Being new to Aberdeen, I’m motivated to explore as much of the city as possible. That includes sampling the food as well. A few people told me I’d have to adjust my expectations and that the options for dining are few and far between. My love for cooking keeps us at home for most dinners, but once in awhile, I need a night off. So last week, we went to the soft launch of a new thai restaurant called Chaophraya.
They already have a number of locations around the UK and had already opened a more casual, street food inspired sister restaurant called Thaikhun in Aberdeen. Lucky for us, this fine dining thai experience is now in Aberdeen right on Union Street.
First Impressions of Chaophraya
Upon entering, we were greeted by the the hostesses, decked out in beautiful Thai dresses. We were taken to our seats and the first thing I noticed was the ceiling. The elements of the historic building shone through the recent renovations and balances well with the modern fixtures and Thai decor. There was a variety of seating options from regular tables, booths and cocoon-like chairs. If I ever go back with a large group, I’ll be booking the low circular table surrounded by pillows. A bit of comfort and casual, in an otherwise swanky place.
Attentive, friendly and welcoming. I like restaurants where you can tell everyone works as part of a team. It’s not just one server to a table. Instead everyone helps with the serving and clearing of dishes. It means I don’t have to wait around for the server to finish up with another customer. And it means the server can take their time answering my questions because he or she isn’t worried about the empty drinks at another table. Coming from Paris where service is always hit-or-miss, this was a welcome change.
In order to maximize and try as much as possible, we opted for the Maeklong platter. I loved the beautiful presentation especially the banana leaf that was shaped into a little shelter for prawn and pork dumplings. They were the most delicious and I’d have them again. The platter also included chicken satay, chicken spring rolls and soft shell crab & asparagus tempura with a variety of sauces. I wouldn’t get the tempura again but would rather try something lighter to start next time like the papaya salad.
For the mains, I went for the classic pad thai while David opted for the curry. Again the presentation was beautiful and unique. The curry was fantastic. Luscious and creamy with the right amount of spice. I found the pad thai to be a little on the sweet side but that’s just my personal taste. I’ll go for something spicy next time. Overall, the portions are generous and the meal was delicious.
And lastly, dessert, because why not! I really didn’t have any room for it, but I was curios to try the Thai dessert trio: mango sticky rice, fresh mango and Pandan leaf pancake. David went for what he always orders when it’s on the menu, the panna cotta. The green pancakes tasted quite green and were an entirely new flavour to my palate. Not sure I’d order it again but I’m the kind of eater that gets pad thai in a thai restaurant, or French dish at a French restaurant and an Italian dessert at an Italian restaurant.
That evening, I forgot I was in Aberdeen and felt truly transported to an upscale fine dining restaurant worthy of a Parisian or London locale. When I think of fine dining or going out for a special meal, thai food isn’t what immediately comes to mind but after our lovely experience at Chaophraya, that has changed.
And next time, we’ll have to have some after dinner drinks at the bar.
If you’re in Aberdeen and what to give it a try yourself, Chaophraya is located at 1 UNION ST ABERDEEN AB10 1NJ