website: patarathailand.com (in English, but incomplete menu online)
lunch: 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM
dinner: 5:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Visit reviewed: 3/9/2007
Beautiful setting, beautifully presented food, with some unique fusion dishes.
When you enter Patara, there is a tranquil feeling as you walk along the steps above a little koi river and into a uncrowded room with white linens. The menu, in both Chinese and English with some beautiful photos, offers a lot of appetizers and dishes that I have not seen at other Thai restaurants. Excitedly, we tried a few appetizers to share. I was slightly disappointed by the size of the Roti Panang Kal Ping (NT$360) which included lamb satay that were tender, flavorful but tiny. What I thought were shrimp pancakes were just oily fried chips and there was way too much sauce for the portion. Apart from the satay, the portions are pretty sizable for everything else.
I was also really surprised by how much I enjoyed the Yum Apple Peo Krob (NT$380) which included crispy deep fried spider crab with equally crispy and tart slices of apple, which made a good sweet and salty match. I also really enjoyed the grilled vegetables appetizer, which included grilled carrots, eggplants, zucchini, red bell pepper and asparagus and had a slightly sweet, tangy and spicy flavor. The only complaints I had was that it wasn't plated as beautifully as shown in the menu and that I wished there were more red bell peppers in this dish.
While I didn't _love_ their curry, since it was too spicy for me and served at the end, Patara gave their own touches to the dishes, such as serving the egg on top of the pad thai. The noodles were chewy, flavorful and not soggy at all, which I found to be the downfall of quite a few places in Taipei. Perhaps next time, I will have to ask for the curry to be only mildly spicy.
The pineapple rice was also good- there was lots of visible pineapple, cashews, crab meat and shrimp, with no pork floss in sight.
However, the misses included the sea bass which was overly fried- you couldn't taste the fish at all and we didn't want to pack it to go. We probably should have returned this since the menu didn't say it was deep fried.
There is also a dessert bar you can add for an additional fee or order their lunch group set menu (from NT$1500-3800), but the manager graciously let us have a plate of assorted rice cakes since we asked very nicely and ordered quite a bit of food.
Patara's brochure says that they have locations in Bangkok, London, Geneva and Singapore and seem to be linked to the also contemporary Patio chain. A nice place for a business lunch or even a romantic date for dinner, Patara offers contemporary and elegant dishes for those looking for something different in their Thai restaurant.