Tasting a feast by Masterchef Finalist Nawamin for Nipa Thai upcoming pop up

I am quite new to eating Thai cuisine as I have never been one for spice but lately I have been getting braver and braver and eating foods which I normally would not eat. So when I was invited by @simbamustchop to join her to enjoy a tasting menu for Nipa Thai’s upcoming event which Masterchef UK 2018 finalist runner up Nawamin Boss will be hosting along with Sanguan in September I jumped to the chance.

Nipa Thai

Nipa Thai is a beautiful Thai restaurant which is tucked within inside Royal Lancaster London which is an independent, Thai-owned hotel located opposite Hyde Park.

Nipa, which means ‘shining light’ in Thai, are renowned for serving delicious traditional Thai cuisine in London.

Nipa Thai has a prestigious “Thai Select” award from the Thai Government for it’s authentic cuisine.  This accolade is presented to Thai restaurants has proven to have achieved the highest standards of quality.

Their authentic Thai cuisine, renowned for it’s finesse and delicacy in balancing five key flavours: sweet, sour, spicy, bitter and salty.

Sanguan Parr

Head Chef Sanguan Parr has been cooking traditional and authentic Thai cuisine at Nipa for almost 20 years within an all female kitchen. Sanguan is by no means new to the restaurant industry despite only ever having one job cooking at Nipa Thai!

As is tradition in Thailand, Sanguan first started to learn how to cook at school and by watching her mum at home. Passionate about food, she hosted many dinner parties and quickly realised that people wanted to learn how to re-create her dishes, so she started to teach as a professional cook at a friend’s house. Luckily for Nipa Thai she saw a vacancy and worked her way up through the ranks to Head Chef!

Sanguan’s signature dish is her Pad Thai, which historically in Thailand would be served from street food market stalls in a cone-shaped banana leaf. However, her personal favourite dish to cook is Tom Kha which is a chicken and coconut soup which has a delicate balance of flavours, as it’s sweet, sour, salty and spicy all at the same time!

Nawamin Boss

Nawamin made it through to the MasterChef finals in 2018, impressing the chefs with his dishes. Nawamin is a postdoctoral scientist at the University of Oxford and a MasterChef finalist. Growing up in a traditional Thai household, his mother passed on her cooking knowledge to Nawamin and his brothers. Nawamin also lived with his grandmother, his greatest cooking influence, who helped him fall in love with cooking.

Nipa Thai tasting afternoon

Upon entering The Royal Lancaster hotel I headed on up to Nipa Thai restaurant which is situated on the first floor.

Upon entering the 55-seat restaurant I was taken back by the beautiful decor which made me feel like I was walking into a top class restaurant within Thailand with it’s teak panelled interior and traditional Thai furnishings and ornate decorations crafted in Thailand. It is elegant and very sophisticated.

Before sitting down to start to discover and try out a tasting menu which is planned for a special upcoming pop up which Sanguan will be hosting along with Nawamin Boss we were given a tour of the kitchen.

The kitchen was small but perfectly designed so there is enough space for the all female team to manoeuvre within. Sanguan was busy at work with her team getting the tasting menu prepared for us and Nawamin was busy working on his speciality dessert which he calls Swan Lake which he made on Masterchef UK.

Upon entering back into the restaurant we then learned how the food and drink we will be tasting is what they have in mind to serve at their upcoming event on Wednesday 25 September and Thursday 26 September 2019 over two sittings of 6-8pm and 8-10pm.

The whole menu is created by MasterChef UK 2018 runner up finalist Nawamin Boss Pinpathomrat and Nipa Thai Head Chef Sanguan Parr with which they have based all the dishes around the poem written by King Rama II which inspired them.

Nawamin and Sanguan explained how guests on the day will be welcomed with a Thai cocktail and canapés in the Park Restaurant, followed by a four course menu of sharing platters. Plus Thai winery, Monsoon Valley Vineyard will be offering a tasting flight to match the food. The dinner is priced at £75 per head, plus drinks.

The tasting menu

Throughout the tasting menu all the drinks and food looked, smelt and tasted amazing.

Food

Canapes

Starting with the canapes we enjoyed Crystal Parcels, Lotus Petals, Silver Bags and Golden Baskets.

The Crystal Parcel did not just look cute being purple and silver but they tasted divine.

The steam rice parcel contained pickled radish and peanut butter. The parcel was not gooey at all like some steamed parcels are and the peanut butter gave it that nice nutty sweetness. These were diamond.

These Lotus Petals had such a green colour making them look ever so appealing.

Upon popping into my mouth immediately I was fronted with fiery spice a bit too much for my liking as my mouth was literally on fire. However the chunks of ginger and lime helped cool the spiciness down a little. So even though too spicy for me the others who I was joined with loved it but then as I mentioned earlier I am quite new to spicy food.

These Silver Bags are crispy wontons which were a delight as crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside.

I loved the crunchiness of the parcel and then the gorgeous filling within of prawn and spring onion.

The Golden Baskets looked a real delight and just the right size to pop entirely in the mouth.

It contained sweetcorn and free range chicken. I could not taste the chicken much more of the sweetcorn and chilli but still tasted great with many different textures from the crunchiness of the basket, the moist crunch of the corn and the smooth softness of the chicken.

Starters

With our taste buds now tantalising it was onto Fluffy Fish which was grilled prawns with herbs and crispy cod, lemongrass, ginger, kaffir time and Thai spicy dressing.

This was a delight a prawn fit for any King. The prawn was juicy and succulent and the crispy cod was a real treat, tasted like the batter bits you get from a cod from a fish and chip shop. Plus the lemongrass and ginger and dressing gave the whole dish a real tang.

