Chaophraya (pronounced “Chow-pry-a”) kindly got in touch with us recently to ask if we’d like to come into their Castle Street restaurant to try out their new menu offerings as part of a full restaurant refresh, where the service standards, menus and logo have all been upgraded. Without missing a beat, we said yes right away. As big fans of Thai cuisine over here at Every Edinburgh, we’re always keen to try somewhere which can give our old favourite Passorn a run for its money. Perhaps it’s a bit of a personal challenge for us…
After a wonderfully warm welcome by the front-of-house team, we were shown to our table. It was near enough the kitchen to mean wafts of delicious Thai food kept drifting over to us, making it even harder to choose what to eat – and drink! I picked the Mango Passion cocktail (Absolut mango vodka, mango, coconut, lime and vanilla) which was excellent. Louise, however, went for the bold choice of the theatrical ‘Mockingbird’, presented in a birdcage made of twigs. By all accounts, it was tasty as well as very pretty!
After at least two occasions where we had to send the waiter away (sorry!), we finally made our decisions. I opted for the Thai fishcakes to start; a classic. This was probably the dish I was least enamoured with, however, with it being a little too chewy for my liking, but it wasn’t terrible either. However, the mains were where Chaophraya really shone…
What we ate: Thai fishcakes, duck tamarind curry & coconut rice. White chocolate box.
One side of the table were firmly in the sirloin steak with panang sauce camp, whereas the other side chose the duck curry in tamarind sauce. I fit in with the latter, and it was one of the best dishes I’ve had in a long while. The duck was perfectly crispy and seasoned, rubbed with palm sugar and in a tamarind sauce with cashew nuts, shallots and dried chilli, alongside baby carrots and broccoli. Usually with duck, I tend to expect less in terms of quantity of meat, but the portion size on this was enormous – very much appreciated!
It was certainly a difficulty debating if I could manage to fit in a pudding. But, of course, I gave in and chose the white chocolate “box”; a white chocolate mousse with raspberry coulis on butter shortbread served with a mini macaron and passion fruit syrup. Oh boy, Chaophraya know how to do desserts! I’d recommend this to anyone visiting.
One of the most noticeable differences between other Thai restaurants we’ve been to around Edinburgh and Chaophraya is the spice. Chaophraya’s spice levels are relatively low, catering perhaps more for Western tastebuds than the traditional Thai tastebuds. Our waiter, however, said all the dishes are designed to be able to be spiced up as requested, which is reassuring for those who can handle the heat!
The dessert menu, too, came as a pleasant surprise – normally we’re set to expect the meal to end after the main during a Thai dinner, with the odd token dessert thrown in to keep those few die-hards happy. However, Chaophraya has a rather extensive dessert menu with lots of mouth-watering dishes to decide between. Both of these variations on Thai restaurant cuisine mean Chaophraya is perfect for those dipping a toe into it who are wary of spice but would like to give it a go – and those who are planning a fancy girls’ dinner out soon like we did.
Chaophraya’s dishes start at £10.50 for mains, with lots to choose from for all tastebuds. There’s also a large selection of cocktails so it’s the perfect place for after work Friday evening drinks.
Psst! Try and get a table in the glass rooftop area if you can – there’s a wonderful view of Edinburgh Castle.
4th floor, 33 Castle St, Edinburgh, EH2 3DN
Best for: Cocktails with a view