Reviewing… Chaophraya, Edinburgh

Since I moved to Edinburgh, I have been desperate to try Chaophraya. I’ve heard numerous rave reviews of the delicious food, stunning views and tempting drinks. I also absolutely love Thai food, so we are in the process of slowly working our way round the Thai restaurants Edinburgh has to offer.

I got a voucher from my family for Christmas and finally put this to use last week. If you don’t know where Chaophraya is based in Edinburgh, then you’ll never find it. The entrance is very nondescript as the actual restaurant is based on the 4th floor of the building. Luckily, when you get out of the lift on floor 3, and climb the remainder of the stairs, it is quite clear you have entered a Thai haven.

The decor is stunning and the views are even more so. Unfortunately we didn’t have a view of the castle, but I believe this is possible if you are lucky enough to be seated in a certain area. We were seated at 8pm, so just as the sun began to set.

chao1

We ordered a bottle of wine and the Chaophraya Sharing Platter to start. This allowed us to try a variety of the starts on offer – chicken satay, Thai fish cakes, chicken spring rolls, soft shell crab and prawn tempura, and a noodle basket.

chao4

Each item on the plate was as amazing as the last and all married together really well. It was also the perfect amount for the two of us and left us still eager for our mains.

For the main course, I ordered the Palm Sugar and Chilli Glazed Chicken with Egg Fried Rice, and my boyfriend ordered the Chicken with Cashew Nuts and Steamed Noodles.

 

My dish was beautifully flavoured and the chicken was amazingly tender. It also came with a lovely salad and small dish of some form of sweet chilli sauce. I had a small taste of Al’s which was also lovely and full of flavour, and the Steamed Noodles were full of garlicky goodness!

Overall a lovely meal, and the service was good, although nothing special.

 

Ratings:

Food – 9/10

Service – 7.5/10

Atmosphere – 8.5/10

Price – 7/10 (Sharing Platter £20 (10 per person), Mains £12 and £16, Rice and Noodles roughly £3.50 and Wine £21 – not cheap but worth it for a special occasion)

Overall – 8.5/10

I would definitely return, but something tells me I need to get through some of the other highly recommended Thai restaurants in Edinburgh first (more to come on this..!)

KS

Reviewing… Kirk View Cafe & Bistro, Aberdeen

Having moved to Edinburgh 6 months ago, I am spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a restaurant. No matter my need, whether I am looking for a quick and reasonably priced bite to eat, a 5 star dining experience, or something in between, Edinburgh offers plenty of options.

Last weekend, I returned to Aberdeen to take my Mum to see Blood Brothers at the theatre. You would expect that nothing much would change in a city in only 6 months, but with the downturn the oil industry has experienced in the past couple of years, Aberdeen is a hugely different city to the one I left. Researching restaurants for a pre-theatre meal, I realised that several had closed, and most of my options looked to be chains. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the odd chain restaurant but for Mother’s Day weekend, I was looking for something slightly more special, but still at a reasonable price.

Lurking around Facebook and Instagram, I came across the newly opened Kirk View Cafe & Bistro, located a literal stones’ throw away from His Majesty’s Theatre. The reviews from the first couple of weeks looked promising, so we booked.

When we arrived at 5.30pm, the restaurant was relatively quiet but quickly began to fill up with fellow theatre-goers. The space is cleverly laid out – there is a small cafe area with limited seating to the left, serving drinks, cakes, sandwiches etc, and the restaurant is to your right seating roughly 8 tables.

We were provided with a small but perfectly ample and balanced menu. I opted for the Goats Cheese and Caramelised Onion topped Garlic Bread for a starter – those three ingredients on one plate surely couldn’t be anything but incredible?!

kirkview2

I wasn’t wrong. I was presented with THREE slices of garlic bread and devoured the lot. My only critique would be that I personally would probably have preferred just two slices with some rocket on the side, but otherwise this dish was a winner.

kirkview3

Mum didn’t order a starter, however the chef sent out a little sample of the Leek and Potato soup (in the cutest little cup!) for her to enjoy whilst I ate mine, which I thought was a really nice touch.

For our mains, we both ordered the Chicken stuffed with Haggis and wrapped in Bacon, served with seasonal vegetables and chips. Unfortunately we had quite a long wait for this course, however the waiter did acknowledge this and apologised for our wait, and we had plenty time so it wasn’t an issue.

kirkview1

I could not fault the chicken – it was deliciously tender and beautifully seasoned. I felt the dish could have benefited from some more veg (you can never have enough veg, right?) and in hindsight the chips were a bad choice on my part. They were a little disappointing and I think the mash would have complimented the chicken better.

