Arriving at the Lancaster in London the building itself was certainly grand inside. The Nipa Thai restaurant is located on the first floor. We were politely greeted at the reception and shown to our table, which was right by a large glass window with nice views of the area.
I then had one of them moments where I sat down and couldn’t get my arm out of my coat but the lady kindly saved me before anyone really noticed. Thankfully I was with a mate and not on a hot date.
We decided to start with Tod Mun Pla (traditional thai fish cakes served with cucumber relish and toasted peanut) and Tod Mun Koong (crisp fried succulent prawn cake with plum sauce) for appetizers. Whilst we waited the waiter kindly brought us some Satay kai (char-grilled marinated chicken serviced with peanut sauce and cucumber relish) as a taster. In all honesty neither of us were overly keen on these, they were slightly too salty tasting. However we didn’t have to wait long before our appetizers arrived.
The dishes were presented well. Funnily enough we actually swapped dishes as I found the Tod Mun Pla a little to overpowering, however my friend loved these, in her words the dish was ‘very fragrant and delicious, a strong tasting appetizer with a real thai explosion in the mouth’. The Tod Mun Koong were plainer but pleasant tasting, when dipped in the plum sauce it really brought the dish to life. This suited my tamer taste buds, they were enjoying these badboys!
Next was the main and the portion sizes were enough to feed a family for a few days and take it from me, we can put some food away, but even we struggled to finish these.
So I ordered Kuey tiew phad see iew kai (wok stir-fried rice noodles with chicken and oriental greens) and my friend went for the Nor Mia Fa Rang Phad Hoy Shell (stir-fried fresh scallops with asparagus), our waiter then suggested we also try the Nuea nam mun hoy (beef with onions, mushrooms and oyster sauce) and Kao suay (thai jasmine rice). We agreed…we’d worked out in the gym that day anyway so we didn’t feel too guilty about the extra dishes.
The Nuea nam mun hoy was lovely, the beef was succulent and the veg accompanied the oyster sauce nicely. I was a little reluctant to try the scallops, my mate told me it tasted like cod…I tried it…she lied. Not to my taste, however her comments on the dish were; ‘Scallops cooked to perfection, although perhaps they needed a little more seasoning. Asparagus was lovely and the crunchy consistency was a nice contrast to the scallop’. The Kuey tiew phad see iew kai were beautiful! Ironically it was the cheapest dish out of the mains, however we both agreed it was our favourite out of the dishes so far. The chicken was cooked to perfection and the noodles were sticky and nice! We did find the Kao Suay a little dry.
My jean botton was popping at this point, but I’m a trooper so next was dessert…always my favourite part of any menu! I ordered something extra naughty Ice cream tod (deep fried ice cream topped with chocolate sauce) and my friend went for the Ice tim ka ti (coconut ice cream served in the shell). The presentation on these again was impressive and inviting. I quickly forgot I was still full.
We were writing notes throughout the evening, however both these desserts were so great tasting we completely forgot and pretty much demolished every last bit. I’m not going to lie if we weren’t sat in a 5 star restaurant we would have licked the plates. I’m sure the deep fried ice cream contained enough calories for a whole meal…but we didn’t care at that moment…I say we because my mate had one taste of mine and decided to eat half of it, so I thought it was only right to help her eat her coconut ice cream.
We ordered a bottle of Red ‘Merlot del Veneto’. It smooth with a good aroma. The atmosphere was very friendly and the staff well-mannered with speedy service. It was in fact quite lively for a Thursday evening and although a high class venue we still felt comfortable enough to play ‘funny glass face’ at the table….its where you take a picture of someone pulling a silly face through a glass, it’s the kind of thing you see kids getting told off for.
All in all it was a lovely evening, perhaps the prices were slightly overpriced however still a recommended restaurant if you’re in the Lancaster Gate area. www.niparestaurant.co.uk