“ Address: Chapel Walks (Above Sams Chop House) / Off Cross Street / Manchester / M2 1HN / Tel: 0161 832 8342 „
Even since I returned from a trip to Thailand a couple of years ago I have been craving authentic Thai food. Unfortunately my cooking skills only really extend to green curry from a jar so when I was visiting Manchester friends told me about a Thai restaurant that had a good reputation within the city and we decided to treat ourselves to a meal. The restaurant is called Chaophraya and the owner opened the Manchester one after originally opening one in Leeds that was a big success. The restaurant is located in Chapel Walks which is in the vicinity of the city centre. Although I do not know Manchester all that well and we went to the restaurant with friends from the city it didn't look difficult to find and if you get lost then as it is so popular just ask someone where it is and they will be able to point you in the right direction. When we arrived at the restaurant the first thing I noticed was the gorgeous decor which really had a sort of perfect Thai feel to it like the pictures of Thailand in magazines. Ok so maybe it isn't the most authentic decor but this is Manchester not Thailand and it is stunning looking and has a real sophistication to it that is exactly what I want when I am paying a lot of money for a special meal. Downstairs appeared to be a bar area but we were shown straight to our table upstairs. As we were flying from Manchester airport early the next morning we didn't want to make it a late night so we booked the table for 7:00pm thinking the restaurant would be empty at that time. However it was already exremely busy and although it is a large resturant there were not many tables that were empty even at 7:00pm. Like the rest of the decor upstairs was lovely and the tables were solid wood and everything was beautiful quality and it was clear to see that someone had spent a lot of money on this restaurant. For our starers my partner and I ordered the selection of starters for two to share and this consisted of the more popular starters you would expect such as chicken satay, different preperations of prawns, dumplings, prawn toast etc. Everything was beautifully presented and absolutely delicious and although it was for two there was such a lot on the platter it could easily be shared by more people. I am always a fan of starters in restaurants and I would have happily had the platter to myself instead of a main course as it was that good. For my main I had a dish from the chefs recommendation which I forget the name but it was lamb and slow cooked in Thai spices. This again was delicious and although they have some warning on the menu as to which dishes are spicy and which aren't I was surprised this was not menioned as I found it to be quite hot. This didn't bother me as I like spicy dishes but I am curious as to how hot the dishes that are classed as spicy must be. My partner had boring old Thai green curry but to be fair this was delicious also and tasted nothing like my one from a jar. We also got a selection of different rices and the best of these was the sticky rice which was better than any I ate in Thailand. For desert I just had ice cream which was nice but nothing special. For a menu so extensive there wasn't a whole lot to choose from in the desert section. The service was first class and we never had any trouble getting the serving staffs attention when we wanted something and they always had a smile which made a nice change from some of the places I have been to lately where teenagers take your order with all the charm of Lauren from Little Britain. I really cannot fault Chaophraya in any way from the food to the service everyhing was absolutely first class and I would highly recommend that you visit if you get a chance. It cost us over £200 for the four of us so around £50 per person which really isn't bad actually considering the surroundings and the quality of the food and it is somewhere that I would definately go back to.
Chaophraya is tucked away down a little side street in Manchester close to Sam's Chop House. They've redecorated quite recently and the restaurant has a subtle, contemporary feel with a Thai flavour. The staff are all very friendly and attentive and the atmosphere is welcoming. The choice of food here is excellent (all Thai, obviously!) and there's a cheaper 'set' type menu available for lunchtime which offers 2 courses from a selection at a set price. Lunchtime is the best time to come for a cheap deal, as only the main menu is available in the evening. Even so, the prices are quite reasonable. I've eaten here many time and I've never had a bad meal. There's a good selection of foods including all the Thai favourites - Pad Thai, Thai Green Curry, Thai Red Curry - as well as a few lesser know dishes. The Massaman curry is divine and one of my absolute favourites. They also offer a good range of vegetarian dishes - Pad Thai is available with tofu instead of chicken and shrimp, and most meals have a vegetarian and meat version option. They also give you a guide on how spicy the food will be, in case you're not keen on the hotter dishes. The dishes are very well presented and all look appetising as well as tasting delicious! Service is excellent. Definitely recommend Chaophraya for a lunchtime meal. I've only been once in the evening and that was also very nice but more expensive and a lot busier.