Royal Lancaster (and Nipa Thai)

Royal Lancaster (and Nipa Thai)

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This 60ies landmark has now largely finished a massive refurbishment, and the effect is impressive. It`s been a case of sealing off a few floors at a time and taking things back to the original shell, before fitting out with a very sympathetic 60ies inspired homage. The look achieved is modern, but the references neatly tie into the geometric nature of the build, and don`t leave you feeling like you are in some sort of time-warp. Due to its location you look out on panoramic views across London, encompassing Hyde Park, the city and all points west – I`ll let the pictures do the talking.

A useful improvement over the old set up is the downstairs bar area behind the reception. It`s a cosmopolitan space that’s cosy enough to let an hour or two slip by, and a handy spot to keep an eye out for a pal turning up for a swift half. We checked in late afternoon and just had the one as we`d decided to go for an early slot at the renowned Nipa Thai.

Restaurants come and go, but those with staying power have to keep relevant, and have something that sets them apart. The all-woman cooking team in place is a USP, but most importantly, it’s not that important. “It’s the food that takes centre stage” is a corny old cry, but I have to say over several visits, not only is the standard high, it’s also remarkably consistent. Head Chef Sanguan Parr champions traditional fare, so there`s no foam of whatever, but the presentation is made beautiful with artistically carved veg and swathes of colour on the plate. Classical dishes done well are a delight, and nobody needs a soft shell crab re-interpreted. Lovers of Thai basil, Chilli, Sticky Rice, Spicy Green Coconut Curry, Yum Nuea and the like served by one of the most charming Maitre D`s in London may find themselves wondering where the time went as they diligently work their way through the menu.

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