Updated: Saturday, 20th October 2018 @ 4:55pm

On trend food? Manchester's Chaophraya has it all Thai'd up

On trend food? Manchester's Chaophraya has it all Thai'd up

| By Andrew Greaves

Thai food is very much on trend and Manchester, it’s fair to say, has its share of great places to sample the delights from the Far East.

I’ve tested out a few over the last couple of years from the stunning street food offered up by Spinningfields’ Thaikhun to Chinatown favourite Phetpailin.

But one which I’d always been rather jealous of Mrs G for visiting - and that I’d rather lazily not found the time to do so – was Chaophraya.

So when the invite dropped into my email inbox to test out the new menu, I couldn’t really refuse.

On entering the plush restaurant – very much on the ‘fine dining’ end of the culinary spectrum – we were greeted by James Hacon, a director at owner Thai Leisure Group, who showed us to our table and set about telling us the tale behind the new menu.

The traditional Thai way of eating, he explained, was to share plates so with that in mind – and cocktails ordered – me and Mrs G took on the task of narrowing down our choices from a menu in which every dish jumped off the page.

The cocktails arrived just as we were finishing our deliberations and with them came the first taste of what was to come.

Mrs G opted for the recommended Rubies and Diamonds – a mojito-esque cocktail made up of Pama pomegranate liqueur, cranberry juice and Pinot Grigio wine – while I went for Jinzu Negroni, a Far Eastern spin on one of my favourites.

The Jinzu gin used in my Negroni took the cocktail to another level – it’s blend of traditional English gin with a dash of Japanese influence – made the Chaophraya version a delight.

PLATTER: A great way to start the 'journey'

Decisions made on the food we went for Maeklong platter – a fabulous mix of some firm starter favourites – and a portion of the soft shell crab tempura to start.

The tempura, which also featured battered squad and asparagus, was delicate and the chilli lime avocado dip was a delight (even for a non-lover of avocado like me!).

The platter was everything I hoped it would be - chicken satay, prawn and pork dumplings, chicken spring rolls, sweetcorn cakes. Who could ask for more?

Without wanting to sound like a fussy eater – I’m really not – but I don’t like sweetcorn yet I very much enjoyed a small nibble of Chaophraya’s soft and tasty sweetcorn cakes. The challenge now is to convince my wife that little wander off the sweetcorn-hating path was only a temporary one!

Moving onto the mains we knew instantly we had to try the Nua Sirloin Yang – a chamber aged sirloin steak you cook yourself on a Himalayan salt rock.

TO DIE FOR: The Nua Sirloin Yang was among the best steaks our writer has ever tasted

We weren’t disappointed.

Mrs G said the steak was one of the best she’d ever had and I’d find that hard to disagree with.

The steak itself comes lightly seared and it’s then up to the diner to finish things off on the heated salt rock.

The experience itself is very satisfying but the taste is out of this world. Some of the saltiness imparts itself on the meat and the great thing is, you really can have your steak cooked as perfectly as you wish.

I’m not over egging it by saying it’s to die for!

Alongside that we also shared king prawns with ginger and samphire. As well as a plentiful selection of fat and juicy king prawns – again cooked superbly – there was a freshness to the red and yellow peppers, the samphire and the beautiful array of shitake mushrooms.  

Topped off with some soft and sticky coconut rice it was a feast for the senses, each of the flavours hitting the tongue at different times.

Thai food has always been a favourite of mine and Mrs Gs and when it’s done this well, it’s no wonder why.

After a couple more cocktails – and a super glass of Thai red wine (no, I didn’t realise Thailand was known for its vineyards either!) – there was just time for a final bit of theatre in the shape of the Chocolate Bombe.

After placing the dish on the table, the waitress proceeded to heat up some scrumptious caramel sauce before slowing pouring it over the chocolate bombe, revealing the loveliness of the toasted sesame popcorn centre.

We saw several diners order the same thing and the reaction – a huge beaming smile – was the same on every table.

Despite being thoroughly stuffed from all the savoury offerings, me and Mrs G somehow managed to paddle our way through desert. Well, it would have been rude to leave any wouldn’t it?

As well as a most delicious meal, the thing that really struck me about Chaophraya was the atmosphere and the service.

The staff were attentive without being over-bearing and the surroundings are a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of some of the busy Thai cities and resorts we see on our TV screens.

It may have taken me a long time to try it for the first time but I won’t be leaving it long before I’m back for more!