Saturday, 24 June 2017


Searching around the Royal Albert Hall for somewhere to eat we stumbled across Patara's website and were instantly drawn to the promise of "Fine Thai Cuisine". We do love our Thai food and it was great to see that they offered a vegetarian banquet too. So on a warm Thursday evening we headed off to South Kensington, ready to tuck into some meat free delights! We had made reservations for our visit but we needn't of worried as there wasn't anyone in Patara when we rocked up. Great, we had our pick of tables and so we took a seat in corner of the dining room right by the window.

 The decor in Patara is simple with linen tablecloths and napkins and smatterings of Thai iconography dotted around. It's classy without a whiff of tackiness about it. There is also a downstairs seating area that would be prefect for a small private group booking. We were presented with menus but that wasn't really needed as we already knew what we were going to get.

The vegetarian banquet gets going with a sharing platter starter. The perfect amount for two people, this is a scrumptious plate of little treats. There are skewers of tofu and mushrooms which can be dipped in a scrummy satay sauce served on the side. Two little spring rolls add a little crunch along with the fresh nutty pickled cabbage salad piled high in the centre. The star of the platter though were the sweetcorn fritters. They were more sweetcorn than fritter which is brilliant as some fritters can be totally batter heavy. They also had a beautiful crispy texture to them, I could of just eaten a massive platter of them on their own. 

For the next course we got a big piping hot bowl of mushroom Tom Yum soup. The broth was super spicy and peppery, not for the faint hearted and probably not the best idea on a hot day like the day we visited but I loved it. The broth was filled with oodles of perfectly cooked enoki mushrooms that had a nice bit of bite to them to counteract the soupiness and their flavour was superbly balanced against that strong and spicy peppery kick. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea but if you love your food hot hot hot, prepare for a bowl that's going to literally and metaphorically blow your socks off!

Onto the mains now and the banquet really reaches its peak here. The food as it's placed down in front of you dish by dish is so amazing to look at, it's really hard to decide what to have first. To go with the little bowl of sticky rice is a plate of more of those yummy enoki mushrooms as featured in the Tom Yum soup but this time they are served in a spicy basil sauce. Alongside them came a plate of tender wok fried vegetables that are just lightly tossed in a sauce so that they retain the flavour without becoming soggy. These two dishes are super tasty but the other two dishes trump them.

The first of these two dishes is the block of tofu served in a red Thai Penang sauce. I don't normally like soft tofu but this silky smooth block of tofu was a revelation to me. It was so delicious and melted in your mouth. It also really takes the flavour of that red Penang sauce which I found too be quite mild in comparison to some of the other dishes from the banquet but I liked that as it let the other herbs and spices in the sauce shine through instead rather than just blasting your mouth with chili. It reminded me a bit of Heinz tomato soup too! Sounds weird? Yes, but boy it's good!

The star of the whole evening though had to be the vegetable kieaw wan green curry. Served on a little heater to keep things hot, this is the best Thai green curry that I've ever eaten in a restaurant. To start, the vegetables were big, hearty and chunky. Proper tender with some nice crunch, they were all perfectly cooked. The tofu was once again silky and delicious but that sauce though was something else. Creamy and fragrant, it had so much flavour in it that all balanced perfectly with each other to create a curry that I would of been quite happy to pick up and just drink straight from the dish.

By this point we were stuffed but there was still dessert to come which was a nice little dish of mango sorbet to cleanse the palette. Light and fruity, it was the perfect way to round off what was a stream of gorgeous treats. We left our compliments with the team, paid up and left with smiles on our faces and full bellies. If you are vegetarian and love Thai food then you have to try Patara. The banquet was great value for money, the staff were very attentive and the food was to die for. They say it's "Fine Thai Cuisine" on the website and I agree with them 100%, Patara is perfection!
To take a look at the whole menu, find out about their other locations or to book a table, check out Patara's website by clicking here.

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