Chaophraya is a restaurant that is recommended in Edinburgh time and time again but one that I hadn't gotten around to visiting. It promises excellent views over Edinburgh and the castle and some really high quality, authentic Thai food. Chaophraya has been in Edinburgh for a few years now and there are a few other branches in Scotland and England. This is the first time in years that they've launched a new menu and I was very kindly invited along to review. We attended on a Thursday night and I took along my friend Kathryn as a little celebration for finishing our first week of third year. With a glass box dining area offering an amazing view of Edinburgh castle and the rest of the city this restaurant packs a pretty impressive punch when it comes to atmosphere. With lots of amazing authentic decorations, a beautiful salt water fish tank and lots of atmospheric lighting there is a lot to catch your eye. Chaophraya are paying attention to all the little details - everything down to the waiting staff's uniforms are incredibly intricate.
Is there a better way to start off a celebration than a few cocktails? I don't think so! I orderd the yok lor - Absolut raspberry vodka, Chambord, raspberry, strawberry and cranberry. This was such a lovely cocktail. Sweet and refreshing. The perfect start to a terrific meal. Karthryn had a mango passion - Absolut mango vodka, coconut, mango, lime and vanilla. Another great cocktail. The flavours all really work together and it came with a lovely little edible flower decoration.
The new menu is laid out like a map. Offering you a journey of discovery through Thai cuisine. When I saw the steamed dumplings on the menu I couldn't say no as they're my favourite. The dish came with two types of dumplings: prawn and pork. Both were absolutely delicious. Melt in the mouth. The fillings both had a really strong flavour to them that made them so moreish. They came served with fried garlic and a sweet soy sauce that really complemented them. The presentation was gorgeous and they came in a really beautiful little round glass bowl. The presentation is something that was obviously taken very seriously at Chaophraya as all the dishes looked absolutely perfect.
My friend opted for the thai fish cakes - a classic! Kathryn really enjoyed them and thought that the dipping sauce really stole the show. However they were a little tough which made them difficult to cut and eat. When I read Gillian's blog post - whom we bumped into on the night - I noticed that they'd felt the same way. I tried these too and thought that they had a really lovely flavour to them. The real spicey thai flavours really came across and complimented the fish well.
For my main course I opted for the duck tamarind with a side of egg fried rice. I'm a big fan of duck but have never tried tamarind before so I was really excited to see how they complemented each other. The tamarind flavour is quite similar to plum and worked really well with the duck. The duck meat was really succulent but had that classic crispy skin. The dish was very rich so it was nice that it came with a selection of greens to add a little bit of refreshment. However, I wasn't overly impressed with the rice which I found to be a little greasy.
Kathryn ordered a Thai green chicken curry. After visiting her cousin who lives in Bali this summer and having eaten a Thai green curry out in Asia we were interested to see how Chaophraya's dish would compare. Well gold stars to Chaophraya as this one was a winner. The sauce was really rich and spicy. Packed with lots of flavour, meat and a good mix of veg. Served with a side of sticky rice. Like the duck it was very rich and as we were eating three courses neither of us had space to finish. The portion sizes were really generous so you're definitely getting a good meal.
When time came around for dessert we were pretty full. Panna cotta is my favourite dessert and when I saw coconut panna cotta on the menu it really caught my eye. It comes served with lime and lemongrass sorbet, fruit compote and crushed meringue. The presentation was as per - amazing. And this was hands down the best panna cotta I've ever had in my life. The coconut flavour was so strong and fresh. It really works with the creaminess of a panna cotta. As the main dish is quite rich the tartness of the sorbet was really complimentary and I'm glad it was there!
And lastly Kathryn ordered the mango meringue roll. This dish looks spectacular and she really enjoyed it. The dessert menu isn't big but everything seems really well thought out and packed with interesting flavours. The meringue is really like and crispy - it works really well with the refreshing fruit flavours. A really nice way to end the meal!
We had such a lovely evening at Chaophraya feasting on such a great selection of Thai food and drinking amazing cocktails. The restaurant has a special atmosphere. It would work really well for a special occasion like a birthday or an anniversary but we still had a lovely meal there as a midweek treat. The restaurant was very busy - it's clearly a popular choice and I can understand why. I'd really recommend it if you're looking for some classy, unique eating in central Edinburgh.
Chaophraya can be found at 33 Castle Street and you can read their full menu here.
Disclaimer: This meal was complimentary in exchange for review. All opinions are my own.