We love getting invitations to try new restaurants and menu launches so when Chaophraya Edinburgh invited us to “Journey to Thailand – a new chapter at Chaophraya” our first thought was of packing suitcases and heading for the airport. We double checked the invitation and instead headed for 33 Castle Street in Edinburgh and took the lift to the 4th Floor where our journey began.
Where is Chaophraya Edinburgh?
For those of you not familiar with Chaophraya the address should give you a wee clue about what to expect. The restaurant must be one of Edinburgh’s most glitzy and glamorous restaurants with panoramic city views from all windows and spectacular castle views from their conservatory (on the roof!). It’s a great place to make an impression (romantic or otherwise) and we made a diary note that this would be an ideal spot to watch the festival or New Year fireworks.
As you arrive in the restaurant you are welcomed at the door with a big smile, clasped hands and respectful bowing (lots of bowing!) We were shown to our table, perched above George Street on one side and amazing castle views on the other – the perfect spot to relax and enjoy dusk settling over the city rooftops.
We have enjoyed dining at Chaophraya a few times before – pronounced chow- pry-ah as the menu helpfully points out – and we were keen to find out what was new on the menu and to enjoy our Thai journey.
What did we have for starters?
To start with I chose soft shell crab and squid tempura which at £12.50 was one of the most expensive starters on the menu. The tempura batter was perfectly crisp and the mixture of textures from the crispy crabs legs, the softer body meat, the asparagus, wing bean and squid worked well together with the creamy sharpness of the lime, avocado and chilli dip.
Raymond chose pork spare ribs (£8.00) which were marinated in fresh Thai herbs and served with a BBQ sauce and grilled pineapple. The beautiful presentation of the dish was short-lived as he soon discovered that a hands on approach was best. The ribs were very tender and the sauce sweet, spicy with the caramelised pineapple adding a fruity acidity – a deliciously messy treat.
What about main courses?
Next I chose sirloin steak with Penang sauce (£19) and a side of sticky rice (£3.50). The dish was served with tenderstem broccoli, mushrooms and a quails egg with the sauce on the side. The sirloin was moist and beautifully pink throughout and the crispy kaffir lime leaves and Penang sauce added a lovely aromatic Thai flavour to the dish. The quail’s egg didn’t add anything – it was cold, rubbery and unpleasant.
Raymond wanted to try one of the new dishes so chose the palm sugar and chilli glazed chicken (£16) cooked over charcoal and served with a salad of carrots, mango, asparagus, papaya and baby gem lettuce.
The dish was very simple and arrived on two separate plates which made it a little bit awkward to eat. The chicken was quite an effort and all the flavour was in the skin rather than in the chicken itself – Raymond isn’t a big fan of chicken skin so missed out a bit. It was all a bit underwhelming really and while the salad was refreshing enough, it was a bit light on the promised asparagus and papaya.
Was there room for pudding?
Of course there’s always a wee bit room for pudding, especially when you see the theatrical goings on around you when fellow diners were served the Chocolate Bombe (£7.75). The bombe arrived enrobed in a chocolate shell and our server poured the warm caramel sauce over to reveal the Thai whiskey ice cream with honey and toasted sesame popcorn centre. The hot caramel and melted chocolate combined to produce the most amazing gooey sweet sauce. The Thai whiskey ice-cream tasted amazing with a strong, sweet, alcoholic flavour which combined with the rich dark chocolate made this course a real highlight.
You can watch the big reveal here!
We also shared the mango and meringue roll which was served with mango, roasted almonds and lightly caramelised strawberries. It was a sweet and light confection that was lovely but couldn’t really compete with the chocolate bombe.
The Chaophraya team have clearly invested a lot on the new decor and have converted the outside roof terrace space into a more permanent covered dining area. The branding and interiors all look stunning and invoke a luxurious temple to showcase Thailand’s amazing culinary flavours. The changing Thai food scene is reflected in the new menu but don’t worry as lots of the old favourites are still available along with the new fusion dishes. This place really has a wow factor and we look forward to trying out their new cocktails and some of the other new dishes on our next visit (just perhaps not the Palm Sugar Chicken).
33 Castle Street
Many thanks to Chaophraya for our very kind invitation to sample the new menu.