Offering an impressive view overlooking Monument from its convenient location on the top floor of intu Eldon Square, Chaophraya boasts a range of both traditional and Thai-fusion (or ‘Thai Re-Imagined’) dishes, making it the perfect place for romantic date or classy end of exam celebration.
Upon entering Chaophraya, the ambiance is most striking. The restaurant itself is split into a main dining room and terrace, each with their own elegant Thai-themed decorations. In summer the ceiling of this entire terrace can be retracted to transform this half of the restaurant into one of the only rooftop dining experiences in Newcastle, whilst in winter the view over the Christmas markets is enough to settle even the biggest scrooge into the festive spirit.
The vegetarian ‘Ted Sakarn Jay’ sharing platter was surprisingly substantial, an option well worth considering for those unable to choose between the large variety of around 20 starters and soups on offer. Two similar meat and seafood sharing platters are also available for more carnivorously minded diners.
Those who eat meat are in for a treat. My dining companion opted for the ‘Royal Sous Vide Lamb Massaman Curry’ as her main course, after a recommendation from our waiter. She even remarked that it was “the best massaman curry [she has] ever had” (and she has had many).
Veggies have no need to fear either, as Chaophraya’s menu has plenty of vegetarian options, and even a few vegan ones too. The sauce in the tofu panang curry was superb, even if the quantity of the tofu offering was a little sparse.
However, a real highlight is the desert menu. From mango sticky rice to sticky toffee pudding, the selection features plenty of authentic Thai puddings, along with more traditional British desserts with Asian twists. Particularly exciting is the ‘Chocolate Bombe’, a chocolate orb which melts away under a drizzle of warm salted caramel sauce to reveal a gooey peanut and toffee mousse at its core.
The staff were all friendly and attentive throughout the meal (we even found out several did not know I was a reviewer until afterwards, which is always promising). While the service was perhaps not the fastest it could have been, this was by no means a bad thing, as our meal never felt rushed or hampered by overly intrusive staff.
Those looking for something a little more out of the ordinary can also take part in the restaurant’s wide range of cooking and cocktail making classes, so long as they are aged 18 or over.
Whilst certainly not extortionate, the relatively high prices at Chaophraya might place it out of a standard student budget. However, with the recent introduction of a 20% discount on Tuesdays with a valid student card, Chaophraya is certainly an option for students looking for a fine-dining experience at a perfectly fine price.
Overall score: 4.5/5 stars.
Judge for yourself at https://chaophraya.co.uk/newcastle/.