With its Asian-inspired taste of Kaffir lime leaf, plus aromatic Lillet Blanc and spiced, rum-based liqueur Falernum, along with the super-popular gin and the addition of a lime leaf attached with a tiny peg, it’s a fruity and playful example of an extensive cocktail list designed to complement the Thai flavours of Chaophraya’s eclectic menu.
Chaophraya is the eight-site higher-end brand from the Thai Leisure Group (TLG), which was founded by Martin Stead and his Thai wife Kim Kaewkraikhot, who continues to play a central role in the development of the brand and its continuing adherence to genuine Thai and pan-Asian flavours and styles.
TLG’s other brands include the casual dining, street food-inspired Thaikhun, and the buffet concept ChaoBaby.
The 215-cover Newcastle site – where this was filmed – is one of the group’s flagship restaurants, containing one of the largest Buddhas ever exported from Thailand to the UK, along with an expansive bar area and impressive views over the city centre.
It joins a portfolio primarily focused – for now – on the north of England and Scotland, alongside the Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Aberdeen and Glasgow venues.
As with its sister brand Thaikhun – which operates 10 sites – its menu features Thai and Asian classics, such as pad Thai, spring rolls, chicken satay and Thai green curry, but with a more refined, higher-end twist, plus more unusual plates such as duck tamarind, and sirloin steak with Penang sauce and kaffir lime leaves.
With an open kitchen – allowing guests to see the flaming woks at work – luxurious décor, golden Buddhas throughout and an extensive terrace/conservatory area all year round, Chaophraya Newcastle feels a world apart from the hectic shopping centre on which it sits (intu Eldon Square), and purports to offer a real taste of Thailand in a relaxed yet celebratory setting.