pla which is a Thai fish cake, Toong Ngern Yuang which is a crispy fried prawn dumpling with a sweet chilli sauce and Por Pia Pod which is spring rolls with glass noodles cabbage, crab meat served with a sticky plum sauce.
Even though i’m not usually a fan of seafood, the spring rolls and dumplings were exceptionally delicious. However, the fish cakes weren’t to my taste – a tad too chewy and had was overpoweringly fishy. The satay chicken went down a treat though, as it is one of my favourite Thai starters and was just cooked and marinated to perfection.
The inner kiwi in Emma was intrigued to try the Thai take on sweetcorn fritters, but I soon learnt that sweetcorn fritters are very popular in New Zealand often consumed at brunch the same way that eggs Benedict is served in England. However, the Thai take was slightly different to the kiwi version – apparently they are a lot thicker and often the size of American pancakes. Nonetheless, scrumptious – the subtle lemongrass within the fritters gave a nice Asian fusion touch.
I was already quite full from the array of starters that we had, but the mains were just perfect. Light, fresh, spicy and divine.
Emma ordered Nor Mia Fa Rang Phad Hoy Shell (wow, what a mouthful!) which is stir fried asparagus with fresh scallops and I went in for one of my other Thai favourites, Kaeng Kiew Warn Kai a coconut milk based green curry with baby aubergines. I had a little taste of the asparagus, which had a nice light and simple flavour that just worked really well for the dish. The green curry was extraordinary! Hot and spicy, that warmed your cockles. It would be a perfect dish for a cold winters day, but it worked equally as well for a slightly overcast summers day.
We accompanied our dishes with steamed jasmine rice and egg fried brown rice that just hit the spot.
After our plates were cleared, we were brought over hot hand towels. One of my favourite ways of refreshing during a meal, it is just a shame not many restaurants offer it these days. The only other time i’ve had this kind of service was at Yasmeen. However, this definitely is one of the reasons Nipa Thai is a two AA rosette restaurant – the service along with the food is spot on.
The dessert menu was definitely the most exciting part though. There was a good range of exotic choices that definitely made it hard to pick, but Emma decided on the deep fried ice-cream covered in chocolate sauce. A really cool concept and it made for an equally instagramable picture too!
Where as I went for something a bit more traditional, which was coconut ice-cream with grated coconut inside served in a coconut shell. If you love coconut, this is a dessert for you. It was unbelievably flavoursome. I would happily go back to Nipa Thai again just to have it again.
Hats off to Nipa Thai! Very hospitable, cheerful, knowledgeable and helpful staff that really know what Thai food lovers want from a meal. I think Nipa Thai is going to be my new go to Thai restaurant as I don’t think the food can get any better than this.
Until next time…