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November 2012

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Last week I was in a room with 9 other people while blindfolded. Now, don’t confuse this with Dating In The Dark… we were at Living Room Glasgow for the ultimate challenge, the battle of the Food Bloggers. Who could guess the most amount of flavours & ingredients in a bid to win a Trophy and be crowned THE best.

We all sat down in the dining area where we were met with a 4 page booklet full of questions about each dish & cocktail we were about to sample from their new menu. As soon as I read the questions, I instantly muttered “Oh Crap!”. It’s hard to figure out the flavours of a dish while you can see it, let alone while blindfolded!.

We had to figure out the answers to questions such as “What spices were used in the Moroccan Lamb?”, “What is in the Burger?”, “What type of fish are you eating?” & “What type of alcohol is in this Cocktail?”. No easy task that’s for sure!

I’ve been in Living Room Glasgow a few times for drinks & it’s one of my favourite city centre locations for Cocktails but I have to admit, I’ve never tried the food before so this event was a perfect introduction.

The food did not disappoint at all! I tried various dishes that generally, I would never normally order such as Black Forest Smoked Ham & Fig, Butternut Squash, Dolcelatté, Walnut and Honey Tart, Grilled Sea Bass in a Thai Broth and Duck Breast with Szechuan Pepper and Plum Chutney. But, from the spoonful portions of the dishes we tasted, I was very impressed! I didn’t dislike a thing… even the Sea Bass & that’s coming from someone who stays clear of fish the majority of the time.

My favourite dishes of the evening were hands down the Moroccan Spiced Lamb with Apricots, Dates and Almonds, served with Giant Cous Cous, Pork & Chorizo Burger with a Smoked Paprika Aioli on a Brioche Bun with Chips, Homemade Glamorgan Sausages with Sage & Onion Soubise with Braised Lentils & Mash and last but certainly not least; the Coconut & Passionfruit Crème Brûlée.

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.

Moving on…

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.