ON our last visit to Chaophraya a couple of years ago they were promoting their bottomless Sunday brunch, featuring ‘Thai tacos’. We felt perhaps the writing was on the wall for what a decade before was a glamorous pioneer for South East Asian cuisine in the city.
That glamour persisted in the high-ceilinged interior but the Thai baton had passed onto seemingly more authentic, certainly more basic joints such as Siam Smiles, Try Thai and My Thai. More recently a family-run rival set up shop across Chapel Walks – Thai Kitchen No.6. Even Chaophraya’s Spinningfields stablemate in the Thai Leisure group, Thaikhun, was aiming for the distressed downtown Bangkok with token tuk tuks look.
Still it has come a surprise that Chaophraya suddenly shut as 2020 approached. The rest of the chain still survives at seven other UK venues, including the original in Leeds.
It's been a difficult few years for this street, with the departure of the respected Grafene across the road (it's now been replaced by sausage and mash restaurant Mash Tun), and the closure of 1847 (now home to Thai Kitchen No 6).
That corner of Chapel Walks on the border with King Street has a chequered history for bars/restaurants, only the stalwart Sam’s Chop House a fixture. Remember Grinch, Le Figaro, Bacchanalia? Or more recently 1847 (now Thai Kitchen No.6) and Grafene (now Mash Tun)? We hope an ambitious new (indie) owner is found for the Chaophraya site.