I was delighted when I was asked if I want to sample the new menu at Chaophraya on Castle Street – partly because I’ve been there before and know how nice the food is and partly because who says no to thai food?! So yesterday Matthew and I took a break from the never-ending painting and enjoyed a luxurious three-course Thai lunch with cocktails – not something you do every weekend when you have kids!
The launch of the new menu is exciting: during the past six month the senior culinary brigade at Chaophraya have travelled to Thailand to find out the latest developments in Thai cuisine and brought this knowledge with them to Edinburgh. Judging by how busy the restaurant was it looks like the menu is going down a treat!
It was difficult to choose just one cocktail as the menu was full of delicious-sounding choices, but I finally settled for the Gentleman Badger on the right (Pimms, Gentleman Badger’s Sloe Gin, Ginger Ale, Lemonade) and Matthew for the Chiang Rai (Whitley Neil Gin, Kings Ginger, Lychee, Apple, Lemon, Soda). My drink was fruity and sweet and Matthew’s refreshing and light – both very nice!
All the painting meant we were pretty damn hungry, so you can imagine what a welcome sight this platter was! We quickly dug into the crispy and light vegetable tempura, tasty vegetable spring rolls and the deep fried sweetcorn cakes served with a cooling avocado dip and a zingy sweet chilli sauce. Yum!
For our main we shared one plate and each got our own main with meat for Matthew and fake meat for me…The new menu actually encourages guests to eat in true thai style: sharing dishes just like a families in Thailand tend to do.
Matthew is a huge fan of prawns so he quickly talked me into trying king prawns sautéed with shitake mushrooms, Thai ginger, spring onion and peppers. I thought the prawns were full of flavour and even tried a little bit of mushroom that actually tasted quite nice (Matthew is adamantly trying to get me to start eating mushrooms).
My main was a red curry with pineapple, courgettes, broccoli, thai aubergines and vegetarian duck. The curry had just the right amount of chilli for me: I could feel the heat but it didn’t take over my meal. I really liked the sweet pineapple but have to say I wasn’t a fan of the thai aubergines. The skin was hard and they didn’t really taste of anything. I don’t remember ever trying them in Thailand either where I spent 6 weeks back in 2008-2009.
Oh and the coconut rice was just perfect and so nicely wrapped up in banana (?) leaves. I wish I could make rice like that!
Matthew went for the massaman lamb curry with coconut milk, carrots, potatoes and baby onions topped with cashew nuts – apparently a favourite dish of the Thai Royal Family that dates back to the 16th century. It went down very well I can tell you!
As we don’t get many lush lunches like this we decided to have another drink! A glass of South African Sauvignon Blanc for me and a Guyana Grape (El Dorado 3 rum, basil, lemon, grapes, soda) cocktail for Matthew!
Finally we got to my favourite part of any meal: the dessert! Let me present a mango and passionfruit meringue roll served with Thai mango, roasted almonds and lightly caramelised strawberries. The mango and passionfruit went really well with the meringue and the fruit – I have to admit I ate most of Matthew’s piece as well…
A perfect end to a perfect lunch!
I have to give a shout out to the lovely staff that are so friendly and attentive. Chaophraya is one of those restaurants where you never have to wait to get anything even though the restaurant always seems to be quite busy.
I bet a lot of people struggle to pronounce the name!
I didn’t feel comfortable taking photos of the restaurant as there were so many guests so here’s a photo I’ve borrowed from bookatable.com. There is a seating area with all glass windows and outdoor terraces, which makes it a great place on a sunny day. We were first seated at a table with views of the castle, but it was too sunny and warm so we had to move (how often does that happen in Edinburgh?!)
Somebody’s clearly had a few too many cocktails and left her mark on that poor statue. You have to take the lift to get to the restaurant – that’s Matthew in the back waiting impatiently for me to take my photos so we can get in the lift…
The location couldn’t be better (see that glass terrace on the top of the house?): you’re bang in the middle of Edinburgh, right off the main shopping street with views of the city’s number one tourist attraction…
…Edinburgh Castle of course! Our lunch took over two hours so we jumped into a taxi to get home as quickly as possible to continue painting. If you like Thai food and looking for an inviting and stylish restaurant with amazing views I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Chaophraya!
x Nina x