[Manchester] Chaophraya - review
OK, folks – Mrs H & I are no longer “Thai virgins”. Our thanks to members who, on my other thread, gave us some great ideas about how to put our dinner together. It worked well.
This was a completely new cuisine for us and, in truth, it’s a long time since I was so excited about the prospect of going out to eat. We havn’t been disappointed.
Chaophrya is located in what, in some cities, might be described as a “restaurant row” but in Manchester is a back ginnel known as Chapel Works – it’s up the street from the Grinch Grill; opposite the Brasserie Blanc and upstairs from Sam’s Chop House. There’s a bar on the ground floor and the restaurant on the first.
Nice room, although the tables were a tad close (unfortunately we couldnt nosy at the next table as they were Scandanavian). Service was excellent – efficient, friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. As to food:-
Tod Mun Pla – good flavoured fishcakes came with a sweet chilli dipping sauce and another that was rice wine or similar. Texture was odd – we expected these to be “melt in the mouth” but were much more solid and chewy. Mrs H was not at all keen. And I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat it them again.
Second starter of Yam Nua Yang Saranae – good flavoursome beef cooked perfectly to rare. Fresh flavours in the salad – liked the mint particularly (unusual to our tastebuds to have it paired with beef not lamb). In a strange turn of events, Mrs H , who is usually a salt addict, thought it a bit too salty whereas I, who never adds salt to food (and for health reasons generally keep it to a minimum) thought it fine. Nice big slices of a fearsome red chilli.
First main of Plapao – chargrilled sea bass, stuffed with Thai herbs. Heavy on the basil and with a dipping sauce comprised mainly of fish sauce. This was a spankingly fresh piece of fish, cooked to perfection and easily the best dish of the evening. And the simplest.
Second main of a Gaeng Pa – described as a “jungle curry”, we chose to have it with pork. A good array of veg made for interesting tastes and textures, a citrussy hit coming from galangal. However, by now we were having a serious chilli build-up and it was starting to be difficult to detect much over the heat.
We had the mains with a Som Tum salad. Loved this – great dish to have on the side with the spicier stuff. Good mix of the sweet from the papaya and sugar (?) and the sour from lime juice. We also had a portion of sticky rice (didn’t like it) and a portion of “half & half” jasmine and brown rice (did like it).
Herself had drunk a G & T and a pint and I’d had a bottle of fizzy water. Bill came to an excellent value £57. Can’t fault the experience.