You Aberdonians may have spotted a bit of change happening in the city centre recently. The Union Street institution formerly known (and loved) as The Monkey House has undergone a complete transformation to become Thai restaurant Chaophraya. I was invited to dine during the soft launch for a sneak peek of the décor and flavours on offer. I'm not going to lie - it's probably the most aesthetically pleasing restaurant I've ever had the privilege of visiting.
Staff are in traditional dress and welcome you with Thai greetings - they're friendly and certainly keen, perhaps a little too attentive. From the second you enter, it's a feast for the eyes and the food is just as satisfying. The cocktail list caught my attention with its unique fusions of exotic sounding flavours. Unfortunately I was driving on this occasion but the Siam Smile seems like a good excuse to go back!
A basket of flavoursome prawn crackers was brought to our table, along with a sweet chilli sauce, while be browsed the menu. It didn't take long for us to make our decision. I spied the satay skewers on the starter menu and asked for a larger version as my main course. This seemed to cause a little confusion and two separate portions were brought to the table! Never one to turn away food, I laughed at the error and simply enjoyed one plate after the other. The styling of the classic dish made it something special, although it could do with a little more peanut dipping sauce.
Meanwhile, Gordon enjoyed an authentic mix of egg fried rice with crispy chicken, stir fried with cashew nuts, onions, peppers, spring onions and a roasted red chilli sauce with a bit of a kick! He's a proper wimp when it comes to spice and found the Chicken with Cashew Nuts a little too hot to handle but our waiter assured us this was one of Chaophraya's milder options.
We skipped dessert (I have a wedding dress to fit into!) but the chocolate bomb looks divine!
I thoroughly enjoyed our experience at Chaophraya and would recommend it for a special occasion dinner. The restaurant is conveniently located on the same block as Eclectic Fizz Champagne Bar so you know where to head for a night cap afterwards! For more relaxed, casual Thai dining stick to sister restaurant Thaikhun in Union Square :)
*Our meal was complimentary due to the soft launch, but as always all opinions are 100% genuine.