Mains

For the mains we enjoyed four different dishes of Crab Relish, Salted Pork Belly, Exotic Vegetable Broth and Massam.

The Crab Relish was served in a bowl upon a melon which was dressed in coconut relish sauce. Dipping the vegetables within it, it gave it a sweet and spicy balance.

The Salted Pork Belly had been marinated and fried using fish sauce which gave it an odd flavour but tasted nice with a saltiness to it and a bite.

The Vegetable Broth was a dish of vegetables which had a black pepper and shallot broth poured over it. Delicate and refreshing.

This was a Massam which is a curry and is made from slow cooked beef, new potatoes and red onion. The beef was succulent and literally fell apart within the mouth giving my taste buds a hint of hotness but not too hot.

It all tasted amazing as you can see we all tucked in.

Dessert

This was the ultimate end to any meal dessert time. Nawamin created and brought to us his creation Swan Lake which he even made on his time on Masterchef UK which Greg Wallace and John Torode was blown away by. The Swan dessert is made from coconut four ways. The main base being coconut sticky rice followed by caramelised coconut, coconut custard and swerved within salted coconut cream which was poured around the Swan. All the elements tasted amazing sweet and coconutty a real dream and a perfect way to end the night.

Click here to watch the clip from when he made it on Masterchef UK.

Drinks

For the drinks we were served an array of cocktails and wines to accompany the tasting menu.

Firstly we started off tasting some of the cocktails that they have in mind to serve at the pop up event.

This cocktail was made using vodka and had lime juice and basil leaves within. I love vodka so I loved this refreshing tangy cocktail easy on the tongue and throat and certainly a great drink to cool down any hot spices.

This cocktail was made using champagne, vodka and green tea. Bubbly and sweet.

This cocktail was made with rum, coconuts and limes. It was certainly a hit with us all with it’s strong coconut taste. I think this cocktail worked the best for a welcome drink as really did get my taste buds and senses going making me in a very happy spirit and mind set ready to party.

During the meal we were served a glass of prosecco, white wine, red wine and a dessert wine.

The prosecco was served to use whilst we tucked into our canapes. It was bubbly and sweet making my taste buds tingle. Plus it was refreshing so it worked really well with the spicy canapes refreshing the palette each time.

The wines served during the courses were all from Monsoon Valley. Monsoon Valley supplies award-winning wines which are made from international grape varietals grown at Monsoon Valley Vineyard. Monsoon Valley Premium Range wines are well balanced and expressive wines which can be enjoyed on their own or with your favourite Thai, Asian and international dishes.

For our starters we were poured a glass of Monsoon Valley Chenin Blanc. The colour is a lovely bright yellow. I could smell peach and apricots. Upon tasting it I could taste tropical fruits such as passion fruit and guava. It is a fruity, crisp and zesty and worked great with the Fluffy Fish.

For our mains we were poured a glass of Monsoon Valley Shiraz. It was a lovely dark ruby colour to it. Upon smelling the wine it had tones of plum, cherries, toffee and spices. It tasted smooth and had an array of fruits sweeping over the tongue and a slight oakiness to it. Perfect for dishes such as Massaman and pork.

For dessert we were poured a glass of Monsoon Valley Chenin Blanc Dessert wine. The colour was immense so golden. The drink smelt of dried orchard apples and white peach and tasted sweet. A perfect dessert wine to finish the night with.

Thank you

Before leaving the night we had to get a quick photo with the bloggers who I was joined with for the afternoon.

Me, @comedinewithmike, @simbamustchop, @burgersearcher

As well as getting a snap with the amazing Nawamin and Sanguan.

Also we were gifted an elephant and key ring to remember our memorable afternoon of tasting at Nipa Thai.

How cute is he.

Verdict

All the food was outstanding delivering traditional cuisine which combined hot spices with mild and sweet flavours. 

As this was a tasting to get mine and the other bloggers opinions about the menu planned for the pop up this menu could change.

For those that live in Thailand will also be able to enjoy a feast cooked within Lancaster Bangkok by Masterchef UK runner up Nawamin on 30 and 31 August 2019.  Within the Siam Brasserie he will be creating a sensational five course menu with a pre-dinner drink and wine pairings for only 4,500thb per head.

I will certainly be returning in the future to enjoy Nipa Thai normal A La Carte menu.

Take your taste buds on a Thai journey

Royal Lancaster London
Lancaster Terrace
London
W2 2TY

Special Event with Nawamin

The special event by Nawamin Boss and Sanguan will be held on Wednesday 25 September and Thursday 26 September 2019 over two sittings of 6-8pm and 8-10pm and will cost £75 each including drinks.

Nipa Thai normal opening hours

However if you just want to visit the Nipa Thai on a normal basis their opening hours are from Monday to Sunday 17:00 – 22:30

Book a table at Nipa Thai by clicking here.

The restaurant is also available for private lunches 7 days a week.

Group sizes
Private parties are welcome with exclusive use of the restaurant available for groups between 40 and 55 people. Numbers below these can also hire the space for a private dining experience (T&C apply). Smaller parties are also welcome to enjoy their meal in the restaurant at an allocated table, without room hire. There are no private / sectioned areas within the restaurant.

Accessibility
The restaurant is fully accessible to those with impaired mobility thanks to a lift taking guests directly from the ground floor (hotel lobby, free access from street level) to the first floor where Nipa Thai is located. The restaurant is also fully accessible to guests with other disabilities.

Thank you to Simba of Simbamustchop and Luxe PR for the invite I had a fantastic first time experience at Nipa Thai and was a pleasure meeting Nawamin as I love meeting celebrity chefs.

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