Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Patara - London, England

Two weeks before visiting Patara, I was lamenting over uninspiring Pad Thai. Apparently, my friend took note because she said we were going to visit a Thai restaurant in Soho for my last London meal. I was nervously excited. I don't normally pursue Pad Thai, but I crave it after eating at Denver's Linger. I crave curry, inspiring flavor combinations, and palate challenging meals. Would Patara be it?

My friend reminisced about Patara as we walked there. Patara used to be a weekly destination when she was kicking ass at a high paying job. She still kicks ass, whipping creative ideas into fruition, organizing unorganized swing dancers, et cetera for London Swing Patrol, but misses her former frequent visits here.
Can you judge a restaurant solely by its silverware and tableware? Mmmmmm, yes. Muted colors, dense silverware, wonderfully weaved napkins. And compliments to the descriptively thorough memo.
I started with the Tuna Tartare, thin slices of raw tuna in spicy lemongrass and mint vinaigrette. I delicately picked up these tiny morsels and savored their piquant flavor. The broth was tasty too. I may have cleaned everything off that plate.
While I was admiring the Tuna Tartare, my friend ordered the Srangwah Hoy Shell, poached king scallops in spicy lime and chilli vinaigrette with lemongrass, mint and shallot. She reluctantly allowed me to try one. I can understand her reluctance after savoring the spicy tart scallop.
Appetizers eventually made way for the main courses. My friend ordered her favorite item, the Nua Tom Kati, which was slow braised beef in aromatic coconut reduction with fresh lime, lemongrass and chilli accompanied with coconut rice. The beef fell apart underneath my fork, having soaked, no bathed in the coconut reduction. The beef truly embodied the coconut. Simply savory.
My main course was the Gae Pad Grachai featuring wok-fried slices of lamb fillet in wild ginger and green peppercorn red curry sauce accompanied with brown rice. The brown rice was an extra charge, but well worth it. It was an amazingly savory dish. From the lamb fillet to the green peppercorns, I enjoyed every moment.
We still had room, miraculously, for dessert. Too many desserts tempted my eyes, so we ordered two. Here is the Tart Sangkaya, a lemongrass infused coconut tart served with homemade stem ginger ice cream. This is where factual knowledge trumps assumptions. I never thought about what lemongrass really was until I ate this dish. This tart lacks any standout flavor. After such tart dishes, I was expecting the same. It was a good balance, but not what I expected thanks to erroneous assumptions. Lemongrass, look it up. It was a good stem ginger ice cream and mixed well with the tart.
The finishing touches came thanks to the Gati Sod Sundae, a homemade coconut ice cream with exotic fruit. Instead of your typical exotic fruits, we enjoyed chewy sweet coconut, chinese plum, and chinese plum seed. Well delivered, Patara.

I thoroughly enjoyed my Patara experience. They did deny my request to live there, though. Their loss. It might be my new favorite Thai Restaurant. Sorry, TAC Quick. I'll be seeing you in December again, Patara. And maybe one day, I'll be visiting your Bangkok location.

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