FOOD: Thai dining at Chaophraya, Leeds

Located in the heart of Leeds, you’ll discover Chaophraya – sister restaurant to Sheffield venue Chao Baby. Just a few minutes from the train station, Chaophraya is home to a newly fitted out restaurant complete with Palm Sugar Lounge and a sunken seated private dining room, where guests can get a true taste of Thailand complete with first class service and a bustling atmosphere.

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The menu features classic authentic Thai dishes from the different regions of Thailand and all dishes are created by chefs who use the finest, freshest ingredients. It’s a truly special place to dine – especially as this year celebrates chaophraya’s tenth anniversary. A friendly face greeted us at the door and we were seated in a circular corner leather booth, overlooking the downstairs dining area. The whole venue oozes class and sophistication.

Our drinks order was taken, then we were left to browse the menu while we tucked in to a complimentary bowl of spiced prawn crackers and a sweet chilli dipping sauce. We dined from the lunch menu – two courses for £8.95 served between 12 noon and 6pm Sunday to Friday and 12 noon to 4.30pm Saturday. The choice of starters included: Chicken Satay, Grilled Pork Skewers, Steamed Wonton, Tempura Vegetables or Prawns and Spring Rolls.

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We opted for the satay starter – two chicken pieces marinated in Thai herbs on bamboo skewers with peanut sauce; and two homemade crispy spring rolls filled with carrot, cabbage, taro and vermicelli served with sweet chilli sauce. Both were impeccably presented and full of flavour. For main course, there’s the choice of Pad Thai, Egg Noodles with Duck, Chicken with Cashew Nuts & Thai Herbs, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Beef with Thai Basil, Green Curry with Chicken, Panang Beef Curry, Massaman Lamb Curry or Spicy Crispy Chicken Salad.

I opted for the Panang Beef Curry – tender beef strips slowly cooked in a rich Panang curry sauce with coconut milk and cashew nuts, topped with red chilli and served with steamed rice. The sauce is incredibly Moorish. My dining partner opted for the Pad Thai – Chaophraya’s most popular stir fry noodle dish – a plentiful portion of chicken, carrots, spring onions and bean sprouts in a tamarind sauce. Delicious! If dining in the evening, you’ll be spoilt for choice browsing the a la carte menu – from curries, stir-fries, noodle and rice dishes to grills, seafood and vegetarian options.

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Chaophraya takes its name from the main waterway in Thailand. In ancient times the Chaopraya River breathed life into the families who lived along its banks. Today the river is still regarded as part of the essence of Thailand which is where the restaurants takes inspiration from. Chaophraya Leeds is one of eleven restaurants and bars under the Thai Leisure Group name – a family-run restaurant jointly owned by Kim Kaewkraikhot and Martin Stead. Kim has been a chef for more than 20 years and previously ran her own small restaurant in Bangkok. Kim’s food was renowned in the local neighbourhood for its fantastic flavours. As Martin learnt more about Thailand, he began to see an opportunity and to set about creating a vision. That vision was to bring authentic Thai cuisine and genuine Thai hospitality to the UK.

From our experience at Chaophraya Leeds, we can confidently say the duo have achieved this aim successfully!

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Chaophraya 9 Swinegate Leeds, LS1 4AG 0113 244 9339 http://www.chaophraya.co.uk

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