Nipa Thai strives to be as authentic as possible. Everything from its Thai staff to the decor (a teak panelled interior with traditional Thai furnishings), to its cuisine (made using original Thai ingredients), helps to reinforce this. Given that Nipa Thai has received the prestigious 'Thai Select' award from the Thai Government for its excellence and that it's further bolstered by its 2AA Rosettes rating, and one can gather that they must be doing something right when it comes to nailing authenticity.
The extensive à la carte menu at Nipa Thai includes starters such as Por Pia Tod (crisp spring rolls containing glass noodles, cabbage and crab meat with a sweet plum sauce). Main course dishes include specialities such as Pla Nueng Ma Nao (steamed seabass in a garlic, lemongrass, lime leaf and chilli broth). There is also a wide selection of Thai salads, pan-fried dishes and red or green Thai curries. Delicately flavoured Thai desserts include favourites such as Caramel Lychees (caramel delice with a crunchy lychee centre, chilli and pineapple Carpaccio with salted caramel ice cream).
During our visit we were well looked after by Nipa Thai’s Restaurant Manager, Kaseam Jongpitakrat. Given the extensive size of the menu, Jongpitakrat talked us through the options and provided recommendations.
We started with the Por Pia Tod (£11.00), deep fried spring rolls filled with glass noodles, cabbage and oriental mushrooms, and a portion of prawn crackers (a classic favourite). Next we tried the Satay Kai (£11.00), char-grilled marinated chicken served with peanut sauce and cucumber relish, which was nutty and scrumptious. It was also recommended that we try the Kao Krieb Pak Moh, a steamed rice wrap, sautéed chicken, shallots, roasted peanuts, served with crisp lettuce, fresh chillies and coriander. The lettuce provided a pleasing crunch and it was very tasty indeed.
For our mains, we had Panang Nuea Rue Moo (£16.00), dry and aromatic beef red coconut curry with basil and kaffir lime leaves, the Kaeng Kiew Warn Kai (£16.00), vibrant chicken and Thai aubergine in a spicy green coconut curry, and the Kuey Tiew Phad See Iew Kai (£12.00), wok stir-fried rice noodles with chicken and oriental greens. All of the dishes had great depth of flavour and were nicely presented. My favourite dish hands down was the Kaeng Kiew Warn Kai,which was gorgeous and had a bit of a kick without being too over-the-top spicy.
After our meal, the waitress provided us with a steaming hot hand towel, which is always a nice touch. Although we were ridiculously full after our Thai feast, my friend and I shared a banana fritter with ice cream.
As Nipa Thai is located in a hotel, it can be a bit lacking in ambience, depending on the time of day that you visit. Overall, the food is fantastic, and it's a great place to visit if you're seeking premium quality Thai food in relaxing surroundings.