Patara is a mini chain of high-end Thai restaurants, fitted out well and with plenty of well-trained staff, but priced quite ambitiously. There are seven branches now in London, as well as some abroad. Other locations include Fulham Road and Greek Street.
Tom yum goong was an enjoyable version of the classic spicy prawn soup, with correctly cooked prawns, shimeji mushrooms and a rich broth with a blend of Thai spices (14/20). For some reason the portion size was rather small, which it never used to be, and was also rather out of character with most of the other dishes. Crab and prawn rice rolls had deep-fried soft shell crab and prawn with mint, basil and peanut along with lime and chilli dressing on the side. These were pleasant, the dressing having plenty of spicy kick (13/20).
Sea bass, with lime and chilli, was also cooked with garlic and herbs. The fish was timed all right, but was clearly farmed and had little flavour. The spices lifted the flavour somewhat, but it was a rather one-dimensional chilli hotness rather than anything more interesting (12/20). Prawn pad Thai had changed in presentation since the last time I tried it, but still had very good quality texture, the nooldes topped with a large prawn cooked in its shell. This was tender and the overall effect was good (14/20). Asparagus and water mushrooms were fine though somewhat unexciting (13/20). Jasmine rice was cooked properly but in a suprisingly small portion.
Service was very attentive, almost overly so: we must have been asked how the food was half a dozen times. The bill came to £71 per head, with a couple of beers apiece. This was a perfectly enjoyable meal, but the bill is relatively high for the level of food that arrives (13/20).