As I was welcomed by the friendliest of hostesses, I was impressed by how much detail has gone into making you feel like you are no longer in Leeds, but have stepped into Thailand itself with the black and gold décor and authentic statues. The restaurant is light and airy, and oozes authenticity.
When we were shown to our table we walked through the restaurant that has cleverly been divided into areas with open fencing, allowing the feeling of a nice open space that contrasts with an intimate feel once seated.
To start, we had the grilled pork skewers which were recommended to us as the menu had so many mouth-watering options to choose from. The skewers were marinated in honey and coriander root, grilled over charcoal and served with a tangy chilli sauce which gave the dish a surprisingly nice hot edge!
Chicken spring rolls as the most popular starter did not disappoint. They had a lovely crisp shell and were bursting with flavour. This was accompanied by a chilli sauce which again added another level to an already flavoursome dish.
The chef’s signature dish, massaman lamb curry, comprises pieces of tender lamb with cashew nuts in a coconut milk and massaman paste sauce. (Massaman is made with turmeric, star anise, cardamom, cinnamon and chillies.) I wasn’t surprised to find out that is one of the Thai royal family’s favourite dishes and I would recommend to anyone.
Another of the chef’s favourite dishes, the spicy fried rice with beef and basil, is a traditional street-style favourite, made with fresh chilli and garlic, and topped with a fried egg. This is the staff’s favourite dish.
When it came to dessert there were various options to choose from. You can either tease your taste buds with the traditional Thai desserts or stick to the good old classics, and this is exactly what I did. After indulging myself all evening I didn’t want it to end so went for the chocolate fudge cake with fresh cream and gorgeous sweet strawberries which finished a blissful evening off nicely.
Although Chaophraya is a small chain of restaurants, there is nothing chain-like about it. From a greeting which made us feel like we were the only people dining, to fantastically authentic Thai cuisine which was packed with flavour, I would advise anyone to dine at any of their restaurants.
Chaophraya – Leeds
20A Blayds Court, Swinegate, Leeds, LS1 4AG