Patrie Thai Grill, Bramley GU5 0HB - restaurant review - CLOSED
PUBLISHED: 09:28 25 June 2013 | UPDATED: 17:16 18 May 2014
Having already won over Gordon Ramsay, fiery Thai chef Patria has expanded her restaurant empire with a new offering in the Surrey Hills. Matthew Williams visited the aptly named Patrie and found a taste of the exotic in Bramley
Patrie Thai Grill, 2 High Street, Bramley GU5 0HB Tel: 01483 894 422
What we ate:
Thai tom yam prawn soup without coconut, £8.50
Parcels of lobster and prawns with asparagus, lemongrass and coriander consommé, £9.75
Indonesian Masaman beef curry – beef braised in roasted spices, whole peanuts, seasoned with tamarind sauce, £10.95
Aromatic duck curry – boned duck legs, braised until tender in aromatic Thai spices, £10.95
Ginger and honey
ice cream, £6.75
ice cream, £6.75
Chateau la Moutete, £19.95
The quintessentially English village of Bramley is a time capsule largely protected against the boom of the commuter belt by the closing of its railway line in 1965.
The crossing remains, testament to the fact that if trains were still running through the village it would surely be a bustling destination today. So, it might come as some surprise that, alongside the perfectly appointed traditional pubs, luxury motors showroom and greengrocers, you’ll find a Thai restaurant whose owner has already left a lasting impression on Gordon Ramsay.
Owner Patria (the restaurant’s very similar name actually stems, coincidentally, from the French word for homeland), reached the semi-finals of the notoriously expletive prone chef’s The F Word with Patrie’s sister restaurant, Simply Thai in Teddington, in 2009.
Late last year, this fiery Thai lady – described by Gordon as a culinary fire-cracker” - chose to expand her empire into the Surrey Hills; her heart understandably won over by the beautiful building that now showcases her cuisine.
Patrie itself is all thick stone walls and stunning oak beams, brought to life with vibrant cushions, striped velvet seating and soft lighting from hanging lamps. You can see why any restaurateur would fall for the place on sight. With the well established Thai Terrace and Rumwong just down the road in Guildford, however, competition in this area is fierce.
We opted for a light and rather delicious bottle of French rosé Chateau la Moutete to accompany our evening, with one eye on the potential fire fighting to come. Following a tomato and tamarind soup amuse-bouche, my traditional Thai tom yam prawn soup without coconut certainly provided a kick to start but the flavours were fresh and well balanced rather than overpowering. Parcels of lobster and prawns with asparagus, lemongrass and coriander consommé provided my wife Sylviane’s introduction and was an altogether subtler dish.
It was a quiet mid-week night when we visited and despite turning up unannounced, Patria was immediately welcoming and proceeded to delight in treating us with a few extra tasters. So, to accompany our starters, we also received a small selection of prawn spring rolls and crispy crab and prawn cakes. Both were served with freshly made sauces.
Having struggled to decide on mains – there are some stunning sounding offerings that hint towards traditional fine dining with Thai touches (think lobster tail with summer vegetables, lemon grass and coriander jus or rack of lamb marinated with aromatic Thai spices dressed with oyster mushrooms in lemon grass and ginger sauce) – we went for curries. It would surely be wrong not to.
Before that, however, Patria decided to surprise us with a pan roasted seas bass on aromatic green vegetable curry. The fish was deliciously moist with a crisp, delicious skin and it certainly helped my imagination wander over some of the other mains on offer.
Both our curries, mine an Indonesian Masaman beef curry and Sylviane’s an aromatic duck curry, were beautifully flavoured rather than the aggressive boxing matches Thai can sometimes descend into. Served with rice and a side of steamed white pak choi with garlic and bean sauce, our mains showcased the Patria’s mission of “creative dishes artfully presented to showcase the beauty of the ingredients” perfectly.
What’s noticeable at Patrie is that the presentation is always clean and efficient, rather than over decorated with the carved vegetables that some restaurants seem to use to distract attention from disappointing dishes. If Patria were English, you’d imagine delicious homely stews and pies coming out of the kitchen rather than fussily intricate dishes.
Usually, I wouldn’t tend to opt for dessert at a Thai restaurant but the selection of ice cream was interesting and a bonus coconut panacotta with pineapple and blackcurrant provided the perfect palette cleanser.
So, Patrie, then. By many accounts the restaurant has had a mixed reception since opening but, if our visit was anything to go by, many of the early teething problems would appear to have been ironed out. The service was enthusiastic and friendly throughout, Patria the perfect host and the kitchen produced dishes that make you wish the train line still ran through the village - if only to make it easier for everyone to give this restaurant a try. If you like Thai food already, Patrie is certainly worth the trip. If you don’t, then a visit might just change your mind.
3 other Thai restaurants
7th Floor, Castle Car Park, Sydenham Road, Guildford GU1 3RT Tel: 01483 503350
With spectacular rooftop views, the Thai Terrace restaurant is a penthouse with a difference.
18-20 London Road, Guildford GU1 2AF Tel: 01483 456768
Since 1976, the family owned Rumwong has been pleasing diners in our county town, including a whole host of celebs.
38a High Street, Reigate RH2 9AX Tel: 01737 248110
Spread over two floors of a grade II listed building, just off the High Street, Thai Dining also offers a relaxed lounge for post-meal drinks.