The Beauchamp Place branch of this little chain offers carefully made Thai food in a small but smart dining room with banquette seating. Patara is not going for searing authenticity but uses better quality ingredients than most London Thai restaurants manage, and although it has a long menu the standard of cooking is usually quite consistent.
Tonight a salad of prawns and lemongrass with cashew nuts came with little deep fried pieces of prawn, the spicy salad of the dressing very enjoyable, the prawns properly cooked (14/20). Tom yum goong was excellent as usual, the soup having a complex blend of spices, nicely balanced and with good prawns (14/20).
Sea bass with a lime and chilli broth sounded more appetising that it was. The light broth was quite refreshing and pleasantly spicy, but the fish itself was a very small specimen that was cooked just a touch too long (12/20). Prawn curry had a coconut-based spicy sauce, pleasantly chilli-hot without being overwhelming, the prawns cooked through well (14/20). Pad Thai was generally good as it usually is here, the noodles having nice texture. The only slightly off note was that a large prawn served in its shell as a garnish was a touch overcooked (still 13/20 overall).
Service was a little off-key this evening. Waiters were perfectly polite but I had some difficulty in getting the attention of the staff, who had a tendency to cluster around in a group chatting rather than paying attention to their customers. The bill came to £61 a head including beer to drink.