Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Chaobaby Thai Restaurant - Revisit

To celebrate Mothers' Day, we went to our favourite Thai Buffet Restaurant Chaobaby, but was a bit disappointed with the quality drop that came with the price drop. The PR and the General Manager of Chaobaby spoke to me after reading the review and offered me a complimentary meal for two for our next visit. We decided to wait for a few months before trying again, to make sure that if there are any improvements, there was plenty of time for them to do so.

We ended up going there again soon after in April, as our friends and family wanted to go to Chaobaby for dinner. So we went, and to our surprise, there was already an obvious and massive improvement. The flow was fast, the food was tasty, and the Chinese food has more or less disappeared. The only complain from our table was from our vegetarian friends, as the Tofu and Mixed Vegetables Red Curry has no tofu in it, and it just happen that they have completely run out of them as well. The General Manager Winnie was very apologetic, and she even offered to buy some stock from the neighbouring restaurant, which I was very impressed about. As my friends were already full, she offered them a voucher instead for compensation.

We decided to go back there to celebrate Fathers' Day, and although we were pre-warned about how busy they can get on a Saturday, I believed that you can get fresher food and faster refills during those days.

When we've arrived at 7pm, it was already very busy. If I remember correctly, there would have been a queue there if we had arrived around 6pm, so if you fancy visiting, do book ahead of time. I haven't shown you around properly in Chaobaby in my previous reviews, so here are some pictures to give you a general idea about the food layout.


From far: Rice, Brown Rice, Pat Thai, Stir-fry noodles
Tofu Red Curry, Beef Green Curry

From far: Satay Chicken and Peanut Satay Sauce,
Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs, Samosas

From left: Noodle Red Curry Soup, Noodle With Pork Stew Soup,
Tom Yam Soup

Starters and Salad station

Desserts counter

From left: Fresh pancakes, Pandan Custard, dessert sauces,
Bananas in syrup, Honeydew and Cantelope melons,
Banana cake dessert (not in picture), Tapioca Sweet Soup, Watermelon

We definitely enjoyed our meal more than the time we dined there during Mothers' Day. Winnie confirmed my suspicion by telling me that their chef has left during the time, and they were in a transition period. Now that all has settled, the food quality has stabilised a bit more.

I started with their curry and rice, although after tasting hubby's papaya salad, I wished I had started with that first, as the sweet, sour and spiciness really opens up your appetite.

The mixed brown rice was my favourite since the first time I have visited Chaophraya, and it goes perfectly well with their currys. The brown and plain rice ratio was a bit uneven, but easily adjusted by adding more plain rice to it.

I usually prefer their green beef curry, as I love my meat. But this time their red curry sauce was much better, and I don't even like tofu that much.

Abby and Clay enjoying their noodles.

After eating up Abby's Satay chicken with peanut satay sauce (because it was too spicy for her), which was well marinated and the sauce was extremely tasty, I freshened up my palate with the Papaya Salad. The samosa was nice, but I still missed my sweet corn fritters. The seafood was delicious and tender, while the ribs were tasty but a bit tough.

I tried hubby's pork stew and noodle soup, which was very addictive as it was packed with umami taste (our 5th taste), but I preferred their chicken red curry noodle soup that I had last time we visited. Next time I'll make sure I have space for them.

These pancakes are ever so good and fresh. They are perfect on their own, or with a bit of pandan (flavour comes from the juice of a very fragrant Pandan plant leaves, hence the green colour) custard. Mmm, I do miss that Pandan flavour. A lot of customers preferred the usual sauces such as chocolate or berry, but next time you go, do give the Pandan custard a try.

This banana cake is surprisingly good. I'm guessing that it was made of banana puree and a bit of flour, to give it the slight sponge texture, and coated with dessicated coconut. It does fill you up though! Other days they offer a various flavour of Agar-Agar jelly, which is a hard jelly made with seaweed extract. Abby was quite disappointed that there weren't any today.

The previous time we came here, their water melons were really sweet. I never liked water melon that much but even I couldn't stop eating them. The melons this time were a bit on the raw side though.

The Tapioca Coconut Sweet Soup is something we do cook at home sometimes, but normally with chunks of taro and occasionally sweet-corns as well. It was the first time trying this with Sea Coconut. I love canned sea coconuts, but I would prefer the original Tapioca Coconut Sweet Soup.

Overall, our experience has been much much better than the time we went there on Mothers' Day. We enjoyed most of our food, and we could probably eat more if it wasn't a bit warm where we were seated. It's good that they provide seating outside as well, and perhaps why we enjoyed it that much more in April as we were sitting outside in a far corner. Next time we must make sure that we will be sitting outside as well.

Chaobaby Trafford Centre

123 The Orient
Trafford Centre
M17 8EH

0161 747 2345
Monday to Sunday 12noon to 10pm

£12.95 Buffet for adults, all day every day
£6.95 for children under 8 years old (do check if your child is under 2, as Clay didn't have to pay)
£7.95 for selected curry, rice and noodle dishes to eat in or take out
Drinks are charged separately

Disclosure: I was offered a complimentary meal for two, but not for review purpose. It was my decision to review, and all opinions are honest and my own