In recent years the popularity of Thai cuisine has continued its relentless rise within the UK, resulting in an increase in the number of Thai restaurants opening across the country. One chain that was very much ahead of the curve is Patara, which opened its first site in South Kensington 26 years ago. Since then it has not only opened five additional restaurants in London but has also expanded internationally with sites in the likes of Geneva, Vienna, Bangkok, Singapore and Beijing, thereby spreading its reputation globally.
“The Patara restaurant group was created in 1990 by Khun Patara Sila-On, who had the vision of bringing Thai food in all its authenticity to the marketplace,” explains Andy Holman, Managing Director. “From the very beginning we have had a strong emphasis on quality to better reflect the real taste of Thai cuisine, whilst we have also worked hard to have a strong contemporary look in all our restaurants in terms of their décor, their design and the materials that are used. It’s been vital that all aspects of our offering are of the highest quality.”
This approach has obviously worked well for Patara given the the growth it has seen over the years and a major part of this longevity has been the strength of its menu, as Mr Holman outlines: “We have a backbone menu that I would say is 80 per cent retained permanently and is very much based on royal Thai cuisine as opposed to the street food style offering. It’s therefore very authentic but presented in a contemporary European style, which is what we’ve become famous for over the years. In addition to the strong emphasis on authenticity, the second key focus of our menu is seasonality and we’ll only ever use the best and most in season ingredients. We’ll also have special meals to mark the major Thai national holidays such as Songkran.”
Patara’s authenticity is further underlined by the fact all its restaurants all staffed by Thai chefs that have excellent knowledge of the recipes and the ingredients, which enables them to slightly modify dishes depending on the season. This is in contrast to a cook that would just replicate a meal parrot fashion. As a result, Patara’s chefs are widely regarded as being amongst the best and most consistent in the Thai cuisine sector and the company works hard to retain such valuable skills and experience through strong working incentives. To mirror their efforts, Patara Berners Street has recently won Open Table’s Diners Choice Award for their service and on top they’re planning a full renovation in October, in time for a new look for Christmas.
“We have a backbone menu that I would say is 80 per cent retained permanently and is very much based on royal Thai cuisine as opposed to the street food style offering. It’s therefore very authentic but presented in a contemporary European style, which is what we’ve become famous for over the years. In addition to the strong emphasis on authenticity, the second key focus of our menu is seasonality and we’ll only ever use the best and most in season ingredients. We’ll also have special meals to mark the major Thai national holidays such as Songkran.”
Andy Holman, Managing Director
Even the most experienced chefs are reliant on the ingredients they have to hand and this again is another area that Patara excels, having developed a robust supply chain over the years. “Our supply chain is now very well established within the UK so getting the best produce, whether its fresh or dry packaged, is no problem. Due to our emphasis on quality we tend to source from the very best suppliers and use the same leading UK-based fish and meat companies that supply other five-star restaurants and hotels.”
As it looks to build on its already impressive history, Patara is aiming to maximise its reputation and strong infrastructure to develop the business further. “We clearly believe that we have expansion and growth potential and having opened two new restaurants in the last six months we are now keen to keep this momentum going,” says Mr Holman. “Of course in the current climate finding suitable sites can be challenging due to the intense competition for good locations. That said, we’re remaining vigilant and are constantly on the lookout for sites that would suit our requirements. As long as we can find the right calibre of staff to support a new restaurant then we’ll continue to keep opening as many new sites as we can.
“In terms of location, there’s always opportunities in central London, whilst we’re also keen to keep growing in more suburban areas. Our recently opened Hampstead restaurant has been a great success so there’s definite potential in other high income residential areas such as Richmond and Windsor. There’s a few things that we’re working on at the moment so we’re hoping to make progress on these sooner rather than later.”
Given the success it has enjoyed over the past 26 years, coupled with the undiminishing appetite from UK consumers for high quality Thai food, it is looking more than likely that further Patara restaurants will be popping up in the months and years ahead.