It’s all very big. Which shouldn’t come as much surprise. Popular Thai chain Chaophraya cater in creating dramatic destination dining across Europe and the former Royal Academy of Music and Drama has been their home since they came to Glasgow. Retaining many of the original features (expect famous composers busts adorning the wall as you make your way around the impressive venue) next to giant gold brushed Buddhas, a trip to Chaophraya at the very least is worth it for the interiors alone. That said, with an extensive cocktail menu and a rich and varied menu, there’s a few other solid reasons to pay them a visit. A slight disclaimer: Come Hungry.
Sweet, spicy and fresh, Thai cooking ticks a lot of culinary boxes for me, and in proud Claire tradition, I couldn’t help but being a bit of a glutton with eyes far bigger than my belly. To start, my friend and I decided the most prudent option would be to go for the Maeklong Sharing Platter (£9.50pp). I love trying a bit of everything, and this selection brings together all their most popular starters from chicken satay, sweetcorn cakes and my personal favourite, pork and prawn dumplings. While perhaps not the most inspiring of dishes, it’s a sure fire crowd pleaser and the recommended route if you, like me, can’t just pick one thing. The spring rolls are crisp and fresh, while the dumplings are rich and meaty without being too dense.
For the main event we couldn’t help go for something a little bit different. For me, it had to be the Weeping Tiger Sirloin Steak (£19) medium rare and served with a trio of Thai sauces. Each tastier than the last. Sweet, spicy, but never over-powering the flavour from the meat. Perhaps ordering from the grill isn’t usual standard fayre but I’m glad I did. My friend went for the Yellow Fish Curry(£18) – and well, if you’re even a little bit squeamish perhaps give this one a miss (however you’ll be missing out on a really tasty dish.) The sea bass is served whole with a creamy yellow curry, Thai aubergines and potatoes. By all accounts, very very tasty. We went for a side of sticky rice (£3.50) which was easily the weakest component of the meal, feeling more dried out and clumped together opposed to the moist sticky goodness we were hoping for. However, at this point, I’m just nitpicking.
The desserts are great if you have a notorious sweet tooth (guilty) so we went for the Thai Dessert Sampler (£7.50) and the Which Chocolate Box (£7.50.) Everything on the sampler platter was delicious, but very, very sweet, overly so for me, but your mileage may vary as my guest thoroughly enjoyed it. Worth trying if you want something different – mango sticky rice and thai pancakes with a padan leaf custard makes for an unusual treat if you can get past the sweetness. The White Chocolate Box is a little bit more classic dessert wise, with a gorgeous mouse complimented with the sharpness of passion fruit and raspberry to lift it. A pretty little dessert, though far bigger than I’d initially have thought.
Throughout the meal we managed to work our way through the cocktail menu, favouring notes of rose, lime and ginger. The presentation is very delicate and feminine (so many flowers, which BTW I’m totally down with) to the point it almost feels too pretty to drink. Don’t worry though, finishing them off wasn’t too much of a struggle for us.
I’ve never been a big one for chains, but Chaophraya may be very well be the exception to the rule for me. Beautifully cooked food in gorgeous surroundings and a sure fire winner if you’re looking to impress.