It takes a lot for me to go to a fancy Thai restaurant. When you can get great Thai food for $2, it makes it difficult to want to shell out more. But when my friend Bianca was visiting, she suggested going to Patara Thailand, a fine-dining Thai restaurant with branches in London, Geneva, Thailand, Singapore, Vienna and Beijing. I was reluctant at first when I saw the higher prices, but I'm so glad we gave it a try. Patara takes contemporary Thai cuisine to the next level and offers a gorgeous setting to enjoy a relaxing evening.
They also start you off right with complimentary sesame crackers and special Patara sauce to give you something to graze on while you peruse the menu. I love how so many Thai restaurants ~ especially the more upscale ~ start meals in this way; it gives you the chance to try something you may not have before, even if it's as simple as crackers or dried broad beans with fresh chilies.
Still feeling pretty hungry after our first little nibble, we ordered the Trio of Crisp Spring Rolls with Herbs, Taro and GingkoFillings (200 THB) as an appetizer. Not only did the presentation knock me away, but these were no ordinary spring rolls. The fillings were so flavorful and distinct; I found myself taking the smallest of bites so I could savor every last taste ~ especially when it came to the money bag-shaped rolls.
Throughly impressed by our starter, we were excited to see what the main dishes had in store. Bianca ordered the Layers of Crispy Fried Rice Noodles with Mixed Vegetables and Shitake Mushroom Sauce (220 THB), but I think I was the one who ended up eating nearly half of it. We were a little confused by the crunchy noodles when the dish first arrived, but after soaking them in the mushroom sauce, we couldn't get enough.
I opted for the Stir-Fried Egg Noodles with Softshell Crab in Black Pepper Sauce (290 THB), replacing the softshell crab with tender, organic beef. It was prepared nicely and the beef melted in my mouth, but I wasn't that impressed by the flavor of the dish overall. I kept stealing the shitake mushroom sauce from Bianca's dish to elevate it.
We paired our meal with white wine (for me) and one of the restaurant's signature cocktails (for her). Most of their Signature and Trendy mixes are fruity concoctions combined with fresh, Thai herbs.
If it wasn't such a muggy night, I would've loved to enjoy our drinks from Patara's illuminated tropical garden. The space looks so tranquil and inviting. I think there might have to be a next-time in my near future...
Patara is open daily from 11:30am - 2:30pm and 6:00pm - 11:00pm. 375 Soi Thonglor 19 Sukhumvit 55, +66 02 185 2960.