You may remember the time I sent special correspondent Edd to Chaophraya to try their Christmas menu last year. Despite the fact that he has a good time, it's somehow been six months and we haven't made it back.
With Father's Day just round the corner, Chaophraya wanted to let everyone know about their set menu and also give us a taste of their cooking and cocktail masterclasses.
Well, I love a cocktail masterclass and happily set about making myself a strawberry mojito. This was simple to make- muddle the lime, brown sugar and mint leaves, top with crushed ice, add sugar syrup, rum and strawberry puree, muddle again, then top with more ice.
Naturally it was a tad on the sweet side, but it gave me a burst of energy after dashing home from working. I liked being able to adapt the amount of rum and sugar syrup I put in (more rum, less sugar).
As I have learnt from many a masterclass, you pop your garnish by the straw so you smell it as you drink.
Chaophraya has the benefit of being right by St Martin in the Bullring, giving diners a lovely view.
Drinks made, we settled down to try samples from the two course set menu. We tried a small portion of all the starters and mains so that's why they look miniature.
Chicken Tom-Kha was a starter I would never have chosen. Coconut soup with chicken, lemongrass, chilli, tomato, kaffir lime leaves and straw mushrooms made a fresh, delicious and unusual combination. I would definitely order this again. This can also be made vegetarian.
Chicken Satay is also something I've avoided until recently. Grilled chicken was served with a creamy peanut sauce on top of a fresh chopped salad.
There was no time for sitting around though as it was time to try cooking our next starter ourselves. I was expecting to create something very basic but no- chopping, stir frying, wrapping and frying were all to come.
We were making vegetarian spring rolls from scratch, something I never considered I would be able to do. The chef demonstrated and we copied. It was surprisingly simple!
We chopped up the veggies as finely as possible- cabbage, carrot and mooli.
We then cooked the spices and herbs, adding the veggies and mushroom and stir frying until cooked.
Finally, the glass noodles were added to the pan.
We spooned the cooked items out onto a spring roll sheet, added mooli and rolled them up to form spring rolls.
Edd and I were pretty happy with our tightly packed spring rolls.
They were sealed with a little flour and water, mixed to make a paste.
Next, the terrifying bit where we dropped them into boiling oil, flipped them a couple of times and then pulled them out. Apparently mine were a tad overcooked but I enjoyed them just the same.
Amazingly we still had more room for mains, which just kept appearing!
Panang beef curry had a fantastic kick of flavour and plenty of veggies in there to lighten things up. I would never go for beef in a curry so this wasn't my favourite.
I loved the lightness of the tofu and pineapple in a coconut sauce though it didn't have the same kick as the other dishes.
Thai Red Prawn curry was my favourite dish of the mains, with big, juicy prawns, lots of greens and a creamy chilli sauce.
All dishes are served with sticky jasmine rice.
Green Thai Curry was as good as any I've tried and again, I appreciated the big chunks of aubergine and slices of chilli.
Finally, Massaman Lamb Curry was Edd's favourite. The lamb was tender and the potatoes were an interesting addition. I appreciate that Massaman curry has potato in it but I haven't tried it before!
If you like the sound of the cooking or cocktail classes, check out the website for more.
Chaophraya, Bullring, Birmingham
Photos by me and Edd.
Food and drink were complimentary.