Patara, review: ‘Lively eatery serves aromatic South East Asian cuisine’

Thai food at Patara Hampstead

Thai food at Patara Hampstead - Credit: Archant

Once tasted the bright, punchy flavours of Thai cooking, aren’t easily forgotten.

For 25 years Patara has elevated this often cheap South East Asian cuisine to fine dining levels and has just opened its sixth London restaurant in Hampstead.

On a potentially quiet Monday night, I visited with my friend, whose Thai dad is a chef. Only to find it thronged.

Installed overlooking the High Street, the carved marble, and sapphire blue walls struck a note of luxury accompanied by attentive service and beautiful presentation.

Think Thai and you think cold beer, but we welcomed the sophisticated choice of a Patara Passion cocktail (vodka passion fruit lime) and a French Rose.

A pair of salads; generous wedges of chicken with papaya, in a spiky dressing proved crisp and fresh, but the star was a tuna carpaccio soused with mint, lemongrass and chilli that sang in the mouth and even impressed my friend.

My Kieaw Wan beef, an upmarket spin on green curry; sliced fillet sautéed in a coconut sweet basil spicy sauce, was less tastebud-searingly hot than curries I recall from Thailand, but rich and aromatic nonetheless.

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My friend’s black cod with ginger and shiitake mushrooms made a light, savoury contrast, although I enviously eyed up the neighbouring Massaman lamb shank curry which the waitress confirmed is hugely popular.

Dessert was unnecessary and my crepe with orange sauce and ice cream was ok but nothing special.

At £15 for mains, this blend of traditional and tweaked Thai food, is pricey but Patara proved a lively local eatery of bankable quality even on a Monday night.

Patara, 82 Hampstead High Street. Tel: 020 7431 5902.