Last year Eldon Squares new grey's quarter opened which is home to a great range of dining options, one of these is Chaophraya Thai restaurant. Chaophraya is located on the top floor with wonderful views of the city below, I had heard great reviews but had never actually visited myself although I have visited sister restaurant Thaikhun in nearby Metrocenter many times. While Thaikhun has a very family-friendly, street-food type vibe to it Chaophraya has a more elegant and upmarket vibe, making it perfect for date night or a meal out with friends.
I was invited along to Chaophraya with a guest to road test the newly launched cooking school, having attended the Thaikhun cooking school earlier in the year I kind of knew what to expect and was looking forward to seeing how the two compared. Despite being on the top floor of a busy shopping centre I found the restaurant to have a really cosy vibe to it, think dimmed lights and low music.
Along with a group of local bloggers I were greeted by head chef Poom who was an utter delight and really made the whole evening so enjoyable. After a welcome drink (I highly recommend the non-alcoholic tropical drink) we were briefly talked through the evening and giving the choice of aprons or Thai jackets to cook in and were split into our pairs to create some traditional and popular Thai dishes.
There was a cooking station set up in a little room away from the main restaurant with little cooking stoves and ingredients set out for us. First up we were giving the task of cooking Tom Yung Soup, I had never tried this before so I was keen to see what it was like.
Poon talked us through and demonstrated each stage of the recipe for us and we then had to recreate the recipe ourselves in our pairs. This dish was simple to create and I could not believe how quick it was to cook too, it was bursting with flavour with just the right amount of heat to it.
Next up we learnt to cook Thai green curry and Pad Thai, both super popular Thai dishes that are so yummy. All of the ingredients were prepared for us and there was plenty of them, meaning we could add as much or as little spices and ingredients as we required to our dishes to suit our taste buds. First up we had to create a paste for the Thai green curry, something that the chefs at Chaophraya make fresh daily.
Poon talked us through each step and encouraged us to taste the dishes as we went, so that we knew if we needed to add anything extra. Before we knew it we had created a very yummy Thai green curry before our very eyes.
Next up we got to work making Pad Thai, Poon created one first and invited us all to have a try before we made a start on making our own. This was such a super quick and easy dish to make and I will definitely be making this myself at home, it was delicious.
After creating our Thai green curry and Pad Thai we then retreated to our dining tables to enjoy our meal with a side of cooked rice that the kitchen had provided. The Thai green curry was lovely and creamy with lovely tender chunks of chicken in, the Pad Thai was also bursting with flavour.
After enjoying our food Poon awarded prizes for the best dishes, meaning everyone got a prize which ranged from prawn crackers to bottles of wine to take home. We each also received a goody bag to take home which contained recipe cards to recreate all three dishes ourselves at home, as well as the ingredients to make the soup and a bottle of Thai larger.
The whole evening took around three hours, but it went by really quickly and it was a fun and enjoyable evening. There were a few technical issues on the night, but Poon and the staff dealt with these well and ensured the rest of the night went without any problems. I hold my hands up and admit that I don't enjoy cooking and I am not a good cook but I still really enjoyed attending the cooking school. It was a laugh and it was nice to do something a bit different, it would be great for a work team building activity, date night or gift idea. The classes cost £69 per person and I would recommend going with a friend or relative as it makes the experience more enjoyable.
So overall which cooking school to I prefer? I really enjoyed both cooking schools, they are very similar, however, I think Chaophraya just clinches it as the cooking area at Chaophraya was lovely and Poon was a delightful host.
* Apologise for the lack of photos my battery died half-way through the night.
Disclosure I was invited to attend the Chaophraya cooking school for the purpose of this review, however, all opinions are my own.