Lamb shanks are not something you usually find on the menu in a Thai restaurant. Still, if you visit Patara Thai in Soho you must disregard all preconceptions and order the shanks anyway. I did and expected a culinary train wreck. Instead I was rewarded with tender dark meat which had been slow cooked in a green curry sauce which had a real depth to its complex spicing.
Rice paper rolls and chicken satay
There were eight of us for dinner at Patara Thai. Seven girls and lucky MTV boyfriend. The restaurant is lively enough to cope with the shrieks and gossip that only that many girls can generate. The Soho restaurant is one of four branches of this upmarket chain in London. It is spread over two floors with moody lighting and comfortable banquette style seating. There are nods to Thai decor in the intricate wooden carvings that hang on the walls but otherwise the look is fairly sleek and minimalist.
Seafood red curry
We start with a palate energising tuna tartare (£16.50). Shimmering, thinly sliced tuna is topped with red onion and fresh mint. It’s not strictly Thai as I know it but it is tasty. Each dish is perfectly presented and worth a photo even if you were not writing a food blog. Eating with such a large group provides a great opportunity to work our way through a large portion of the menu. If you go, here’s what I’d order: the rice paper rolls whose translucent skins are bursting with prawns and mint, the black cod which is so silky that it literally slips down your throat, the tuna tartare, and of course, the lamb shank.
Here’s what I’d skip: the fish cakes (£19.90) which err on the greasy side and the lobster padgari (£19.95) where the luxurious lobster is not really able to shine. These were the only misses out of around 15 different dishes that we sampled. Patara Thai offers a sumptuous dining experience with attention seeking food and a buzzing atmosphere. It is on the pricey side. Our bill (which admittedly did include seven bottles of delicate Viognier) came to around £50 per head.
Details: 15 Greek St, Soho W1D 4DP (Ph 020 7437 1071) Tube: Oxford Circus
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my post on the Notting Hill Thai restaurant Market Thai or if you are looking for a feed in Soho try nearby Bar Shu for a hit of Sichuan cooking.