At first glance, Chaopraya seems to be a successful venture. The beautiful interiors are splendidly opulent, the rooms grand in size and renovated to a standard that really restored the building to its former beauty. If this review was purely about the aesthetics then Chaopraya would receive full marks. Unfortunately, good looks aren't enough when your main focus is food.
At 8 PM on a Monday night we were poilitely greeted by a hostess who took us upstairs and sat us in a rather uninspired and decidedly poorly placed table for two. The restaurant was pretty full for a Monday but not out of control. Fifteen minutes passed during which time three waitresses and one waiter did their best to avoid eye contact. We finally managed to snag someone and asked to sit next to one of the large windows in the former ballroom. Eventually we were asked for drinks and sometime after that for food. The drinks took another fifteen minutes and arrived without the glasses of water we requested. The Thai cocktails were well-mixed but nothing exceptional. We had a Siam Smile and a Sunbeam.
To start we each had the chicken spring rolls. They came out of the kitchen fairly quickly and were hot and crispy. The presentation was beautiful and the size generous. They had great potential but were not consistent in taste. Some spring rolls contained the perfect ratio of chicken and vegetables while others contained almost no vegetables and very difficult to eat stringy mushrooms. As a spring roll aficionado it was slightly disappointing. I don't think I've ever had spring rolls with such different consistencies. They weren't terrible, and actually could have been superb were it for a little quality control.
Our mains were the Weeping Tiger and the Black Pepper Beef with two portions of sticky rice. Again, both dishes had potential. The flavours weren't particularly novel but they were tasty. A brown garlicky pepper sauce of good consistency with peppers, onions and beef arrived on a sizzling platter. It felt a bit gimmicky and was a pretty small portion for the price. The beef looked lovely but undermined the whole meal. It was chewy and full of hidden bits of gristle. We ended up having to remove these bits and relocate them to the empty pots of rice. The Weeping Tiger dish is listed as a signature dish in their menu but it was a complete and utter let down. At £15.95 it was a low point. As to why we didn't send it back, our waitress seemed to have enough difficulty understanding our order the first time around. She was polite, but her manner was somewhat abrupt.
After the disappointing mains we decided to skip dessert. It's a real shame as we had been really excited to try the restaurant and saved the experience for our anniversary. We would return for drinks and starters but probably not for mains.
If you own or manage Chaophraya Restaurant and Palm Sugar Bar, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.