As a general rule of thumb, I tend to avoid chain restaurants in favour of great, independent eateries. However, from the first time I ate at Chaophraya in Newcastle, I knew that this was going to be one of a few exceptions to that rule! This Thai restaurant is not only elegant and luxurious with fantastic views of Newcastle city centre, but the food it serves is of a very high quality. Last night, a friend and I enjoyed the Chaophraya Set Menu and a couple of cocktails at the top of Eldon Square, looking right out over Newcastle’s International Christmas Markets. Couldn’t ask for much better!
At £30 per person, the Chaophraya Set Menu is one of a selection of banquets offered by the restaurant, aside from their A La Carte Menu. After enjoying a complimentary bowl of delicious Thai prawn crackers with a fiery sweet chilli sauce, prepare to get excited by the Chaophraya Sharing Platter starter!
This platter is filled with all sorts of mouth-watering Thai appetisers, including chicken satay skewers, Thai fishcakes, spring rolls, tempura prawns and a tangy papaya salad. Complete with peanut and sweet chilli dipping sauces, this sizeable sharing platter is enough to get your taste buds tingling. The only part of it that didn’t strike the right chord with me was the Thai fishcakes, which were a peculiar texture and tasted more meaty than fishy. On the whole though, this was definitely a winning starter!
If you’re going to go for this set menu option, I’d recommend arriving with loose-fitting, stretchy clothing on! The portion sizes are fantastically generous and you need to somehow make room for all the treats that the second course has in store for you, after the sharing platter and a few cocktails (we went for a Siam Smile and Yok Lur cocktail).
For our main course we were served not one, but five plates of food! The aromas coming from these dishes were really quite mouth-watering – we couldn’t wait to tuck in. I’m not usually one for salads, and would never normally pick one from a menu, but the Crispy Duck Salad with cucumber, spring onions and pomegranate seeds really won me over! We enjoyed this along with a creamy Thai Green Chicken Curry, a beautiful Crispy Duck with Thai Basil dish and some steamed Jasmine rice. Another dish that came as part of the package was a Tofu Pad Thai – I am much more of a meat-eater than a tofu-eater, but the noodles tossed with lime juice and peanuts were really tasty.
Safe to say, we didn’t quite manage to finish our table-full of Thai food, although we would have liked to! Not only was the food fantastic, but the service was attentive, the atmosphere relaxed and the panoramic views great! For the amount of good food you got with the Chaophraya Set Menu, I’d definitely say that it is value for money. Finish off your experience with a few more cocktails on the covered roof terrace, and you have the perfect mid-week meal out with someone special.
Overall rating: ****
Pro(s): Very few faults with the food or cocktails, highly enjoyable. Great venue for a memorable dining experience.
Con(s): As I said, I wasn’t too keen on a couple of the set menu elements but that is completely personal preference!