Newcastle’s newest Thai restaurant was highly anticipated, not least by me. I have previously dined at Chaophraya in Liverpool and been hugely impressed so when I heard that intu Eldon Square was giving it pride of place on the rooftop of Grey’s Quarter, I was very much looking forward to checking it out.
I got my chance a few weeks ago at a special VIP evening when James and I were invited to sample the a la carte menu at Chaophraya along with other bloggers and media folk from the North East. It was an evening of great food and great company.
The restaurant was very busy so I didn’t get chance to explore as much as I would have liked but what I did see was super stylish. The light fightings and furniture were modern and sophisticated but there were also lots of replicas of ancient Thai monuments and artefacts to set the scene for the feast we were about to enjoy.
James and I started with Soft Shell Crab & Prawn Tempura and Chicken Satay, classic dishes and some of our favourites. They were both pleasant enough but it was hard not to compare the dishes to similar ones we’ve tried elsewhere in Newcastle that are hard to beat.
One thing that Chaophraya is definitely unrivalled on though is its location. Our table was at the end of a row of cosy booths in what I presume will become the outdoor terrace in the summer. I say this because it was the only area of the restaurant to have artificial grass instead of carpet and I noticed that the roof was retractable… I can’t wait to be sat there sipping on a cocktail in the summer sunshine instead of on a cold winters night!
For main course James chose a spicy beef salad which was a hearty bowl of beef sirloin strips dressed with a lime, mint and chilli sauce with mixed leaves and red chillies. It’s a good job that James has an appetite for spicy food because in his words ‘this salad would blow your delicate little head off’! Thai salads are notoriously spicy so the flavour didn’t come as a surprise but this dish could have perhaps done with three little chilli icons beside it on the menu instead of two.
I went for a much safer option of Lamb Teriyaki which was served with a trio of sauces so I could pick and choose how spicy I wanted it. The meat was cooked perfectly pink and was absolutely delicious. It really was a sign of true love when I let James have two of my chops because I could have happily devoured each one myself! In hindsight I wish I’d ordered a side dish as the portion of seasonal veg the meat was served with was a little on the stingy side. Every cloud has a silver lining though… in this case it was the fact I still had room for dessert!
I ordered the incredible White Chocolate Box which was beautifully presented and absolute perfection for a sweet tooth like me! Inside the white chocolate cube was a hidden layer of butter shortbread, smothered in white chocolate mousse and raspberry coulis. It was accompanied with a mini macaroon, meringue, strawberries and passion fruit syrup. This was one dish I was definitely NOT sharing!
So, the verdict… Chaophraya has some tough competition for authentic Thai food in Newcastle so if you already have a favourite it will be difficult to avoid making comparisons. However, the setting, style and service are all top class and I can’t wait to soak up the sun on that roof terrace in the summer!