Value for money
We jumped at the chance to sample the new menu at Chaophraya on Edinburgh’s Castle Street. A meal at Chaophraya, by some measure the best known Thai restaurant Edinburgh offers, is always an experience, so we were interested to see how things are developing. Here are five things to note before you put a visit to Chaophraya in your diary.
You can’t beat this location
This will be old news to anyone familiar with Chaophraya, but the Thai Restaurant occupies the most stunning New Town location in the city, set as it is on a rooftop corner at the intersection of Castle Street and George Street.
The whole restaurant is exotically decorated, but don’t miss a table under the extensive rooftop canopy, with views of the Forth and toward the West End – you’ll feel cheated.
Chaophraya want you to fly with them
Chaophraya’s management are cannily aware that today’s restaurant-goers are looking for memorable experiences not just good food. To do this, Chaophraya Edinburgh is being re-shaped into a ‘journey through Thailand’, with its beautiful map-like menu as a guide. This is reflected in the decor, and future changes will even include ‘boarding pass’ style booking confirmations.
Simple, un-fussy dining it certainly isn’t, but it is a nice talking point, and not overly intrusive.
Look out for a touch of theatre
To complement your surroundings, Chaophraya aim to surprise and delight with a touch of ceremony and theatre thrown in to the dining experience. It would have taken a heart of stone not to smile when my Thai whiskey ice cream and chocolate bombe sunk into a sweet, gooey mess under its assault of hot caramel sauce poured on by my servitor.
Also look out for smoking cocktails, sharing platters, and a contemporary twist on Phad Thai.
Take time over your menu choices
Service at Chaophraya was charming and attentive without being obsequious. Putting my choices entirely in the hands of the charming waitress, I was a little surprised to be recommended the Thai fishcakes to start and the Massaman lamb curry to follow.
I can’t complain, as the cooking was unimpeachable, but I couldn’t help feeling that as far as a new twist on Thai cuisine was concerned, we didn’t really get out of 2nd gear.
But the food does hold up
Having said that, I must stress it was still clean plates all round. Fishcakes (cod and coley) had just enough ‘chew’ to the texture, and the Massaman lamb curry (cooked slowly with root vegetables and coconut milk) was delicious. I had enjoined that I wasn’t keen on ‘too much spice’ (a silly thing to say), and what came was more of a mild stew – lightly-spiced but in a way that meant the lamb, potato and carrot were still present. I’d be equally descriptive of the Chocolate bombe, but I’m sad to say it wasn’t around for long enough to form a detailed opinion.
Verdict: The most lavish Thai restaurant Edinburgh has to offer
Chaophraya’s ongoing changes have re-affirmed its position as the top destination Thai restaurant Edinburgh has to offer. It’s ideal for anyone wishing to impress, or any occasion where there might be a danger of conversation drying up. Happily it also has the food and service to back up its showy surroundings.