Sitting high above the City, Chaophraya is the jewel in the crown for the new Eldon Square dining concept. As it’s namesake river, The Chao Phraya, works it way through the centre of Bangkok, the Newcastle version has settled nicely in to it’s new abode. We visited last week to check the views and most importantly the food so check out our Chaophraya Newcastle Review.
Chaophraya Newcastle Review
From the minute you enter this serene oasis, you’ll forget you are in the middle of the shopping centre and overlooking the busiest parts of the city. The floor to ceiling windows means almost every seat in the house is a good one with views a plenty. For those much needed warmer months, the seating is almost doubled thanks to a very funky outdoor terrace which is thankfully heated and under cover as well as what I can predict to be the BEST seats in the house on the balcony. There is also an opulent private dining suite too.
As we arrived hungry and eager, we let out server Carla talk us through the menu and the lunch time special menu before offering her favourite dishes from each section. Thankfully Carla’s recommendations were absolutely spot on and we mostly ordered from those! As my Brother in Law lives in Thailand we were already familiar with the dishes and traditional Thai greetings.
With fancy drinks, crackers and dip to tide us over, we soaked in the views and waited for our food. The service was attentive but not intrusive.
To get a good feel for the selection of lighter bites and starters, we opted for the Prawn Tom-Yum (£10), Thai Chicken Tacos (£7.50) and Ka Nom Jeeb Steamed Dumplings (£7).
Prawn Tom-Yum soup was an aromatic, sour burst of deliciousness that was poured fresh at the table. Large juicy prawns and mixed mushrooms gave the spicy chilli, galangal and lemongrass broth substance. The flavours were perfectly balanced and neither clashed nor fought for attention. A pretty good sized dish for a generous starter or if you combined it with another starter dish, it would make a great light bite for lunch. It won’t win any awards for beauty though!
Three Thai Chicken Tacos came oh so beautifully presented with dainty edible flowers. The chicken was lovely and tasty but lacked a massive thai curry punch that I’d want. The soft taco wrap was an interesting Thai take on a Mexican classic. We found them to be quite in insubstantial dish for a starter – we are glad we shared it. It is definitely worth trying though so bear it in mind!
A steaming hot bowl of Ka Nom Jeeb Dumplings, ah the beautiful garlicy spicy dumplings. I have craved these for a week now. God damn they were good. The pork filling was wrapped in the light steamed dumpling wrapper before being soused with a sweet soy sauce dressing, crispy fried garlic, coriander and slivers of chilli. This was so good. I’d recommend these, wholeheartedly. A definitely worthy dish and a great introduction to Thai food if you are a novice.
As town got busier, we happily sat back and did what we love most – people watching – while waiting for the mains.
Again taking Carla’s expert recommendation, we tried the Massaman Lamb Curry (£14). A historically significant dish from the 16th Century, huge chunks of tender lamb nestled amongst fresh potatoes and carrots in a south and spicy broth. Despite having coconut milk, the curry was far from sweet. It wasn’t as spicy as we thought it would be but the dish could be upped in the spice stakes if that floats your boat. It was a good medium spicy dish and very filling when served with a classic egg fried rice.
When my Chicken + Cashew Nuts (£12) arrived, I was mildly thinking it was quite a small serving but when combined with the sweet coconut rice, it was absolute perfection. The perfect portion. Crispy coated chicken was stir fried with cashew nuts, onions, peppers and crispy dried chilli so the veg was still crisp. A roasted red chilli sauce brought the fire to the meal. It wasn’t overly hot but helped to get the airwaves cleared and a kick to dish. The perfect balance between sauce and rice for a well rounded choice from the grill.
Both thoroughly happy with our choices so far, we were going to skip dessert until we heard all about the Chaophraya best seller – the Chcocolate Bombe (£7.50). Now I don’t have a sweet tooth and the husband isn’t a dessert man but when we saw the Thai whiskey ice cream and hot caramel sauce, we knew we would be on to a winner. With all the theatre and pzazz a diner could want, the fine chocolate shell is melted away before your eyes as the hot caramel sauce is drizzled from above. Inside, bursting forth is the whiskey ice cream, popcorn and a meringue nest.
The ice cream had a very potent kick to it which pleased the husband as he is a whiskey fiend. It was a little too strong for me but it went well with the chocolate and caramel to counteract the overall sweetness.
We absolutely LOVED our visit and were pleased we went during the day so that we could see the great views from the window. I think on an evening, all you’ll be able to see is your own reflection! I’m looking forward to summer evenings on that terrace! For all it was heralded as Newcastle’s most expensive and exclusive restaurant, I think it was pretty on par with most other offerings of it’s ilk. Lunch time specials, restaurant week and a 50% discount in January all make it an appealing place to try sooner rather than later.