Let me introduce you to the latest Thai restaurant on the scene, joining the trendy redeveloped area of Eldon Square, right in the heart of Newcastle city centre.
From the outside, Chaophraya looks impressive. With two entrances; one fronted by a huge buddha, actually transported all the way from Thailand, the other through the lift at the end of Grey's Quarter, you're taken to the restaurant. Surrounded by buddhas, elephants and luxurious textures, you could be in Thailand, not Newcastle! It isn't until you step out onto the terrace, or nab a window seat, that you can see the city stretching out in front of you.
We were seated on the terrace when we visited (though thankfully the roof was over us and some heat lamps - definitely necessary on a cold January night) in a plush booth, with a birdcage style light hanging above us. I liked the ambient lighting and can imagine it's going to be a very popular place on the lighter evenings, when there's a hint of warmth in the air.
Selecting drinks, my boyfriend chose a bottle of Singha, whilst I opted for the Rubies and Diamonds cocktail, a refreshing mix of pomegranate and Pinot Grigio. There's such a good selection of cocktails (and mocktails if you're not that way inclined) and staff are helpful if, like me, you know what you like but feel a bit overwhelmed by the menu.
Now I haven't yet mentioned but my boyfriend, Lewis, is quite the Thai food fan; I'd probably go as far to say it's up there as one of his favourite cuisines. We even went to a thai restaurant on our first date - there's a fun fact for you! So the waitress took us through the menu quickly, then we took some time to read through and decide which dishes we wanted to try. Opting for the Maeklong Platter, their most popular starter, with a selection of chicken satay, prawn and pork dumplings, sweetcorn cakes and chicken spring rolls. I like to pick sharing starters or platters since I find you can eat as much, or as little as you like and it's always a good way to discover new flavours you like.
Onto mains, I had the Chicken Green Curry with sticky rice whilst Lewis had the Teriyaki Lamb and Egg Fried Rice. It's worth mentioning that you have to order your rice/noodles/any sides separately, they're not always included in main dishes. We ordered a rice each and in hindsight, probably could've shared one. Though perhaps if you skip the starters, you might want your own full portion. My curry was really good, with plenty of chicken. If you want to ease your way into Thai curries, I'd recommend it though there's plenty other dishes on the menu too! Lewis' Teriyaki Lamb looked the part, arriving on a sizzling plate and tasted great too. I'm not the biggest lamb fan, but this meat was tender and full of flavour. Served with a range of dressings and some vegetables, it's one of the pricier dishes on the menu, but it's a good cut of meat.
Because I always leave room for dessert, we opted to try the Chocolate Bombe and the Mango Meringue Roll. I enjoyed the Chocolate Bombe and if you have a serious sweet tooth, you'll love it, whisky ice cream, lashings of chocolate, with more chocolate honey, popcorn and hot caramel sauce. It literally melts before your eyes. For something lighter and more refreshing, the Mango Meringue Roll is a good choice. Lewis was surprised he finished it after our feast, but it was light and fruity, served with mango, strawberries and some roasted almonds.
Wanting to get the full experience; I also tasted one of the after dinner cocktails; Mexican Pudding, which was a boozy iced latte, and delicious. Because it had cream, rum and espresso in, it was quite heavy so definitely something to sip on whilst taking in the views - and probably pass on the Chocolate Bombe. It's a one-or-the-other situation, unless you want to be super duper full!
Our our way out into the January night we decided that we will be returning to Chaophraya. It's a chain that feels friendly, has a good atmosphere and I'm sure is going to be very popular, for drinks especially, in the summer. It's on the pricier end of the restaurants within the newly redeveloped Grey's Quarter, (Lewis' lamb dish was £21 and desserts are £7.50) but with the location and the quality of the food, I wouldn't let that put you off. I think it's a great place to go for some drinks at the bar, or for a meal for a treat or special occasion.
We were invited for dinner in exchange for a review. All words and photos are my own. Thank you for the invite!