Thailand. If you follow me on Twitter, you will probably be sick of hearing about my time there and how much I adore the place. Unfortunately, for you, I am planning my return as we speak so it would be rude of me not to pop in Chaophraya and check out the latest additions to their menu.
I love the opulence of Chaophraya. The draped voiles, spectacular artwork and low lighting compliments the excellent service and beautiful dishes leaving the kitchen. Their old menu is still available, but they have now added a ‘Thai Re-Invented’ section which includes a selection of dishes that are a little bit different. The dishes are inspired by owner Kim’s travels, yet with a traditional Thai spin. They are small plates so ideal to be served alongside your main, as a starter, or alone if you have a smaller appetite.
As we looked over the menu, this beauty arrived at the table. The staff are also super passionate about the menu and they were keen on showing off the new additions, in particular, this Sous Vide Lamb Shoulder and Charcoal Roast Aubergine. I usually turn my nose up at aubergine, but if someone could prepare this for me every day, I would be a total convert. The roasting gives it a slightly sweet flavour, whilst the charcoal adds a slight bitterness. The texture is much meatier than I’ve had before, it is truly delicious. The lamb is meltingly soft with an aromatic sweet lime dressing to finish off the dish and totally leaving me wanting it again and again.
Also available is the Sous Vide Pepper and Garlic Beef. As with the lamb, the beef was melt in the mouth soft. Lightly seasoned it had a slight kick of chilli and a great slug of garlic for a real hit of flavour. The Chicken Boxing didn’t sound like my kind of thing but they were delicious. Chicken wings marinated in Thai herbs and spices, they had a lovely crunchy shell with soft chicken on the inside. They are also a decent size so there is no weird nibbling needed either.
Obviously the Lamb Massaman Curry is not a new dish, but they do sous vide the lamb now to make it extra tender. It makes a massive difference and helps the flavours permeate the meat for a richer flavour. A new dish to the menu is the Spicy Riceberry and Basil with Chicken. The purple coloured rice is well known in Thailand for its health properties. It is high in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and fibre so perfect if you are after a healthier meal. The chicken served with it is stir fried with Thai basil, chilli and spring onion. It is light and fresh, yet heavily herbed with a strong kick of heat. It is beautiful and definitely something I will be back for.
After so much food we couldn’t manage a pudding but then Thai cuisine is not really known for its desserts, more of palate cleansers if you will. As always, we had a fabulous time at Chaophraya and the new menu is sure to be a hit with visitors. I love that they are pushing Thai cuisine out of the classics box and trying something new. The restaurant industry in Manchester is tough at the moment with so many eateries available. It is this kind of innovation that keeps venues fresh and inviting, I’ll be back soon. Perhaps when I have booked those flight tickets for my return to Bangkok…
I was invited to dine at Chaophraya as a guest and was not asked to pay for my meal.