Food profile - Chaophraya, Manchester
00:00 14 October 2016
Thai culture and a contemporary new menu combine to make Chaophraya a delight, writes Louise Allen-Taylor
As there are so many places to find Thai cuisine in Manchester, Chaophraya should have a challenge on its hand when trying to set itself apart from the rest.
However, stepping into this glorious venue with sunken seating, open kitchen and beautiful bar, one immediately recognises that it is the cocktail of glamour and comfort which sets this restaurant apart from the competition. Speaking of cocktails, Chaophraya’s ability to exist simultaneously as a high-quality eatery, celebrity magnet and elegant bar is a strong point. Being greeted with exquisite cocktails such as Rubies and Diamonds and the Chiang Rai, the tone for the rest of the meal was set.
After enjoying prawn crackers as an appetiser, we moved to the starter course and enjoyed the new Maeklong platter (£9.50 per person). Named after the Maeklong River, this platter features Chicken Satay, Pork Dumplings and Sweetcorn Cakes, all provided with mouth-watering peanut satay and sweet chili sauces. This platter served as an introduction to Chaophraya’s new menu which reaches back to the restaurant’s roots, taking influence from the subtle provincial culinary differences of Thailand.
Development Chef of Chaophraya, Nattawut Leela says: ‘The launch of our new menu is a really exciting development for Chaophraya. Over the past six months our senior culinary brigade have travelled to Thailand to research the latest developments in Thai cuisine and we have blended this with the knowledge of our expert chefs in our restaurants.’
Featuring contemporary twists on Thai specialities such as Thai Tacos and the Himalayan salt block cooked sirloin steak, the new menu reinterprets authentic cuisine for a Western palate.
Throughout all this reimagining of Thai cuisine, Chaophraya’s food is still genuine and true to its origins, with the Lamb Massaman curry (£14) attesting to this: tender pieces of lamb downed in a full-bodied broth with flavours of coconut, star anise and cinnamon. Accompaniment came from a banana-leaf enclosed Coconut Rice (£4.50) that showed the restaurant’s ability to enliven even the necessities of an oriental meal. Another good example of this was the Crab Meat Fried Rice (£4.50) which when partnered with the moist, flaky Steamed Sea Bass Fillets (£17.50) made for an elegant dish.
Impressive mains must be followed by decadent desserts and Chaophraya delivered with an impressive selection (all priced at £7.50). Opting for the Mango Meringue Roll, I sampled a passion fruit meringue roll complemented with mango, roasted almonds and caramelised strawberries - a fragrant and fruity dish. Missing out on other tempting dishes such as the White Chocolate Box and Coconut Panna Cotta, we were sad to leave without sampling the whole menu so a return visit must be planned!
All this - cocktails, food and wines - is presented by servers in traditional costumes. Thai culture and a contemporary dining experience combine to make this a delightful, chic restaurant.
Taking inspiration from the Chaophraya River as the spiritual heart of Thailand, this restaurant’s new menu and continuing reputation are sure to solidify Chaophraya’s position at the heart of Manchester’s dining scene.
Chaophraya, 19 Chapel Walks, Manchester, M2 1HN Tel 0161 832 8342 www.chaophraya.co.uk