Thursday, 30 August 2012

Mind that time I went to Chaophraya?

I went to the opening of Chaophraya and was pretty much blown away. I had to say my initial reaction to the largest thai restaurant in Europe was that it was like an asian Corinithian...but they had lady boys and mango cocktails so I was pretty much sold on the whole thing. That and the fact it is in the old OLD RSMAD building - restored to it's former glory and rescued from being a land of cheap candles and leggings.
A friend had went recently for lunch, citing poor service and average food - which was completely contrasting to my initial read on the place so when I was asked if I'd like to investigate Chaophraya's Thai Tuesday thought it was best I would go see for myself.
I took my girl Sheri from Betty Swollocks to try the whole thing with me. The Thai Tuesday as it works is that you and a friend get a sharing platter plus TWO cocktails for £9.95 pp. Ideal for a light bite after work? You betcha.  We tried two platters - an asian platter and a fondue. The asian platter which is made up of chicken satay, prawn tempura, chicken spring rolls, marinated pork with honey and thai herbs and a crispy duck salad. The appetiser fondue is chicken satay, pork, prawn, grilled squid and thai fish cakes with a warm satay sauce. The platters were huge - about the size of 2-3 starters and super delicious. The crispy duck salad was really spicy with sweet pomegranate throughout that took away some of the bite yet still leaving my mouth pleasantly numb (if its meant to be spicy and I can still feel my mouth after you are doing it wrong.) The sauced were amazing and Swollocks was more than ready to drink the satay sauce. There was a slightly more bitter chilli sauce that I feel in love with that I could quite happily drape over everything I eat from now on.
We got two cocktails with each platter so we got an oriental mojito (a strawberry mojito topped with strawberry rekordalig) and a Yor Lor (mixed merries, raspberry vodka topped up with charbord and cranberry juice) each. Usually clocking in at £7.50 a piece - with the Thai Tuesday you are essentially getting two cocktails for free with your platter. HIYA.
After two platters we were crazy full yet couldn't help looking at everyone else's dinners. Generous portions of duck, noodles and rice piled high. We ended up ordering Thai pancakes which turned out to be the best decision ever. The green pancakes were filled with mango and sticky rice and pandam leaf (keep calling it Panem a la Hunger Games) which is like a creamy hazelnut filling. It's also what the chefs use to make the pancakes green.

I should really say that one of the highlights was our server Michael who was AMAZING. He was friendly, chatty and talked us through the menu and answered all our questions - going as far to bring us some pandam leaf after I asked what it was that made the pancakes green. He told us all about the building and the rituals they have in the restaurant. Every morning they do a blessing on the ground floor to a picture of Dalai Lama and on the top floor to a giant Buddah, blessing the ground and the sky for the day ahead which I just LOVE. He did try and teach us a bit about Thai but alas when it comes to languages my brain is seive. Seriously though he just made the experience for me and made us feel so at home.

I really think that it is the people that make the place. You can have the most stellar food imaginable but if you're staff aren't good then it just lets the whole experience down. I was super impressed by the food and the service and can't wait to go again to try the a la carte. I already have my designs on taking the boy there for some #ThaiTuesday.

Chaophraya is on the Buchanan Street, right next to the Subway across from Urban Outfitters. Do deek it out, I promise you will love it.
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