The new food court in Eldon Square has been causing quite a buzz, and it can be hard to choose which new restaurant to dine at. We were excited to be invited to the VIP night for Thai restaurant Chaophraya. One of our favourite cuisines, and with a rooftop terrace to boot, were we in for a decedent night? Read on to find out!
There are two entrances to Chaophraya, a staircase by TGI Fridays or via the lift where they have their own floor – 2. Up in the lift we went, and as the doors opened we were greeted with a gorgeous interior with Thai flourishes. Our coats were taken, and we were shown to our table in the indoor part of the rooftop terrace. It was pretty and had a mixture of booths and regular seating.
Our waitress, Jasmine, introduced herself and showed us the menus. We ordered mocktails to start which came beautifully presented, and with a bowl of Thai crackers with a sweet chilli dipping sauce while we decided what to order.
To try a wide variety, we ordered the Maeklong Platter to start, which must be shared by a minimum of two people. It comes with chicken satay, prawn and pork dumplings, chicken spring rolls, Thai vegetable tacos, and sweetcorn cakes. Some of the items were a definite hit for us – the sweetcorn cakes were so tasty with a crispy exterior and soft inside mingled with aromatic spices. They were very moreish. And the chicken spring rolls were also delicious.
However, one bite into my chicken satay and the rest was left uneaten. It was cold and overly moist, and the dumplings, which were neatly wrapped in a peel of cucumber, were also cold. I don’t know if this is the way they are meant to be served, but I didn’t enjoy it. It would have been much nicer served hot and fresh from the kitchen. The Thai tacos didn’t look very appealing on the plate, and messy in presentation, but they were so tasty! They were well-flavoured and different and I really enjoyed them!
The staff were attentive and kept checking if we needed more drinks, brought a jug of water to the table, and explained each of the elements on the dishes when they were brought to us which was a nice touch.
For our main course, I really wanted to try the Sea Bass Yellow Curry as yellow curries are my favourite dish to order in a Thai restaurant. However I was informed that it wasn’t available, but Jasmine suggested she talk to the chef to see if they could do a prawn yellow curry instead for me, which was very kind of her. However, she was informed that there was no yellow curry available at all, so I had to go with Plan B and order the King Prawns with Ginger stir fry dish.
MrJ ordered the Weeping Tiger Sirloin Steak which came with stir fried vegetables and a trio of sauces, his favourite was the sweet black pepper sauce which I was unwilling to try at first, but after a little coaxing I gave it a try and it was delicious. His steak was perfectly cooked medium-rare and seasoned well. He was asked what side he’d like with it, but the choices of rice or noodles didn’t seem to fit with his Thai-inspired steak, however he loves noodles so ordered some steamed rice noodles with bean sprouts, fried garlic and a light soy sauce dressing. When they arrived in the bowl they were all stuck together in a clump and bland. Maybe it was a mistake to order them as a side to steak, as I added them to the sauce of my prawn stir fry and they were tasty, but I think that was more to do with my sauce rather than the noodles.
My dish was prettily presented with lovely plump king prawns and big shitake mushrooms, spring onions and red peppers and a lovely rich sauce. It was very tasty and a good portion size, and my side of jasmine rice looked small but I actually couldn’t finish it all (and I’m a rice fiend!).
On the dessert menu I was amused to see a sticky toffee pudding listed. It just seemed out of place as it’s such a British dessert. “Who would order a sticky toffee pudding in a Thai restaurant?” I thought. Well, my sticky-toffee-loving husband was chuffed, and it was a twist on the classic with the addition of ginger and lemon. He enjoyed it, although thought the portion was small for the high £7.50 price tag.
I ordered the White Chocolate Box (a white chocolate mousse with raspberry coulis on butter shortbread served with a mini macaron and strawberries in passion fruit syrup). It was so elegantly arranged and the mousse itself was a treat to eat, with all the elements working nicely together. It would have been nice to have in-house made meringue and fresh strawberries (mine looked like the tinned kind). A little more effort and this would have been perfect.
Overall, we left with mixed feelings. On the positive side – attentive staff, great ambience and interior design, and delicious main meals. On the negative side – cold starters, a bland side dish and pricy desserts. Hopefully this was just our experience, as it really is a beautiful restaurant.
Let us know your thoughts!