Housed inside the Lancaster London, Nipa is plush and polished – just as you’d expect from a hotel restaurant. Decorous waitresses in traditional attire greet you at the door of the teak-panelled room. You’re then escorted to tables immaculately laid with white cloths and vases of fresh orchids; plump for a window spot if you can, for views of Hyde Park across the road.
The menu encompasses the gamut of classic Thai cooking, including a few less-common dishes. Food is attractively presented, with carved vegetable garnishes. A penang chicken curry was thick, fragrant with lime leaves and subtly spiced, while a stir-fried pork dish with coriander and pepper was fresh and aromatic with plenty of punchy fine-chopped garlic. Chilli is used in moderation, so as not to offend the well-turned-out international patrons.
Opt for a set meal and Nipa can also deliver smart dining at relatively affordable prices. Served in a round blue and white ceramic platter with different compartments for each dish, the early-bird ‘khantok’ meal is impressively good value at £19.50 for four courses, with a glass of wine or beer.