There are only two places where I can be found to panic: that's in front of animals I love that love me back, and it's also on Oxford Street. While London's busiest shopping district can be found to strike fear into the hearts of many, there seems to be one new side-street restaurant that's making it worthwhile.
Just shy of Oxford Street, Patara in Berners Street (the brand's latest opening) is a bold bones restaurant where slick lines, subtle textures and dining charm take president. Split between an intimate drinking lounge, and a large sized dining space with a doubled up dining area downstairs, Patara was a menagerie of marble textures, clinking glasses, intricate feature lighting and bold turquoise furniture that turned the restaurant into a welcoming, yet clearly thought out dining venture. A venue bound by fetching and almost classic interiors rather than gaudy Thai tropes (as can often be found in the bid for a theme), Patara is simply the epitome of fine dining. Yes, actually, wearing a shirt was the best decision i'd made all day.
The Food and Drink
Okay no, the shirt didn't last long before I tried my hand at decorating it with chilli sauce, but throw me to the Patara lions; the food was incredible, and well worth wearing. Starting our meal off with shredded duck confit rolls and sea salt calamari (£10.50), and tiding our palates up with a kick-in-the-chops pickled cucumber Amuse Bouche, Patara didn't blend the line with spices, they made every dish interact with your palate as ginger swept through the calamari, and the duck spring rolls used the hoisin sauce as an accompaniment rather than a dipping excuse for any lack of flavour.
Grilled in curry leaves with kaffir and pumpkin puree, my black cod main (£24) was not only praise be, the prettiest dish I'd ever seen, it made cod a dish that Brits shouldn't reserve to the chippy thanks to its soft texture, and rich notes. My riceberry side was one of Patara's most unique offerings, as the restaurant actually cook the rice within the shell of the coconut itself. Infused with the natural coconut fats and set alongside my stunning black cod, Patara's forte is clearly classic beloved flavours set to a stunning, high standard. Taking my mum for a dinner dose, she tried the Chicken Kieaw Wan (£16.75) as her first venture into an aubergine, fresh green chillies and bamboo shoots Thai curry. It's safe to say i'm still on her Christmas card list, the dish was rich and warming enough to secure that.
Patara clearly funnel the same though process through their drinks as they do their meals. Starting with a long Passionfruit foray alongside a cut glass sour cocktail, the table was set for a glass of white with our mains. I'll be honest, the name is now beyond me, but it's a trusted recommendation at that.
While I haven't been able to fit every dish in and give Patara the praise that it so truly deserves, I can hands down say that i've never enjoyed Thai food in London quite like I did on Berners Street.
Starting with a comment on the service at Patara seems only fair, seeing as they could be city front runners. Not only attentive, helpful when it came to choosing dishes and willing to barter with my mum over just how many vodka tonics she'd had by this point (she said 1, they said 4, I say who cares), they approach everything with a touch of class. The very same atmosphere can be felt throughout the venue; with mostly early evening date-night diners and the occasional lunching ladies, guests swept through Patara with comfort and ease, the staff made sure of that.
Patara is impressive, and you can see why they cover bases across the pond, that's because there's demand for a venue like theirs. With a menu that boasts variety and dishes that wail with flavour, Patara is storming when it comes to Asian fine dining. And with the ability to make my mum a mean vodka tonic to boot? They're coming up Milhouse.