Cocktails and dinner at Chaophraya
We have always had a soft spot for Oloroso, the former rooftop bar on Castle Street in Edinburgh that now houses Chaophraya Thai restaurant – it’s such a stunning location that the food almost comes second place. We managed to get a Saturday night booking during the festival for a late dinner and were looking forward to one of our favourite styles of cooking in one of our favourite locations. First off, the service here is a well oiled machine – there are a lot of staff looking after a lot of tables and it does border on the conveyor belt sometimes. We arrived 5 minutes early and were invited into the Palm Sugar bar for drinks while our table was being made ready. The stylish bar lends itself to cocktails and has a nice atmosphere so we obliged with an El Diablo (Tequila, Creme de Cassis, Lime and Ginger Ale) and an Aviation (Plymouth Gin, Briottet Creme de Violette, Marachino and lemon juice). They both looked the part, tasted delicious and were reasonably priced considering the view from the terrace that accompanied them.
Sadly the view was a brief encounter as we were hustled through to our table not long after the drinks arrived – would have been much nicer to have enjoyed the view for a bit longer! Our table was situated behind the giant fish tank which does become strangely hypnotic as your eyes are drawn to the aquatic activity within. The dining area seems vast and is subtly lit (bit too subtle for me to actually read the menu comfortably) – the place was buzzing. Feeling hungry at this point, we opted for the Asian sharing platter at £9.95 per person (the price was also drawn to our attention by the waitress which seemed a bit unnecessary). It consisted of the usual suspects; chicken satay, prawn tempura, chicken spring rolls, marinated pork with honey and Thai herbs served with a crispy duck salad. The portions are fairly generous and we cleared the plate without too much trouble – general consensus was that it was nicely presented, tasty enough but a bit lacking in depth of flavour.
Next stop for me was the duck tamarind £14.55 (Roasted duck with palm sugar and tamarind sauce topped with fried shallots, cashew nuts, dried chilli and crispy pumpkin) plus £2.95 for jasmine rice. This was a sweet confection balanced with the sourness of the tamarind that worked well with the duck. The duck itself was nicely cooked but did rather swim about in the copious amounts of the sauce – glad I ordered the rice to soak it up. By this time it was getting late and we were getting full so we left dessert for another day – most unlike me.
Overall, there are probably tastier and also better value Thai restaurants in Edinburgh (try Port of Siam in Broughton Street) but you would be hard pressed to find a better view (just make sure you get a table near the windows rather than the fish tank). We will definitely be back to try out more of the cocktail menu.