Look to Lancaster London Hotel for a double AA rosette Thai restaurant - perfect for introducing your family to the flavours of South East Asia
Nipa Thai restaurant, at the Lancaster Hotel
Every family has it's favourites: a favourite film, most-loved activity and (obviously) a most-requested meal. Our family has a particular soft spot for Thai food, especially after taking the trip of a lifetime to Thailand, last year. With a balance of sweet, salty and savoury combinations, it can be a brilliant style of cooking to introduce younger members of your family to new flavours and spices.
Question: When can my baby eat curry? Answer: Sooner than you might think...
The Nipa Thai restaurant is tucked away a few floors high at the grand Lancaster London Hotel. With two AA rosettes to it's name, it's menu is extensive and tantalisingly tempting. The true warmth of Thai hospitality is on point from the minute you arrive. It's no cliche that Thailand is known as the 'land of smiles'. The staff are friendly and accommodating, with the tell-tale gentle ease of service that you'd expect.
Thai crackers and canapes to start
There is no rush at Nipa Thai, with our family eager to 'talk Thailand' with our smiling waiter. We chose a bottle of Monsooon Valley wine to accompany our dinner, which was a variety we had actually taste-tested when we visited the vineyard itself in Hua Hin. We took this as a good sign.
Children are welcomed in the restaurant and everyone is well looked after. There isn't a children's menu, but you can order many dishes to share, and they can be spilt and spiced to your requirements. We chose the tangy Som Tam papaya salad for a starter and had half ramped up with extra red chillies. It was just as fresh as the one we had enjoyed so much during our trip to Hua Hin: a great start!
Som Tam papaya salad
Tempura vegetables are a good choice for a starter for young children, as they are fairly plain tasting and can be spiced up with a little sweet chilli sauce for more adventurous diners.
The winner, for us, was the Kao Krieb Pak Moh starter, which is steamed rice wraps with sautéed chicken, shallots, and roasted peanuts, served with crisp lettuce, fresh chillies and coriander. This is the perfect flavour combination for anyone who loves peanuts, a common ingredient in Thai cooking, and the different coloured wraps provided entertainment (and just a little arguing over whose was whose).
Creamy main dishes
For main dishes, we were feeling a little full, so ordered two between four, which worked out to be plenty. We picked a chicken Massaman curry, cooked in coconut milk and with baby potatoes, and a stir fried chicken dish, alongside a steaming bowl of sticky coconut rice. Excellent choices, all, but we all still left discussing the dishes we hadn't tried - the Phad Thai, coconut ice cream, prawn and coconut soup and steamed seabass, among them. We were all in agreement - a return visit to Nipa Thai, or Thailand itself, would have to be in the pipeline asap.
Where: Nipa Thai
Lancaster London Hotel
London W2 2TY
Contact: 020 7551 6039
The view from the hotel