Chaophraya

Bringing Thai dining to the heart of Newcastle, Chaophraya is an ideal classy spot (upstairs at the entrance to Eldon Square) to experience superb views of Greys Monument from its rooftop terrace. Carla, our hostess on the day, pleasantly asked us where we would like to sit, outside or inside. We chose inside so we could check out the stunning interior. Everywhere you turn, Chaophraya’s beauty hits you. The ambient lighting was sublime, particularly where we were sat which was by the window. The tall elegant seats had an opulent style. Without doubt, Chaophraya looked the part. It was impossible not to be impressed.

Settled, we ordered our drinks. With many cocktail options available, we decided to go for an Alexander X and an Amazing Thailand. The Alexander X was a strong, sharp whisky and the Amazing Thailand was a sweet, pineapple infusion. They were both outstanding. We will definitely come back for more cocktails – ideal to relax with on their rooftop terrace in the summer sun.

From a brand new expansive menu, we were ready to order our starters. It was a tough choice, but we decided to go all out and try the Khun Kim Grill Satay Platter for two. Sirloin steak, sugar snap peas, moo ping, chestnut mushrooms, chicken satay, aubergine and cherry tomato skewers served with barbecue, peanut and jaew sauces. It was a fabulous sight when our dishes arrived. Sizzling vigorously, the chicken satay was a joy to behold. Five kebabs of tender marinated chunks of chicken drizzled in coconut milk making them even more alluring – they were super. The steak was just as tender and served rare, just how I prefer it. The sauces were right up there as the best sauces I’ve ever had, particularly the peanut sauce which was a wonderful combination with the chicken. They all complemented the dish well and were a triumph of variation. The accompanied kebabs of juicy chestnut mushrooms, moist aubergine and crunchy sugar snap peas were all tremendous. As starters go, you’re not getting much better.

As we were about to order our mains, I couldn’t help but notice the place filling up. Even with the place more full, Chaophraya manages to maintain a serene yet charming atmosphere. It was a difficult choice to choose from such a wonderful selection of dishes on the menu. With guidance from Carla, who was an attentive host, we decided on Weeping Tiger Sirloin Steak and Lamb Massaman Curry, with Riceberry Rice and Ceviche Scallop Chilli and Dressing Nasturniums from the Thai Reimagined choice. When our dishes came, our table was filled with exotic colours and aromas of spice. The taste of the 21-day dry-aged Sirloin Steak falling apart as the black pepper sauce oozed thick, scintillating flavours that smacked my senses into life. Succulent, caramelised, tender large pieces of meat; the slow cooked Lamb Massaman was quite simply the dish of the day. At just the correct spice level for my palate (I asked for it hotter than usual) it was curry at its finest. My mouth is salivating thinking back to it. Thailand’s own superfood, Riceberry Rice was a major surprise. Unique, deep purple, organic rice full of goodness – it was the best rice I’ve ever had. Resting on a trio of leafy beds, the Scallop was beautifully presented and was a fresh, tangy addition. Our main event was an extremely delightful revelation.

Although we had scoffed so much food, we had to attempt dessert as Chaophraya was going for gold. Again, with excellent options on offer, we decided on a Chocolate Bombe and a Chocolate Box. Yes it was very sweet. Yes it was rich. Yes it was decadent. But can I have another Chocolate Bombe please? When the salted caramel sauce was poured, I was dazzled as the bombe subtly exploded before my eyes. The peanut mousse, peanuts and toffee were perfect fillings for the mesmerising sphere. The Chocolate Box, a dark and white chocolate mousse, came with with a dollop of toasted coconut ice-cream and an intimate dash of berry sauce. The smoothness of the mousse combined with the coconut ice-cream was beautiful. Chaophraya can do desserts. In fact, Chaophraya can do cuisine!

In essence: the setting, the location and particularly the food at Chaophraya is top notch – it offers a special, luxurious dining experience. If you’re still deciding what to do today, go and try Chaophraya out – it’ll blow your mind.

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