I was invited to last week’s press night at Chaophraya, the freshly opened upmarket Thai restaurant in Newcastle’s £25 million restaurant development Grey’s Quarter in Eldon Square. Thai Leisure Group’s flagship restaurant boasts an impressive rooftop setting and promises delicate cocktails and a modern take on Thai cuisine.
The restaurant has a classy vibe to it, transporting us straight back to some of the amazing hotels we’d been to when we got married in Thailand all those years ago when we could afford luxury holidays and only had ourselves to worry about. The traditionally dressed staff guided us through to the bar to sample some cocktails before the meal. The drinks menu was impressive and while Matthew had an alcohol-free beer (he’s been unshakable from his Dry January quest) I went straight for the gin (obvs) and had a stunning Hendrick’s-based cocktail with a watermelon flavoured tonic, served up with some delicious popcorn on the side.
We were taken through to our table which was on the covered terrace and kept well-stocked with spicy Thai prawn crackers and drinks while we ordered from the impressive menu. We opted for a vegetarian platter to start (£8.50 per person) which took nearly an hour to arrive, however the staff were so apologetic and obviously dealing with a lot given it was press night that we weren’t overly bothered. It’s funny the difference it makes when you don’t have the kids bellowing about how long their food’s going to take to arrive from the minute they’ve sat down.
The platter was a combination of sweetcorn cakes, spring rolls, vegetable tempura and Thai vegetable Tacos, served with two little portions of sweet chilli dip. We particularly loved the sweetcorn cakes and thought the Thai vegetable Tacos were a fresh idea – nice to have something that wasn’t deep fried as is the norm for starters at Thai restaurants.
For our mains, Matthew had the vegetarian Tofu Pad Thai – Stir-fried Thai rice noodles in tamarind sauce with tofu, spring onions, carrots, sweet turnip and bean sprouts, topped with pickled vegetables (£9). He ate it pretty much instantly, while I enjoyed the Spicy Beef Salad (£14.50) – slices of tender grilled beef sirloin mixed with a dressing made with lime, mint and chilli, tossed with grapes, tomatoes, red chilli and mixed green leaves. I wasn’t sure how grapes would go with this dish, but it was a really great combination.
We were far too full for desserts, which was a shame as the selection looks incredible. If I’d had room I would have gone for the Mango Meringue Roll £7.50 – a light Alphonso mango and passion fruit meringue roll served with Thai Mango and roasted almonds and lightly caramelised strawberries.
Ambience: Upmarket setting and attentive staff give it that special feel perfect for date nights or celebratory meals with friends
Value For money: It’s quite pricy, but it’s in keeping with the setting and the quality of the food and service
Would I go back? I’d definitely return for another date night if we were feeling flush!
15 Upper Level, Greys Quarter, Intu Eldon Square, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 7AP
Disclosure: We were guests of Chaophraya. All views are my own, I was not required to write a positive review