An overdue night out with a friend brought us to Nipa Thai for the first time. It’s always fun trying Thai restaurants as most have something unique about them. Nipa Thai’s uniqueness is that it is based in the beautiful Lancaster Hotel and its decor has the wow factor. The two AA rosette holder certainly looks the part but how is the food?
Best Dish: Fried Sea bass (Phad Kra Prao Pla) – Crispy fried sea bass in a delicious spicy, sweet sauce garnished with all my favourite things – red chilli, coriander and Thai basil. The sea bass was so tender it just melts in your mouth. A big thumbs up.
Recommend: Selection of Chefs special Thai starters – Something for everyone in this starter, fish cakes with a good kick, super yummy prawn dumplings and some crab spring rolls and satay chicken. This starter is more than enough for 2 people, in fact 3-4 people can share this. The sauces that accompany this starter are wonderful and really lifted the satay chicken and spring rolls which were quite bland on their own.
Disappointing: Massaman Chicken Curry (Kaeng Massaman Kai) – Although this dish is really flavoursome and has lots of gravy, the chicken has the skin on which I don’t like in a curry. I liked the star anise flavour but it’s not suited to everyone’s palate. The addition of potatoes is probably traditional but I would have preferred a lighter vegetable given how much we’d already eaten!
Drinks: A good variety of mocktails on offer the best being the beautifully presented Red Berry Fizz. I also tried the Luscious Lancaster Punch and Cucumber Cooler, both inferior compared to Red Berry Fizz. I wish I’d ordered another one.
Desserts: I struggle with Thai desserts and usually give them a miss but the icing on the cake in Nipa Thai, is the dessert course — excuse the pun. After much deliberation we chose two desserts and my god did we make a good choice. First one was deep-fried ice cream (Ice Cream Tod) and the other a lemon, ginger and passionfruit cheesecake with a scoop of white chocolate sorbet. The cheesecake was sweet, tangy and refreshing in all the right doses but the show stopper was the Ice Cream Tod, click on the video I made to see why:
Service: We were taken care of brilliantly. After being the only diners left at around 11.30, the poor staff stood patiently without even hinting at how late it was. On reflection I feel really bad, but how sweet of them. Such a contrast to the last time that happened and how we were treated!
The ambience is demure and romantic, making it an ideal setting to impress that someone special! This month is also Thai New Year which coincides with the 20th anniversary of Nipa Thai. For three nights (April 14th-16th) Nipa Thai are doing a special set menu. Although not everything is halal on the set menu, you can ask them to substitute some dishes.
Halal Status: Chicken is halal as verified by staff. Alcohol: Yes, Pork: Yes.
Address: Lancaster London, Lancaster Terrace, London W2 2TY
Parking: On a side street opposite the hotel, free after 6.30pm. Nearest Tube: Lancaster Gate.
Cost: £££ Set menu starts at £35 per person.
Thank you to Nipa Thai for inviting me for the purposes of this review.