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Restaurant review: Patara Fine Thai at Tanglin Mall

Patara Fine Thai
Tanglin Mall, #03-14,

(+65) 6737 0818

Located smack in the middle of the mall, Patara has subtle, refined décor in keeping with its Royal Thai cuisine, and a pleasant reception area to buffer it from the rest of the shopping centre. It also has the delightful assistant manager Choompol, who hails from Bangkok and embodies all the friendliness and charm Thailand is renowned for.

We share everything, of course, starting with miang kam, a do-it-yourself arrangement of chopped prawns, shallots, ginger, tiny devil-hot chillies, and peanuts, all to be laced with sticky tamarind sauce and hand-rolled into shiny green betel leaves – astonishingly good, a veritable explosion of tastes and textures, and tasty egg nets (la tieng).

Our two main courses are kept hot on nifty tea-light burners, a nice touch, and simply served with sesame-topped jasmine rice. Moo ob ma praw is slow-braised pork belly that melts in the mouth, its initial delicate taste kick-started by whole green peppercorns and fresh red chilli sauce on the side. The New Zealand massaman lamb and lotus seed curry is in an equally subtle but rich coconut gravy. Though it’s haute Thai cuisine, portions are generous and eminently shareable.

Asian desserts often disappoint the Western palate, but these ones hit the spot: various flavours of homemade Thai ice cream with sticky rice, roasted peanuts and condensed milk; and lemongrass-scented, very eggy crème brûlée beautifully served with ginger ice cream and fruit salad.

Patara is a slick operation that is part of a greater Thai whole. Besides its sister Patara in Raffles City, the Creative Eateries group includes the mid-level Bangkok Jam in Great World City, as well as six good-value Siam Kitchens in Causeway Point, Parkway Parade, Jurong Point, Lot 1, Parco Bugis Junction and Suntec City.