Relationships often fall to the back burner when they should be one of the foremost priorities in your life. Date nights used to be so important for us, especially at the beginning of our relationship. Now, here we are, 8 years later, stuck in everyday normality. This is when I thought, when was the last time my man and I had a date night, just the two of us, alone? Ehh, sadly I just couldn’t remember. So I thought it would be awesome to get back in the groove of having monthly date nights.
As a blogger from Leeds, I’ve decided to test local restaurants. Me and my hubby like to try different cuisine, although we both tend to stick to spicy food (Indian and Thai predominantly) and Mediterranean cuisine. Who can blame us right?
Just as we’d been thinking of a new place to visit, I received an email informing me about Chaophraya Leeds launching new VIP menu. Well, as you know me, this was too hard to resist.
Chaophraya in Leeds is a lovely Thai food restaurant right in the middle of Leeds, 5 minutes walking distance from the train station. Perfect if you want to stay in the centre of all the action. We used to come quite often, usually celebrating someones birthday but we actually haven’t been this year so it felt very good to be back. Chaophraya has always served good quality food and this is why we always come back.
So as you can imagine, we were quite intrigued what it was like this time! If you’re also interested in what did we think of Chaophraya’s new menu, please read on!
Well, this time Chaophraya is set to transform its dining experience, with the introduction of a revolutionary new menu, fusing culinary imagination with fine cuisine, offering a mix of eclectic and contemporary dishes inspired by tastes from across the Thai regions…and I mean that literally. The staff travelled around Thailand, from South to North and picked the best dishes they came across.
Where does the name come from?
I love traditional food and traditions. Chaophraya, takes its name from the main waterway in Thailand and was seen to breathe life into the families who lived along its banks. Today, the Chaophraya River is still regarded as the spiritual heart of Thailand and is a strong source of inspiration behind the restaurant’s new menu.
What’s not to like and love about this place, great ambiance and the service was spot on. The traditional Thai greeting once you enter is very nice and makes you feel special. It’s a lovely tradition and brings you closer to Thailand. As I’ve mentioned, our service was spectacular and nothing was too much trouble for them. I also noticed how friendly the staff were around us as well, always having a nice and polite conversation with other customers.
The service was very good. Sometimes I feel restaurants find it hard to either provide too little interaction with you or too much e.g. they are either hovering over you like a drone or it’s like you are involved in a game of hide and seek that no one told you about. This can’t be said about Chaphraya . The staff at Chaphraya hit the sweet spot i.e. they were always on hand, but never hovering, which actually allows you to really lose yourself in the experience, which was brilliant!
I’m very easily influenced when it comes to presentation. I love quirky things and this D.I.Y. drink was everything for me. Not only well presented and tasted great but also, as the name suggests, you made it yourself! I’ve also ordered Flower Market, just because it had aperol and elderflower in (my favourite) and whilst this was soo tasty, I was well jealous of my husband’s D.I.Y. cocktail.
We’ve also tried Thai red wine for the first time ever and glad we did so. Taste wise, I would compare it to red wines from Chile (our favourites), just not that heavy.
I started with a cocktail, which actually came as a DIY cocktail kit. I got all the ingredients, ice and a shaker, which really added a nice bit of theatre. We also tried some Thai red wine, which I naively would never associate Thailand with. The wine was really nice, I can sometimes be a bit snobbish when it comes to wine, but I can truthfully say it compliment the food and once again built on the dining experience.
I ordered Steamed dumplings – assorted prawn and pork dumplings with garlic and soy sauce to dip in and they were mouthwatering. They did really melt in my mouth, it was soo good!
For starters I had the ‘soft shell crab and squid tempura’ and it was such a great way to start ‘the journey’ as the menu refers to it as. I love sea food, but I had never tried soft shell crab, it was lovely! I remember eating (sounds cheesy, but true) and I started to picture myself on a beach in Thailand eating fresh sea food… looking back the emphasis and thought that Chaphraya has put in to building an experience really paid off, it allowed us to unwind and lose ourselves in the amazing food.
This time I settled for Duck Tamarind – a roasted duck with palm sugar and tamarind sauce topped with fried shallots, cashew nuts and dried chili. Served with baby carrots and tender stem broccoli. The mix of flavours was extraordinary, strong but not overpowering – do I even make sense here? I liked the vegetable, it was a perfect selection to compliment my duck. The duck was perfect for me, I don’t like too many spices where the meat flavour disappears and this was just spot on. Thank you chef!
…and did I mention I had coconut rice with my meal? Something I’m going to have to learn to do at home as it was so refreshing.
Next time I plan to order my husband’s main meal, Massaman lamb curry. The lamb was deliciously breaking as I tucked in and the flavours were like little pieces of heaven (I’m so cheasy I know).
For mains I had the ‘massaman lamb curry’, which I have to admit I have had before when I ate at Chaphraya in Glasgow city centre. I know some people like to try different things each time they go out, but if you like curries or even if you don’t, this dish is unbelievable. The spices provide an explosion of taste in your mouth and the meat literally just melts in your mouth. It’s so good!
If you think picking a main meal is hard enough, wait until you go through Chaophraya’s desert menu. I was especially thrilled by the unique selection of ice cream. However I settled for coconut panacotta and lemongrass ice cream. Whilst I enjoyed my meal at Chaophraya, this desert was the highlight of my night. I need this in my life – everyday!
‘The chocolate bomb’… I didn’t know what to expect when I ordered this, but as a self-proclaimed chocoholic, what’s not to like with that name. Now as a blogger husband I know you never (NEVER!!) miss out on a
photo opportunity, but my wonderful wife had just nipped to make a phone call at which point the deserts came out…no panic, as per usual I was prepared to sit and wait for her to come back and for the food photo-shoot to be completed… but fate had other plans.
The deserts were placed on the table; the bomb looked like a bomb on top of ice cream… a chocolate sphere. Great you would think, my wife/blogger will love the look of this, “they’ll look great”, I’ll just have to fight my desire to eat it before she came back… but no!… I didn’t notice the jug of hot caramel sauce next to the dish… I also didn’t notice the waitress pick it up and then pour it over the chocolate bomb, which magnificently melted the sphere of chocolate to unveil a centre of sweetness… A great piece of theatre, but I now need to explain it the blogger!… or maybe I should just not mention it 🙂 to be fair she took it well (the wine helped).
The food at Chaophraya was exceptional, very tasty and very well presented. It was served in modest portions and reasonably priced. If you’re a fan of Thai cuisine then you certainly must go!
I was actually really happy with our date night and hope we can do this once a month. Just to re-connect and kind of fall in love with each other again…
Now I have few questions for you my dearest…!
Q1: Have you been to Chaophraya yet and have you tried their new menu? What did you think?
Q2: What do you do to re-connect with you other half? Let me know in comments and I might feature you next time!