Sunday, 1 June 2014


If your anything like me, the week leading up to payday is always difficult when it comes to money. I'm lucky if I have two pound coins to rub together. So what is a boy who loves his food to do if he's going out for a meal before a show and doesn't want to just go grab a burger, a trip to the chippy doesn't cut it with me I'm afraid.

Residents of the great city of Liverpool will no doubt be familiar with the Liverpool One Shopping Centre. Built and opened in time to celebrate Liverpool One becoming the 2008 Capital of Culture it has now becoming the central hub of the city, a great place to meet your friends before heading out on the town or somewhere to grab something to eat after a long days shopping.

Hidden amongst the row of chain restaurants are two culinary treats dishing up great Asian food - Chaophraya and Yee Rah. Now I've been to Chaophraya before and it is amazing. I must give special mention to their sweetcorn cake appetisers which Jon has always said are one of the best vegetarian starters he's ever eaten and I'd have to agree with him. We have been a couple of times over the years and I have never had a bad word to say about any of the meals we have had. If you are really looking to go all out and treat someone special you would never go wrong if you take them for a night out here so visit their website here and book a table today. For those of us who are little more cash strapped like I was today - Chaophraya's baby sister Yee-Rah is a delicious way to still enjoy a great taste of Asia but most importantly, on a budget.

I think it's fair to say that Yee Rah is marketing itself as a "fast food" alternative to Chaophraya's decadent fine dining without scrimping on any of the style or finesse. Approaching the door we were greeted to a sandwich board proudly showing off there "Early Bird" set menu offer along with "2-4-1" cocktails. Whilst the cocktails alone would of been enough to seal the deal, I decided to see if it could pull off a great budget two course meal  that could stand up to it's big sisters reputation.

We arrived around 5pm just in time to take advantage of the offer and the restaurant was already packed. Bearing in mind it's prime location and that it was half term I wasn't surprised but having seen that some of it's neighbours were not looking quite so busy it was probably a good sign. The interior is bright, airy and beautifully decorated in a fantastically modern and contemporary way that still manages to incorporate Asian flourishes throughout. 

The open plan kitchen gives the restaurant a vibrant atmosphere and great for a foodie like me to spy on all the dishes making their way over the pass. We were placed right in front of the kitchen which I know some people would not like because of the hustle and bustle but there are plenty of tables near the front of the restaurant which offer a bit more privacy. I'd recommend booking in advance if you really want one of these tables, if Yee Rah is always this busy you may end up disappointed.

Onto the drinks - the "2-4-1" cocktails applied to any of the classic cocktails on the menu and there was a fine selection of the usual suspects there. My dining buddy chose a "Cosmo" - I'm not a fan of them but she was very pleased with her chose. I had an Amaretto and Lemon Juice based cocktails (I can't remember the name - bad blogger!) and it was beautiful and refreshing. We ordered two each of course and for approximately £14 for the four drinks - fantastic value for money.

The "Early Bird" offer we took advantage of consisted of a starter and main from a stripped down menu for £12.95. I get it - set menus mean they can turn around tables and serve more covers quickly but I've been to some restaurants were the quality of the food can suffer as they rattle out the courses to their guests. Thankfully this was not the case at Yee-Rah!

For my appetiser I chose the vegetable spring rolls. Sitting right next to the pass meant that they came straight out of the kitchen and too the table. I bit into one and they were piping hot so do be careful but in my eyes at least I knew that they were cooked well. The generous vermicelli, mushroom and carrot filling was stuffed into the crispy shells and really complemented the sweet plum sauce dipping sauce (which I wish there was more of - I do love a good dip). Some spring rolls can be a bit light on filling and heavy on shell leaving them very dry but they had proportioned everything in these babies just right. Delicious - I could of eaten 2 more easily. 

My dining partner went for the Chicken Satay Skewers been a fan of Satay so even though she offered me to try one one I declined but she told me that they were well cooked, very moist and again the only negative was that there wasn't more. I get that it's a budget set menu so portions were never going to be massive however but looking at the dishes coming out of the kitchen I would suggest going for the chicken wings if your feeling peckish. They looked sticky and mouth watering but more importantly, they looked like they came in the biggest portion. I'll defiantly be trying them next time.

For the main we both went for the Singapore noodles. Beautifully thin egg noodles served with peppers, spring onions, curry powder and chili. You can chose to have them served with chicken or pork and the chicken that I went for was well cooked and really complimented the dish more than what I think the pork would of done. Don't worry about the chili, the menu says that the dish is very mild and this is defiantly the case. I would of liked a bit more spice but it didn't matter, we still both polished our mains off in no time. Top choice all round.

If I had to chose something else that was coming off the spice it would be the Yee Rah burger which looked juicy and succulent and that's good for me as I'm not really a fan of a burger but if you are I'd give it a whirl. Then there is always the spectacle of the Fajitas. Yee-Rah continues the fusion of cuisines by serving the sizzling vegetables with Teriyaki sauce rather than the traditional Mexican chili. That's the great thing about Yee-Rah though. The fusion of Asian flavors with traditional classics means that the more fussy or less adventurous can still find something to try, even if its more dipping your toe into the East rather than diving in head first.

 For a great Asian meal that still delivers on a budget I can't recommend Yee-Rah enough. Not only was the "Early Bird" menu a quick yet tasty early evening meal but the setting and the atmosphere means it really great to get you in the mood before you head out into town for more cocktails or a gig/concert. Don't worry though, the Al a Carte menu looked to have some yummy treats too so don't worry if you miss the early bird slot.

Its certainly my top tip or a pre-pay day treat. Visit the website here and book your table today and I promise you won't be disappointed.

(Prices and Offers available at the time of writing - you have been warned!)

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