Having visited Chaophraya a couple of times now, I was very happy to see that I had been allocated them to review for Aberdeen Restaurant Week. Located slap bang in the centre of Union Street, decorated traditionally thai with a modern twist, it's a fantastic place to go and enjoy a delicious meal or even just have a colourful cocktail. One of my highest recommendations for visiting during Aberdeen Restaurant Week.
With four starters to choose from I went for the first on the menu, the Crispy Chicken Tacos (Taco Gai). The chicken was red-curried and finished with a coconut milk and served on a light pan-seared rice flour taco. The chicken packed a heat and was very nicely complimented by the texture of the soft taco. This can also be made into a vegetarian option by swapping out the chicken for tofu.
Sam opted for the Chicken Spring Roll (For Pia Gai) to start. Now there's not much that can be said about a spring roll but these were hand rolled and filled with chicken, carrot, picked cabbage and vermicelli, served with a sweet chilli sauce. They had a nice crispiness to them and the flavours all went together well, the portion size was very good and it was a great start to his meal.
The other two starters available were; Steamed Pork Dumplings (Ka Nom Jeeb) which is topped with fried garlic and served with a sweet soy sauce and Sweetcorn Cakes (Tord Man Khao Pohd) which are served with a sweet chilli sauce. Plenty of options for all dietary requirements, a great selection of starters.
For his main Sam chose the Thai Green Curry (Gaeng Keow Wan Gai) which is a common choice when we visit. The dish is full of tender chicken and mixed with aubergine and courgette and a smooth coconut milk. This dish is a spicy one but the heat is slightly subdued by the accompanying boiled rice. It's a brilliant choice if you're after a filling main course.
Now I am known to be a fussy eater, a 'plain jane' if you will, but lately I have been going out of my comfort zone and trying new dishes so for my main I chose the Chicken Pad Thai (Pad Thai Gai). The national dish of Thailand, the chicken pad thai consists of stir-fried rice noodles in a tamarind sauce, strips of chicken, spring onions, carrots, egg, tofu, sweet turnip and bean sprouts - there's a lot going on in this dish.
With the crunch of the veg, the tenderness of the chicken and the broth-like taste of the noodles, all the flavours cohesively went together exceptionally well and the textures complimented each other. For having Pad Thai for the first time I was actually pleasantly surprised and would happily choose it again.
The other mains on offer are; a Traditional Papaya Salad (Som Tam) which boasts dried shrimps, peanuts, carrots, cherry tomatoes and shredded papaya and Crispy Pork Belly with Thai Basil (Moo Grab Pad Bra Prao) which is served with snap peas, peppers and tossed with fresh chillies and garlic.
I was surprised to see Sticky Toffee Pudding on the dessert menu but after reading they have done it with a Thai twist I was sold. Other than being beautifully presented, the pudding almost melted in my mouth. With the addition of lemon and ginger and its lack of chunky sultanas and currants it was wonderful. Served along with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream this take on a traditional sticky toffee pudding was brilliantly carried out.
Sam opted for a lighter dessert and settled on a few scoops of Mango sorbet. It was refreshing and cleansed his palette (his words, "it took away some of the heat left over from the curry").
There is also a selection of ice creams and other flavours of sorbet available for dessert if neither of the above take your fancy.
Chaophraya really have got presentation in the bag. For me, I eat with my eyes, so if the dish looks good then I'm more likely to try it and enjoy it. From entering to leaving, your visit at Chaophraya is an enjoyable and one. With every member of staff being polite, welcoming and eager to offer their food recommendations - I can't recommend them enough.