Mum ordered the Passion fruit Mousse for dessert which I was really keen to taste, but unfortunately they had run out, so she went for Ice Cream (she was very ill with a sore throat!) which came beautifully presented with strawberries and a toffee sauce.

Overall, the meal was just what we were looking for – reasonably priced, decent portions and tasty comfort food. The waiter, who was basically running the show on his own, was very attentive, friendly and clearly passionate about the new business. I would certainly recommend as a pre-theatre dinner option in Aberdeen.

Ratings:

Food – 7/10

Service – 8.5/10

Atmosphere – 7.5/10

Price – 8.5/10 (2 course set menu was £17.95 and drinks were as expected)

Overall – 8/10

It is great to see a new independent restaurant opening in Aberdeen, and I wish them every success.

KS

Making… Chilli Prawn Salad with Ciabatta

Now that the nicer weather is starting to come through (although admittedly not as quickly as I would like), I am already preparing for salad season. I love spring/summer because it means the days get lighter, the temperature increases (slightly), and my overall mood improves. It also means I can ditch the comfort food I’ve been relying on through winter, i.e no more soup every day for lunch, and can invent new salad concoctions.

I don’t know about you, but I am someone who gets bored of repetitive food very easily, so I try to mix up my lunch options as much as possible. With a salad, this is really easy. I will try to post a few variations over the coming weeks/months, however I’m starting with my favourite at the moment – Prawns, Mango, Avocado and Brie.

Ingredients (to serve 2-3)

150g king prawns

1 mango

1 avocado

50g brie

approx. 1 bag of rocket (or leaf of your choice)

1 or 2 red chillis

juice of 1 lime

1 ciabatta (halved)

pomegranate seeds (to decorate)

salt and pepper to season

 

Method

1. Half the ciabatta and place on to a baking tray, seasoning with salt and pepper (option of oil) and place into the oven at 180 degrees for around 8-10 minutes

2. Throw the prawns into a frying pan with a very small amount of oil, chop 1 or 2 red chillis and add to the pan along with the juice of one lime. Leave to simmer, mixing occasionally

3. Prepare the rest of the salad – chop the mango, avocado and brie and toss through the rocket

4. Add the prawns and the sauce that they have been cooking in and mix

5. Plate your ciabatta and top with the salad, then decorate with pomegranate seeds

salad

Et voila! Super easy, quick and tasty. Let me know if you try it.

KS

Reviewing… Dishoom, Edinburgh

I have been dying to visit Dishoom ever since it opened in Edinburgh back in November. I am originally from Aberdeenshire, and I am spoiled for choice of Indian restaurants in my nearest town so it has always been a popular choice for my family and I when going out for a meal.

Dishoom describe themselves as a “Bombay Café”. The original Bombay Cafés welcomed and attracted anyone and everyone – students, businessmen/women and families. Unfortunately few of these Cafés remain, so it is refreshing to see Dishoom trying to bring this back in the UK.

We ventured to the restaurant at St. Andrews Square a couple of Fridays ago. Now I knew it was going to be busy as I hear it rarely isn’t, however I wasn’t quite expecting the TWO HOUR wait we were hit with. We decided to wait it out in the bar downstairs as we knew everywhere would be the same by 7.30pm on a Friday.

The bar downstairs was lovely – dark and mysterious, but the atmosphere buzzing. We ordered a bottle of wine, got a table quickly and settled in. Luckily, after around 50 minutes our wait was over. We headed upstairs and were shown to our table in a packed restaurant – surely a good sign.

As this was our first visit, the premise of the menu was explained – sharing everything. We ordered the Chilli Cheese Toast and Dishoom Calamari for our starters.

dishoom1

Both were delicious – the Chilli Cheese Toast was exactly as it says on the tin, so I would probably be more adventurous next time. The Calamari was some of the best I’ve ever had on account of the added spices – I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys a Calamari dish.

For our Mains we ordered the Chicken Ruby Murray (a recommendation from our waiter), the Dishoom Chicken Tikka, the Garlic Naan and the Roti. All were delicious but the Chicken Ruby Murray was by far my favourite. For me, it had the perfect amount of spice and sauce, and the chicken was beautifully tender. I unashamedly mopped up the sauce with the last of the Naan and had no regrets.

dishoom2

After all of this, we were completely full and unfortunately, had no room for pudding. Our waiter was attentive throughout, the atmosphere was pleasant and the decor perfect.

Ratings:

Food -9/10

Service – 8/10

Atmosphere – 8/10

Price – 7.5/10 (seemed expensive but for the amount of food and a bottle of wine, it was actually reasonable)

Overall – 8/10

I can’t wait to return. I hear their breakfast menu is sensational…

KS