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Chiang Rai Thai Restaurant
Chiang Rai Thai Restaurant1st Floor
762-764 Wilmslow Road
Tel: 0161-448 2277
Tuesday lunchtime - we three are the only diners.
It was a strange sensation sitting in this restaurant which occupies what was the upper sales floor in a former Marks & Spencers store. It still has the original polished shop floor and stairs from the lower sales floor.
A set Business Lunch Menu comprises choices from £5, £7 and £9 menus - but we're advised we can pick and choose between starters from one, and mains from another. Two of us picked the vegetable tempura, the other picked the mixed hors d'oeuvres.
While we studied the menu we ordered bottles of Siam, Thai (style) beer at £2.50 each, which I think is a bit steep - even if the beer is quite good!
The tempura was served with chilli and soy sauces and was tasty and fresh. The mixed starter was a selection of tiny spring rolls, and ornate pastry cases of diced vegetables served with a small ramekin of sweet chilli and sesame seed sauce. Everybody agreed the starters were extremely good and whetted our appetites nicely for the main course.
I chose the Mossamon beef curry, Dave selected the fish dish and Phil had the dry chicken curry. I asked about the Mossamon beef curry "Muslim beef" - Why "Muslim"? We never actually found out.
When the meals arrived they were served with a large bowl of sticky rice.
The beef itself was not top quality, but the meal in general didn't suffer from this, because it added to my impression that this was a "homey" dish - the sauce, which was beautifully flavoured, had properly permeated the chunks of potato, and the rice was "just so".
The spicy fish was trout served in a dry spicy sauce and we all agreed that it looked beautiful and it tasted just as good.
The dry chicken curry was not exactly dry but very tasty and not too hot. The nice Thai lady who served us had explained that we could actually have as many chillis as we liked in the meals if we preferred our food to be more fiery, but we declined this kind offer and chose to go with the normal offerings. As it turned out the food was just right. The chicken curry was actually served in a rather thin curry sauce with a creamy coconut falvour and texture. It made an exquiste combination with the sticky rice.
We made good progress with the rice and were offered a refill without hesitation, which we also devoured with relish.
Coffee wasn't up to much - but no worse than many others.
Overall we were most impressed by this restaurant. We will certainly visit again. Recommended.