West London is one of my favourite places to go out. Selfishly, it’s mostly because I’m so close to home and I can easily walk to wherever I’m visiting.
So when it comes to finding new spots for dinner and drinks, I definitely like a good local. And following my visit to Nipa Thai, it’s safe to say that my taste in locals has now been upgraded. Big time.
Just over a month ago, I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the Lancaster London for dinner at Nipa Thai. I’d only been to the Lancaster London once before for afternoon tea, so I was genuinely looking forward to dinnertime views and indulging in delicious spices.
Nipa Thai is a quick sashay through the hotel, where it resides on the first floor, overlooking Hyde Park. It’s extravagant. It’s elegant. The decor lavishly gold and beautifully ornate. In short, it’s a beautiful restaurant.
We were greeted with warm smiles and cool glasses of champagne. I’ll take that any day of the week.
It was then that I learned that Nipa Thai boasts an all female Thai kitchen brigade. Yes, they are comprised of femme powerhouses of chefs in the kitchen. Because even while championing females is on the rise, the restaurant industry certainly has a long way to go. For example, in Britain, out of the 172 Michelin starred restaurants, only ten have female head chefs. So I was incredibly impressed to hear about Nipa Thai and how much they value their talented kitchen and fostering talent along the way.
Nipa Thai’s new Head Chef, Sanguan Parr, was born in Thailand and moved to the UK in 1984. She has been working in Nipa Thai for 16 years since starting out as an Administrative Chef, and later working as Sous Chef for the past 6 years before voilà, becoming head chef. The restaurant service itself is overseen by Nipa Thai’s Restaurant Manager, Kaseam Jongpitakrat. I *think* he’s the one who looked after us throughout the night – and he was brilliant as well.
Back to the food then shall we? Because after learning about their kitchen, I was ready to dive right in. Before ordering a thing, small lettuce wraps arrived, and much to my delight, my favourite, prawn crackers.
We were in for a long evening of tasting, sipping and talking. It’s a rare occasion when Joe and I are out for dinner without having to continuously be on our phones for work or needing to rush so that we can do x, y and z. We reveled in it.
Our wine for the evening was a simple white, reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc. But while I’m 100% a wine drinker, I’m not necessarily a wine expert. So do ask the pros at Nipa Thai and they’ll easily help you select a bottle to share.
With wine glasses full, we tucked into the starters. We ordered a selection of treats and holy hell they were amazing and not to mention, beautiful presented. I recommend the tables by the windows if you’re booking ahead. You get to enjoy beautiful views of the park and the lighting is excellent for food shots (I’m looking at you fellow bloggers).
3) The third green, blue and white babes? We didn’t order these from the menu, but they brought them out for us to sample, but I’m very glad they did. Steamed rice wrap, sautéed chicken, shallots, roasted peanuts, served with crisp lettuce, fresh chillies and coriander.
And. It. Was. Amazing. Without a doubt, I suggest asking for these because they ended up being our favourite of the starters. Nothing like the element of surprise on a dinner date, you know?
While Nipa Thai’s starters will leave your belly feeling full, prepare yourself because the mains are going to take your breath away.
When I go out for Thai food, I always try to order something spicy. I can never quite replicate the same sort of flavours when I’m cooking. I tend to go with either one extreme of incredibly hot, mouth on fire, or slightly mild where it lacks the kick.
So it was a totally easy choice to pick my dish. A medium heat indicator on the menu, I ordered the Kuey Tiew Phad Kee Mao Kai. And for Joe? He’s a classic Pad Thai kind of guy, where he doesn’t have to worry about too much heat.
1) Kuey Tiew Phad Kee Mao Kai – Flat noodles stir-fried with light soy and oyster sauce, chicken, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, basil and chillies. It was amazing, an excellent spice ratio and I couldn’t stop eating my dish. I also love ordering noodles, so I couldn’t have found a better dish for me to try. I’d highly recommend this to anyone who likes a bit of a kick to their meal.
We ate until we couldn’t eat anymore. Only to then move onto dessert, because that’s just what you do when people offer to give you sweet things.
After refreshing with a heated towel, it all felt very first class on an airplane. And time to revive ourselves for dessert.
1) Ice Tim Ka Ti – Coconut ice cream that was DREAMY. I did end up having dessert envy. Even though I didn’t think I was still you know, hungry. But wow one bite of this was incredible. I always have been a fan of coconut.
2) Pol La Mai Ruam – Carved Thai exotic fruits. These were literally what I wanted to refresh and revive me post-meal.
Needless to say, we had a fantastic time visiting Nipa Thai. I think we’ve definitely found a new local spot to enjoy right around the corner.
Nipa Thai, 1 st Floor, Lancaster London, Lancaster Terrace, London W2 2TY
Reservations on 020 7551 6039 or visit www.niparestaurant.co.uk
PS. We were guests of Nipa Thai, but all food choices, opinions, and photos are my own.