I’m letting you all in on a little secret. I used to work in a Thai restaurant when I was at college. This was not a great for my street cred but neither was my knitwear collection for a teenager, but, I have always been a grafter and a jobs a job and I put my blooming all into anything that I ever did and still do. I had to dress up in traditional Thai dress, tiny outfits that were way too tight for me with a flower in my hair and waddle around the restaurant trying not to trip up. I do remember crying in the cutlery cupboard a fair few times as I didn’t know the difference between a Koong Choop Pang Tod and a Por Pia Pak. Oh, teenage life ey?
In all honestly I have got to give that job some credit as not only did it open my taste buds to Singa beer but it it opened my eyes into trying real authentic Thai food that I fell in love with, with no going back. I was hooked the instant I tried a spicy beef salad and the rest as you say is history.
When I got invited to pop up to Newcastle at the start of this month to try out Eldon’s Square’s newest foodie joint I was on that train faster than a speeding bullet.
Chaophraya (Chow-pry-a) is a river that flow through Thailand but it is also one if the most amazing places I have eaten in in Newcastle. The restaurant explores different regions of Thailand offering contemporary food in some pretty special and unique surroundings.
I had a good old read of the menu online before I headed up, as I love to drool over my most favourite food and get excited as to what I want to fill my face with. Oh boy, there was far too much that I wanted to tuck into.
It is always a starter that makes me weak at the knees and it was a toss up for me between chicken satay or sweetcorn cakes. However the Maeklong Platter was on the cards that eveing so I could get the best of both worlds. It was ordered and then it was time to sit back and relax with a Chang beer and take in the most beautiful views of Newcastle’s Monument.
A huge platter full of Thai delights such as chicken satay, prawn & pork dumplings, chicken spring rolls, Thai vegetable tacos and sweetcorn cakes was placed in front of us and then the games began. That peanut satay could have come home with me in a vat full and I would have died a happy, happy lady.
This place is stunning. Attention to detail is fantastic and it feels like the restaurant it goes on for miles. No cutlery cupboard in sight! The kitchen is open and right in the middle of the restaurant which I always love being the beating the heart of everything food related. The presentation of the starter was second to non and it was demolished without a crumb to spare.
The staff could not have been any more attentive and ever so knowledgeable on what was on offer. Sitting, chatting and filling our faces it was agreed that you could sit here for hours and not feel like you were outstaying your welcome. Even though the restaurant was jam packed the big comfy ass chairs gave you enough room for your table and your guests to think you were the only people in there which is always a bonus.
The food here is on another level and I was so excited to tuck right in. Chicken with cashew nuts for my guest and a Massaman Lamb Curry for myself with a cheeky side of sticky rice and sugar snap peas, mushroom & tender stem broccoli to add to the Thai party.
The Chicken in cashew nuts was so tasty, as yes, I of course did sample and dig right in without a care in the world. Stir-fried crispy chicken with cashew nuts, onions, peppers, spring onions in a roasted red chilli and crispy chilli sauce really wowed me. With the Massaman lamb curry being a standard choice for me (there is something about nuts and coconut that do it for me) I couldn’t wait to grab a spoon of that sticky rice and dive right in.
Massaman is one of Thailand’s most favourite dishes of the Thai Royal Family dating back to the 16th Century. Check out that info!
Coconut milk, carrots, potatoes, baby onions and cashew nuts complemented the tender lamb beyond belief. A spice mix of turmeric, star anise, cardamom, cinnamon and chillies really got my juice flowing.
With a nice little break in between courses to chat and people watch of course, I was well aware of how full I was getting with a nice food baby appearing right before my eyes. The dessert menu came and went and a white chocolate box was ordered to share. A white chocolate mousse with raspberry coulis on butter shortbread with a mini macaroon and passion fruit syrup was the perfect texture and fluffiness to not overkill and send me into a food coma.
I am so happy to find a smashing Thai restaurant that I can visit next time I am in the Toon.
You can find Chaophraya in Eldon Square, 15 Upper Level, Greys Quarter and make sure you check out the huge Thai statue on your way in. This is making me so hungry writing about it and it’s only breakfast time. I may need to leave this here and whip up some satay to get my through the day. That’s normal right?
* I was a lucky guest of Chaophraya for this visit. Thank you to Jenny for inviting me. All view and options are my own as you all know but seriously guys, I don’t even think this post does it justice. Take my word for it and get yourself up there and use this Chao Pass and try it out for yourself.
Love Carli x