If you’re travelling along the Gold Coast Highway through Broadbeach, QLD, you’re bound to spot the Chiangmai Thai restaurant on the side of the road. Especially at night: you can’t miss the bright neon lights!

Chiangmai Thai restaurant entrance

You enter the restaurant by crossing a small bridge over an artificial stream with lovely plants, water features, fish and even some frogs. Well OK, they’re probably cane toads — but they help keep the bugs away, right?

Stream with fish and toads

Over the bridge and past multiple large wooden elephants flanking either side of the red carpet, it feels like you’re about to check-in at a fancy Thai hotel. The waitresses in their traditional garb weren’t able to seat us immediately (because it was so busy) but they had nice chairs for us to sit in while we browsed a menu for a couple of minutes until a table freed up.

As we were escorted to our table we were amazed by the intricate décor, including the various kinds of elephant chairs at most tables:
Elephant chair
Another elephant chair

It was at this point I started to get the feeling they really liked elephants here. What’s that? You want more elephants? OK!

Elephant wall carving

There were a number of similar wall carvings around the place. But just when I was about to hit elephant overload, two lions appeared, guarding the bar.

Thai lions

Despite all the big animals, we made it to our table alive. We browsed the menu’s impressive range and settled on one of the banquets, albeit with some small modifications, which they were easily able (and happy) to accommodate.

Banquet menu

Specifically, we changed the Tom Yum prawns soup to a chicken and coconut one and changed the chicken cashew-nut dish to have duck. We just had to pay the difference between the items on the normal menu.

Drinks

Drinks: Thai iced tea (left) and a coconut drink. The coconut drink was solid but the Thai iced tea was sensational! You can certainly sense the high sugar content but the great flavour makes it worthwhile.

Peanut satay chicken skewers

I’ve been to a lot of Thai places that don’t bother with garnish, but this restaurant seems to take pride in it. The chicken was good and the satay sauce contained bits of solid peanut in it, which I prefer.

Chicken and coconut soup

The chicken & coconut soup had quite a unique taste to it. It reminded me of Malaysian-style laksa broth but with less chilli and more coriander. Very enjoyable!

Duck cashew-nut

Having duck instead of chicken in this tried-and-true cashew-nut favourite is a good way to mix it up. The duck here was very good — no regrets!

Beef Massaman Curry

Instead of large chunks of slow-cooked beef that fall apart easily, this Massaman curry contained relatively thin slices of beef. While the slices were tender, it didn’t have the same slow-cooked, fall-apart feel to it. The dish was still enjoyable, with lovely potatoes and great-tasting curry but I think I prefer the other style of beef.

Stir Friend Vegetables

These were quality stir-fried vegetables: cauliflower, broccoli, snow peas and more. They were cooked well (not raw, not too soft). I personally enjoyed the large amount of parsley included too.

Green tea and Earl Grey tea

We opted for an Earl Grey tea and a green tea. A good way to settle the stomach after slightly over-eating 😉

Ice-cream with lychees

Despite being called “Lychee Icecream” on the menu, this dessert was simply vanilla ice-cream with lychees (with a side of whipped cream and a glacé cherry on top). The ice-cream tasted like fairly cheap supermarket ice-cream and both the lychees and whipped cream seemed to be from a can, so this wasn’t a stand-out part of the meal (although I still enjoyed it).

The outside tables looked really cool. I got a photo of some of them just as they were packing up. If it’s nice outside and you have the option, I’d give these tables a go:
Outside seating

The Verdict

Due to the impressive decor & ambience, great service, high quality food and broad menu, I have no choice but to label this restaurant highly recommended for anyone looking for good Thai food.

Chiangmai Thai sign

Chiangmai Thai on Urbanspoon

Hope you enjoyed this guest post from Mr Cooking Crusade!

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