Published on February 6th, 2015 | by Gavin0
Nipa Thai, Lancaster Gate
Summary: Nipa may be pricey, but given that this is one of the most authentic Thai dining experiences outside of Asia, it is well worth the money.
The stunning four star Lancaster London hotel is a landmark destination. Overlooking Hyde Park and an easy commute into Central London, it’s a popular tourist haven. Yet within the hotel, there is a Thai restaurant that has been secretly wowing V.I.P guests for the past 19 years. Nipa has won multiple awards for authenticity over the years, and after undergoing a complete refurb last November, I had to take a trip.
The intimate room on the first floor has just 55 covers, and specialises in making guests feel right at home. Decked in mahogany with gold wallpaper, the restaurant is traditional yet contemporary- and is traditional to the point that all kitchen staff are female, as is customary in Thailand.
The food menu is huge, spanning 8 pages of appetisers, soups, salad, meat, and vegetarian dishes. There is something for everyone, and to begin we go for the satay chicken (£11), one of my favourite Thai staples. The chicken has just the right amount of crunch, well flavoured, and comes with one of the best peanut sauces I’ve tasted.
The star dish however is the deep fried marinated minced prawns (£14) which is simply stunning. Best described as a five star version of scampi, the delicate combination of shellfish, lemongrass, and sweet chilli have both me and my guest nodding profusely- a must order.
If you are looking for something less heavy on the stomach, the mushroom soup (£10) went down a treat; the well-seasoned broth and mild hint of lime and chilli is the perfect antithesis to the wintery conditions.
The mains were a spectacle to say the least; presented on fine china, the steamed sea bass (£22) looks almost too pretty to eat and the red chicken curry (£16) smells like I’m back on the banks of Chon Buri. The chicken has been slow cooked overnight, and the rich, sweet flavours run right through the tender meat and is delicious with a side of jasmine rice.
The sea bass follows the same formula, lightly seasoned with garlic, lemongrass, and chilli. Being steamed, it goes down well without bloating my guest; a healthy alternative to the pan fried options available.
Usually after a big meal I struggle to order dessert, but today I’ve got more than enough room. The passion fruit and lemongrass custard with chocolate sorbet (£9) is innovative, and although individually they were both appetising, I wasn’t quite convinced that it worked when combined together.
Thoroughly more enjoyable however was the deep fried ice cream with chocolate sauce (£9). Although not as healthy as many of the other courses we ate, I think I deserved a little naughty treat and this doughnut like dish was a magnanimous end to the evening.
With what we’ve just eaten, Nipa is well worthy of the plaudits handed to them; but the real secret to their success is the service. From start to finish, the knowledgeable staff were at our beck and call- but when each member of the team has been there for a minimum of 10 years, I suppose that’s to be expected.
Nipa may be pricey, but given that this is one of the most authentic Thai dining experiences outside of Asia, it is well worth the money.
I’m A Londoner readers can get a free glass of fizz when they book Afternoon Tea/dinner at Nipa Thai/lunch or dinner at Island Grill. Readers just need to quote ‘Luxe’ when booking or on arrival at the hotel to receive this special deal.
Nipa Thai, 1st Floor, Lancaster London, Lancaster Terrace, W2 2TYShare This Post