I heard about Chaophraya on twitter and was intrigued. I can’t remember eating at any Thai restaurants in Glasgow, so I was keen to give this a try. It only opened in July and the Glasgow branch (it is part of a family-run chain) is the largest Thai restaurant in Europe.
Chaophraya is located just off Buchanan Street, in the Town House building. The building has been beautifully restored (it apparently used to be a furniture store but that is before my time living in Glasgow!) and it is really adds to the atmosphere of the place. We firstly went in and had a drink at the bar, as we were about half an hour early for our booking. The bar is called “Palm Sugar” and would be a great place to pop in for a drink and snack if you’re tired from shopping. I had a cocktail from the authentic Thai cocktails list – Yok Lor which is a combination of all my favourite things: berries, vodka, chambord and cranberry. It was absolutely delicious! Graeme tried a draught beer called Yom which was a light, refreshing and easy to drink beer. It was also great with some of the spicy dishes we were about to eat!
We then moved upstairs to the ballroom for our meal – sounds fancy! It is literally a beautiful, large ballroom which has been converted into a dining space. It wasn’t what it sounds like though – the large space is cleverly sectioned into different dining areas so it actually feels like an intimate space.
Stock photo provided by DADA
Looking over the ballroom
I had looked at the menu before we went, and to be honest, I was overwhelmed! The menu is long, and gives you a lot of options. As well as an a la carte menu, there are various banquets to choose from. There is also a special Scottish Fusion menu for the Glasgow restaurant which had heaps of interesting dishes on it. In the end, we went for the easy option – the Maenem Yom banquet, consisting of an appetising platter of 5 different dishes, and then 4 mains with a side of egg fried rice.
Appetiser platter – Maenum Yom Menu:
PORK SPARE RIBS
Grilled pork spare ribs marinated with fresh Thai herbs and homemade barbecue sauce, served with grilled pineapple and pink peppercorns.
Our classic dish of chicken bamboo skewers, carefully grilled over charcoal, served with
homemade peanut sauce.
Prawn, crab meat and chicken mixed with water chestnuts, spring onion and coriander root, steamed in a wonton wrapper and topped with fried garlic and a sweet soy sauce.
PRAWN & CHICKEN TOAST
Finely diced prawn and chicken blended with Thai herbs served on fried bread.
DEEP FRIED MARINATED PORK
Pork marinated with honey and Thai herbs, deep fried and garnished with sesame seeds.
When ordering, our waitress had asked whether we wanted our spicy dishes toned down, or if we were happy to go with the usual level of spiciness. I liked this consideration as some of the dishes we ate would definitely be too spicy for some people! I like a challenge however so we ordered the dishes as they would usually be prepared.
This appetiser platter was a good, well portioned size for two people. I liked that there was just two servings of everything – any more and we wouldn’t have been able to eat our mains! Each item was explained by the waiter (in case you forget what was on the platter) as well as telling us which sauces went with which item. Everything on this platter was really tasty and I really liked the mix of different flavours and spice levels.
With a little bit of a rest, it was time to move onto our mains.
FOUR SEASONS DUCK CURRY
Four-seasonal fruits of grape, pineapple, strawberry and tomato cooked in a flavourful curry sauce with roasted duck and sweet basil.
I love duck, and I love curry, but I wouldn’t have ordered this from reading the description on the a la carte menu. I cannot handle the idea of fruit in a savoury main dish! This curry however, changed my mind, and I happily scoffed up all the pieces of fruit. It just worked so well, the sauce was creamy and had a nice spice without being hot, and the fruit and duck worked really well together.
CRISPY PORK BELLY WITH THAI BASIL
Street-style pan fried crispy pork belly tossed with fresh
chillies, garlic, green beans and hot basil leaves.
I tried some of this but ended up leaving it to Graeme – there was nothing wrong with the dish, I just really cannot stomach pork belly! Graeme loved it though, and it was definitely one of the dishes cooked to a Thai level of heat. The chilli didn’t overpower the rest of the flavours though, and the belly was of a good quality.
BEEF IN BLACK PEPPER SAUCE
Sliced beef stir fried with onions, peppers, spring onions and black pepper sauce served on a sizzling plate.
This beef was tender and flavoursome, and anything served on a sizzling plate always seems that little bit more exciting!
KING PRAWNS WITH GINGER
King prawns sautéed with straw mushrooms, fresh ginger, peppers, onions, spring onions, chilli and soya beans
Any loyal readers will know my fixation (obsession?) for prawns – and proper sized ones! These were actual king prawns! I was delighted. It meant I actually had 3 mouthfuls of prawn for each one! I really liked this dish to finish off with as it was light and refreshing, and I was pretty overwhelmed by all the food we’d eaten so far. All the mains were served to the table at the same time, with the egg fried rice, so you could relax and eat at your own pace.
FRESH FRUIT FONDUE
This was a great finisher – the chocolate was rich without being too rich or too sweet. Graeme would have happily eaten the chocolate straight out of the fondue pot if he’d had a spoon, I’m sure!
We were then treated to a tour to see the rest of the space. Floors 1 & 2 are the bar and restaurant areas, while the top two floors are the private dining areas. Two of the rooms were in use so I didn’t take photos in there, but there are 4 large dining areas that you can hire for any kind of function, as well as the balcony overlooking the ballroom for a private dinner for two and a whisky bar.
They will also be offering cooking lessons in one of the private dining areas – £60.00 for 3 hours and (of course) you get to eat the food afterwards!
I had a great time visiting Chaophraya. It isn’t the same as going to a restaurant, it’s a bit more of an experience and something completely different to anywhere I’ve been in Glasgow before. While it could have felt similar to other restaurants and bars in Glasgow listed buildings (I’m thinking the Blysthwood or The Corinthian), the layout and the decor gives the place it’s own identity. A special mention has to go to the staff, who were all extremely welcoming and friendly. Have you been, and if so, what dishes would you recommend for our return visit?
The Glasgow Food Blog dined as guests of DADA Events Ltd.