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Chao Phraya

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For my birthday, I went to Chao Phraya, a Thai restaurant in the Mile-End. Em recommended it as I wanted to finish celebrating in a lounge nearby. Not only is it quite a fancy restaurant, but it is also rather impressive on how big it actually is in comparison to the impression it leaves from the outside. As it is strongly recommended, I had made reservations so when we arrived; the hostess brought us to the back that seemed like another section (smaller and discreet). Very well thought for our little group, where we could converse without having to yell at another. In my background, there was a beautiful wine cellar protected with a glass window. I felt like a VIP, extra points especially on the day of my birthday. I just wish I was offered the enormous bottle of Moët & Chambon as a gift.

Enough rambling, let’s get down to the real business. First of all, the menu is so diverse, that nobody can say they won’t find anything to their liking. Except if the person in question doesn’t like Thai food at all.

I wanted to try a new drink so I ordered a Manhattan cocktail, made with Canadian whiskey and sweet vermouth. Certainly not my favorite drink, whiskey is too strong, but I managed to finish it.

Only Lou, Em’s sister, and I ordered appetizers. She had Koung Tod, deep fried shrimps and broccolis served with plum sauce. It looked delicious and apparently it was.

I opted for the Kampou Swan, which consists of four deep fried crab claws wrapped with crab meat with shrimp, celery and onions inside. It is also served with some plum sauce. It might sound weird and not very tempting, but I assure you that it was the most creative appetizer I’ve seen and eaten. The plate is well presented with the claws looking adorable and the radish cut in the shape of a flower. Very crunchy and soft at the same time, the plum sauce was sweet and accompanied it perfectly. My only disappointment is not being able to eat all of the meat. It was stuck in between the claws and a spoon didn’t help, maybe a fork would have been better. Unless you have a big appetite, I don’t recommend this appetizer for just a person. I had to give one as they are more filling than they appear. Though if you have a little appetite, you could order it as your main meal.

Now with the main meals:
Sam had Phra Ram Gai, sautéed chicken with peanut butter sauce and crispy spinach. It looks like there’s more spinach than chicken in my picture, but they were about the same portion each. Personally, I thought the spinach looked weird and not that appealing. She said it was very good, but the spinach would sometimes be too much and fall on the heart, probably because it was fried. Like the others, she ordered a side of sticky rice that came in the cutest and tiniest bamboo basket covered in plastic wrap. It wasn’t easy to get the rice out without the help of a fork or spoon.

Am and Em both had Tofu Choo Chee, a deep fried tofu in a spicy curry sauce with coconut milk and basil leaves. I had a taste and dear heavens, it was so delightful. Seriously, some meals without meat are more delicious than those with and this tofu is the perfect example. Not only are there big pieces of tofu that I love, sprinkled with coconut milk, the curry sauce is extremely spicy creating a heavenly taste. When I return to Chao Phraya, I’ll definitely order the Tofu Choo Chee as a main dish. Funny random fact: Am’s tofu was mounted while Em’s wasn’t, we don’t know why though.

Dom had Rad-Nah Pak: crispy noodles topped with mixed vegetables.

Lou had Kang Paa Gai, a spicy thai country style curry with chicken, vegetables and sweet basil leaves.

Cam had Pad Sew-Ew, rice noodles sautéed with the choice of either chicken, beef or shrimp. She chose shrimps and it also comes with brocoli and egg.

Ru had Pad Khee Mao, also rice noodles sautéed and she chose it with chicken that comes with fresh chili, sweet basil leaves and egg.

As my main dish, I had Panang Neua: beef in panang curry with cocounut milk and sweet basil leaves. I asked for vermicelli noodles as a side dish. I was hesitating between the yellow curry and this one, so I asked the waiter what exactly was panang. It is a sort of red curry, much sweeter than the yellow one. The word “sweet” helped me with my final choice and I didn’t regret it. Everything about it was delicious, the beef and the curry sauce mixed with coconut milk. It wasn’t as spicy as the tofu, which had yellow curry though.

For dessert, I had fried bananas with French vanilla ice cream with beans. Em and Lou shared one. My plate obviously had some sparkling candles!!! The hotness of the bananas with the coldness of the ice cream created the most exquisite taste one could not even believe it. Ru who had a piece, literally squealed (orgasm?) to the surprise of the others who asked if she was fine. She replied that it was simply so divine, that she couldn’t describe it in words. Yes, we all laughed and I couldn’t agree more with her, these are the best fried bananas that I’ve ever tasted.

A little detail that might seem unimportant to others was that the plates of our main meals were burning hot and the plates of our desserts were frozen cold. A friend mentionned that it was weird that my ice cream wasn’t melting and I realized it was because my plate was cold, which also helped my fried banana cool down.
An appetizer, a main dish, a dessert and a drink is just under 60 dollars. A bit expensive, but it is absolutely worth trying. I would recommend it more for special occassions, such as birthdays or a family dinner, hoping the parents take the tab. Also recommended for dates, guys can suit up while ladies can get dolled up. Perfect place if you want your partner to try something new. They have a huge selection of wines, some ridiculously expensive. This is the best Thai restaurant I’ve been to so far and it gets a 8.5/10. The food is beautifully presented in nice dishes are pretty and fancy.
The food is wonderfully presented on delicate and pretty dishes. The only thing I didn’t like is that, neither rice or noodles are served with your main dish unless indicated in the menu. You have to order a side dish, which is charged. I also didn’t like that we weren’t offered chopsticks. If I’m eating any kind of Asian food at a restaurant, I do not enjoy using utensils.
I thought of taking pictures of the surroundings and the cellar, but I was too excited with the delicious food and celebrating my birthday with my wonderful friends! ❤ Here’s a picture of their pretty dishes with a flower pot.
Chao Phraya
50 Laurier West, Montréal, QC
H2T 2N4 514-272-5339

Chao Phraya on Urbanspoon


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