Growing up in Asia sure had it’s perks… amazing weather (90% of the time!), mixing with different cultures and of course, the amazing culinary delights. Rewind back to the very early 90’s and I found myself sunbathing on Phi Phi Island in Thailand during a School Trip (before it was popular and over ridden with tourists), taking rides on long-boats, getting my hair braided and eating lots of great food!
Let’s just forget the fact that after one meal at a little restaurant on the island, I left my $800 retainer behind and only remembered when we were back on the boat for the main land. A quick speed boat trip back to the restaurant, discovered that $800 worth of metal for my teeth was in the ground after the staff dug holes to bury the rubbish. I was in tears. Try explaining that to your parents upon your return home to Singapore.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago, I was invited to try out the recently opened Thai Restaurant Chaophraya situated on the corner of Buchanan Street & Nelson Mandela Place. Chaophraya Glasgow is Europe’s largest Thai restaurant which opened its doors in July 2012 after a £2 Million Refurbishment.
Set over four floors, Chaophraya offers the ultimate Thai experience for those visiting on business or pleasure. Owner, Kim Atcharaporn Kaewkraikhot believes in providing high quality, authentic cuisine created by award-winning Development Chef, Ron Tammakeysar. Diners can enjoy an array of gastronomic delights.
Entering Chaophraya, we were greeted by our Thai host who guided us up the stairs to the Grand Ballroom and to our table. En route, you could tell that the Old Townhouse was renovated to a extremely high standard. The use of colours, lighting and statues made the Foyer Entrance breathtaking.
We sat at our table and were shown the menu, the waitress discussed Specials and then left us to ponder. In all honesty, the menu was huge, I didn’t know where to start.
After a good 10 minutes, we settled for the Asian Platter to start with (£9.95 Per Person) which is “the ultimate starter selection of chicken satay, prawn tempura, chicken spring rolls, marinated pork with honey and Thai herbs. Served with a crispy duck salad”.
The Chicken Satay with it’s accompanying Peanut Sauce literally took me back to the Hawker Stalls in Singapore where I used to buy Satay Sticks to snack on. The Peanut Sauce was nicely flavoured and not overpowering. The Chicken was seasoned and cooked well. I loved it so much I started munching on the sticks the Chicken was on. The Prawn Tempura was light, fluffy & not at all oily for something which is fried. I love Prawn Tempura and sometimes, the Prawns can be overcooked while trying to achieve the right golden colour on the outside, these were cooked perfectly. I dipped the Prawns in the Peanut Sauce to see how it tasted… it works! Thumbs up!
The Chicken Spring Rolls were flavoursome, complete with a good combination of ingredients and filled well. The Filo Pastry was crispy, not overcooked and when mixed with some Sweet Chilli Sauce on the side, it was great. I wish we had more of these. Another favourite of mine was the Marinated Pork with honey and Thai herbs, something I would never generally order on the menu. The Pork was a mix of sweet & salty, rich in flavour and had a nice crisp to it. Once again, I tried the Sweet Chilli Sauce and also the Sweet Soy Sauce with the Pork. Both sauces working perfectly.
Unfortunately, I was let down with the Crispy Duck Salad. I like Duck, however this was too crispy, too salty and too spicy for my liking. I love spicy food, but for some reason every time I ate some, it caught the back of my throat. Overall, Duck Salad permitting, I loved the Asian Platter and would definitely have it again sans Duck Salad.
Next up, I ordered the King Prawns with Ginger (£14.95) which was “King Prawns sautéed with straw mushrooms, fresh ginger, peppers, onions, spring onions, chilli and soya beans”. Accompanying this, I ordered Coconut Rice which was soft & fluffy. I couldn’t fault this dish at all. The Prawns were a good size, loved the seasoning, the Prawns were soft and tasted great. I also got a side dish of Pad Pak Choi (£3.95) which was “sautéed pak choi with chilli, garlic and ginger”. I love Pak Choi and together with the King Prawns and Coconut Rice, it was the perfect combination.
My mom, who came with me, ordered the Lamb Shank in Yellow Curry (£15.95) which was a “braised lamb shank with potatoes, garlic and onions in a rich turmeric flavoured curry topped with fried shallots served with grilled pumpkin, lady fingers and broccoli”. The lamb fell off the bone, cooked perfectly while being slightly spicy with the Yellow Curry. I couldn’t fault this dish one bit, the lamb melted in your mouth & curried vegetables were a nice addition.
I wasn’t too sure if I could fit in dessert but how could we not? After a short break I had Fresh Fruit Fondue with Chocolate Sauce (£6.55) and my mom ordered Chocolate & Coconut Deep Fried Ice Cream (£5.75). You couldn’t really fault any of these desserts. Fruit & Chocolate are the perfect combination! The Deep Fried Ice Cream was crunchy & golden brown on the outside then nice & gooey in the middle. Loved it!
Overall, I really liked Chaophraya. It was about time Glasgow had a high-end Thai Restaurant like this. It is pricey but I do think the food is worth it. I would visit Chaophraya for it’s Cocktail Menu & Satay alone! If you have a Chaophraya in your area & you haven’t already tried it… I suggest you do!
Chaophraya Restaurant and Palm Sugar Bar
The Townhouse, Nelson Mandela Place
Glasgow, G1 2LL
Tel: 0141 332 0041