This place really is Thai with a twist yet manages to avoid all the pitfalls of the so called "fusion food" concept which, thankfully, seems to be on the retreat.
We went for a pre-theatre meal. We booked a table and were glad we did as the place was already buzzing at 6.30. Friendly greeting from the staff at the desk and taken straight away to our table on the first floor. The decor is of a high standard and, while the restaurant is large, it has been split up into smaller and more intimate areas.
The service throughout was friendly and efficient without being overwhelming. We were asked if we wanted drinks shortly after taking our seats and our waitress obviously kept an eye and reappeared when it was clear we were ready to order food.
We shared a chicken satay for starters which arrived quickly and was beautifully presented. For mains my wife had lamb shank, something I have never seen in any Thai restaurant. It was presented in a tagine style vessel so perhaps the chef has drawn some inspiration from Morocco. The lamb did not fall off the bone in a way that I have experienced lamb shank before but it was beautifully cooked and sat in a delicious yellow curry sauce. I ordered Panang Beef Curry. Beautifully tended strips of beef in a coconut infused curry sauce which gave the heat of the chillies without any burning sensation. Again beautifully presented and delicious.
This restaurant is not particularly cheap but the high standard of cooking, presentation and overall ambience actually make it great value for money, certainly as far as the food and service is concerned.
I would have given Chaophraya 5 stars but for a couple of things. Firstly, both the beef curry and lamb shank arrived at the table on cold dishes. While the food was hot when it came it cooled considerably while we were eating. This is not acceptable in a restaurant of this standard.
Secondly their wine is far too expensive with mark ups higher here than in many restaurants in which I have eaten. For example Andes Peaks Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, which retails at about £5.50 is on the menu at £18.75 which is far too expensive for what is a reasonable but not outstanding wine. Moko Black Marlborough Sauv Blanc, a fairly bog standard New Zealand white which can be bought for less than £8.00 was on the menu at £26.25. We all expect to pay more in a restaurant but this is just being greedy.
Lastly, I go to a restaurant to eat and enjoy conversation and judging by the buzz around me everyone else was doing the same. So you don't need background music thumping out. Please get rid of it.
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