I had this idea in my head that Chaophraya was going to be literally the most glamourous and glitzy restaurant ever, so was actually very pleased to arrive and see that while it is quite grand and very swankily decorated, the atmosphere is still quite down to earth and relaxed.
I ordered myself a reasonably priced Havana and DC to sip on while I perused the menu and was very pleased that I'd had a good look online in advance (as I always do) as there were quite a lot of things to choose from. For starters both the birthday girl and I decided to go for the Barbequed Mushrooms which consisted of juicy veg and pineapple coated in a sticky BBQ sauce on sticks. Not bad but when referring back to the price tag of £6.95, the mind does boggle a bit as to how they can charge that...
Bailey ordered the Chicken Spring Rolls filled with chicken and Thai veg which to use Bailey's words "were very good. They didn't blow my socks off but they did the job of appetising me". Good times, but wait a minute... £6.95 again?! A little on the steep side...
As soon as I read the description for my main course of Chargrilled Sea Bass I knew I had to have it, and I was not disappointed with the flavours. The sea bass was beautifully cooked in a banana leaf and came with sticky rice and chilli and lime sauce. Opening my little banana leaf parcel of perfectly cooked sea bass was very exciting!
I have to say I really did love every bite of my sea bass especially as I was able to slowly savour every mouthful due to insisting on eating it all using no implement other than chopsticks even though I'm dead slow with them. I loved the exciting flavours coming from the various ingredients the fish was stuffed with including lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, and the chilli sauce was super spicy but delicious. However, my only complaint, I know seabass doesn't come cheap but again the price tag of £15.95 did seem to be taking the mick a little.
My main was an excellent choice and I think it really created a bit of food envy around the table. Kate had mentioned on arrival that under no circumstances was she going to order any sea bass as she wanted to try something a bit different. She however ended up ordering the Sweet & Sour Sea Bass and was disappointed to find it arrived covered in batter which it hadn't mentioned on the menu. Similarly, Vicky ordered the Seafood in Aromatic Spices and was quite surprised that the dish only contained one scallop and one mussel but a massive pile of noodles - also not stated on the menu. Perhaps Chaophraya ought to make sure their menu descriptions match their dishes!
Bailey went for his absolute favourite Thai dish of Thai Red Chicken Curry which came with a portion of the mega sticky rice. He said it was beautifully creamy and rich and that he'd never had one like it before. More reasonably priced also at just over a tenner.
I have to say the service throughout our time at Chaophraya was so super efficient - the staff were very good at swooping in and clearing our plates the minute we had finished eating and there were no problems with anyone having to wait for their food which is what normally seems to happen with large groups. I also very much enjoyed their noisy rendition of Happy Birthday accompanied by loud drums and the bashing of pans!
My main criticism would be that a lot of the dishes were too expensive for what they were - but then the restaurant was packed so the general public don't seem to mind too much... Having said that, we saw their lunch menu advertised at the door which seemed like better value and I would probably return for some bargain midday grub.