The scene: The scent of lemongrass as I walk into this Soho establishment is a wave of nostalgia – instantly inducing memories of time spent in Thailand. The decor has a huge nod to the country, with orchids and South Asian-inspired artwork, but it’s more up-market than most Thai establishments.
I wait 20 minutes for my plus one, without being offered a drink (while a girl mops the floor in front of the entrance). When he arrives, we wait for a further 20 minutes despite the restaurant being fairly empty and staff walking past us, although the manager apologises profusely when he realises we haven’t yet been seated.
The grub: We’re here to try the Six Senses dishes, which doesn’t have much for vegetarians, so I opt for the impressive meat-free menu. My husband orders the Goong Pow Grilled tiger prawns in kaffir lime dressing infused with green curry paste while my steamed dumplings arrive as crispy spring rolls. The waiter apologises, and 10 minutes later my original choice is brought to the table.
Both are decent standard Thai fare. After the starters, Rich tries the Bouillabaise, a selection of fine seafood in a gorgeous aromatic coconut and Thai herbs broth. Although his main – organic salmon with shiitake mushrooms – has a similar sauce, which becomes overpowering. My huge tofu steak (there’s only so much tofu one person can eat) is served in a shallow dish of gorgeous red curry sauce – but there isn’t enough of it, which is disappointing.
Behind the bar: There’s a fantastic range of cocktails, a decent selection of wines – with some Thai choices – and beers, including the ubiquitous Tiger.
Bill please: Starters from £6.75; mains from £13.25; three-course Six Senses menu £28; wine from £18.50; champage from £35.
Verdict: It’s a lovely setting and when it’s right, Patara’s food is spot on. But the whole experience needs to be pulled together to make it a must-visit.
15 Greek Street, Soho, W1D 4DP
– Carol Driver