For those who have been to Thailand, the experience is unforgettable. Not only does it have the most stunning scenery, weather and hospitality, the food is amazing too. For a tasteful trip down memory lane, the welcoming staff and authentic food at Nipa Thai restaurant in the Lancaster Hotel will make any grey London day seem a tad brighter.
The kitchen, proudly run by female chefs has won two AA Rosettes for the quality of its dishes, and it proudly boasts its ingredients are flown in especially from Thailand. And if it’s authentic cooking you are looking for, the cuisine at Nipa Thai will not disappoint.
Once you have found the hidden gem, which is situated on the first floor of the Lancaster Hotel in Bayswater, you can kick back and enjoy delicious food in beautiful surroundings.
With an extensive menu and lots of vegetarian options, the staff are happy to advise if you get a little overwhelmed by the choice- our waitress didn’t raise an eyelid at my basic Thai pronunciations either – the sign of a true pro! If you like your dishes sour, spicy or creamy there is something to please; and the soft lighting, well-spaced tables, dark teak interior and extensive wine list make this an ideal place for a romantic date. On a damp and miserable Monday evening when I visited, it was also the perfect place for a birthday celebration too, and the larger more boisterous table did nothing to distract from my date.
Spotting someone recognisable on a table in one corner, me and my guest were racking our brains to work out who it was; but by the time we had devoured our starters of a deliciously spicy YUM MA MUANG POO NIM – soft shelled crab with spicy mango salad and toasted cashews, and an equally hot and sour TOM PO TAEK (spicy seafood soup) and sampled the accompanying crisp, fresh wine, we came to the conclusion he was an Arsenal footballer… A bit of a conversation stopper! So, we started to enthuse over the next course.
With such a varied menu, and the delightful wafts of other diner’s dishes it was tricky for me to make a choice. In the end, I stuck to what I know and love and went for a curry, although this KAENG KIEW WARN KAI has definitely converted me to the addition of aubergines to the spicy sauce. A hot green chicken and aubergine curry mixed with KAO KATI (coconut rice), is most definitely a match made in heaven. My date, being a pescatarian, plumped for more seafood and chose the NOR MIA FA RANG PHAD HOY SHELL which I can vouch was a combination of equally succulent scallops and asparagus, in a not so spicy sauce.
This restaurant is an easy place to spend a leisurely meal; the staff are laid back and non-pushy. In fact, we couldn’t decide if we wanted desert, and then had a change of plan which was all taken in their stride, even when the tables were filling up. The desert menu was just as tempting as the mains, and I was torn between the ICE TIM KLUAY TOD (Crunchy fried banana topped with honey and vanilla ice cream) but fearing my waistline, I settled for mango sorbet and an extra cheeky desert wine!
If you are looking to impress a date, a client or just pop in for an early bird dinner with a girlfriend, Nipa Thai is a great place to relax and unwind; Situated in central London, directly opposite Hyde Park in the imposing Lancaster Hotel, the brutalist tower building is a notable piece of London’s history, but will this autumn be re-launched after an extensive facelift.
Even though they don’t need to do anything to the Nipa Thai restaurant, I will use any excuse to come back.
Lancaster London Hotel