Over the past six months Chaophraya’s senior culinary brigade have travelled to Thailand to research the latest developments in Thai cuisine, blending this with the knowledge of their expert chefs and added a dash of imagination.
The result is a new menu that development chef Nattawut Leela believes takes Thai dining to a new level in the UK.
The new menu aims to deliver a sophisticated edge to Thai dining, offering a mix of eclectic and contemporary dishes inspired by tastes from across the Thai regions and drawing inspiration from the country’s rich culture.
As well as the new menu, look out for a full change to the logo and signage. The new black and gold bound menus look fantastic with their new branding. Clearly no expense has been spared there.
I’m pleased to say that some of my favourite dishes are still on the menu including the Phad Thai and Prawn Tom-Yum soup, which I consider to be some of the best in the city. But tonight we are going to sample some of their new dishes to see where this new direction has taken the food.
After a couple of Rubies & Diamonds (£7.50) – cocktails, not jewels unfortunately – we chose a couple of starters to share as the new menu encourages guests to embrace the traditional Thai way of dining family-style.
Soft Shell Crab & Squid Tempura (£12.50) is on the pricy side but the soft shell crab in particular is delicious, dissolving in the mouth in its lightly crisped batter. We just wished there were more of them.
Thai Chicken Tacos (£7.50) were elegant and probably the most ‘fine dining’ Thai starter I’ve ever eaten. Red curried chicken with coconut milk is served over lightly pan seared rice flour tacos. The flavours were delightful as they danced in your mouth.
We drank the Jean-Jacques Breton Le Fusil de Chasse Poully Fume (£42 bottle), the most fantastic crisp white and well worth the money.
For our main courses we shared Yellow Fish Curry (£18), a whole seabass baked with creamy yellow curry, soft potatoes, baby onions and Thai aubergines. A beautiful main course and a notch up from your standard green curry. This dish absolutely embodies where they are going with the changes they have introduced.
Duck Tamarind (£15.50) was a very well roasted duck with crispy skin, in palm sugar and tamarind sauce topped with fried shallots, cashew nuts, chilli, baby carrots and tenderstem broccoli. Another successful course. We chose Steamed Noodles (£3.50) and Crab Meat Fried Rice (£7.50) to accompany. We both loved the moreish noodles, but the rice had us divided. I wasn’t sure if it was just a bit too much and competed with some of the flavours but my companion gave it the thumbs up.
After all this food and having fully embraced the new ethos, we chose one dessert to share. Chocolate Bombe (£7.50) was easily the most successful seller in the room – pretty much every table ordered one. It’s a show-stopping melting spectacle with Thai Whiskey ice cream, honey, sesame popcorn and hot caramel sauce. It’s pretty delicious too, not too sweet with some good textures in there and the ice cream was stand out.
Chaophraya’s new menu is available from today. We loved the new dishes and direction and hope you do too!