Nottingham saw two new Thai restaurants recently, both with a similar branding concept but Zaap seems to have come out triumphant. Whilst street food is abundant and part of the soul of Thai food it is rare to see a Thai restaurant in the UK focus on this aspect of cooking despite the developed Thai food scene in the UK.
The first thing that hits you with Zaap is its decor. Modeled to look like the streets of Thailand. It seems to be a popular trend nowadays to go down the cleaned up “rough and ready” look. It could have easily looked kitsch but in fact it added to the atmosphere and fun of the environment and provided some good talking points, added to that the plastic tableware. I would however suggest that it would be much more authentic if customers could just rock up to one of the stalls and order themselves a plate full of food. Oddly one of the “stalls” were touting Hainanese Chicken Rice which was nowhere to be seen in the restaurant or the menu!
Now onto the many dishes we ordered (because of both intrigue and the size of the dishes). We ordered a range of dishes, some classic favourites whilst some reminiscent of my holidays in Thailand. For me Kor Moo Yang is a must order whenever I’m in Asia. This cut of pork is juicy, flavourful and has a good bite to it. Zapp’s version wasn’t quite there but it wasn’t bad either since a lot of the times this comes out dry and chewy in the UK.
My companion for the day was a satay fiend so it wasn’t a surprise we ordered this classic dish. Zapp’s version is commendable. The meat and the satay sauce could be more fragrant and the meat more charred but overall it does the job.
A fond memory of Bangkok was cruising along the Chao Phraya eating a whole steamed fish filled with hot and sour soup and splashes of lime so we ordered the Nueng Manow, admittedly an unusual choice for me. The fish was very small and not enough for one person but the flavours were good, though didn’t have quite the kick to give the dish more depth.
Something I have never heard of is the Guay Jab Sa Tan Fah curiosity got the better of me and I ordered it despite my dislike of liver. Strangely (or luckily) we didn’t find any pork liver in our bowl! The flavours were interesting and each of the components worked quite well but as a whole I’m not sure it glued together, maybe the pork liver would have given it that extra dimension!
Still feeling rather hungry we went on to order the Roti Aladdin and Khao Niew Dum Sang Ka Ya having been disappointingly told that they were not serving the ripe mango with sticky rice. The Roti Aladdin has a deceivingly light and crispy texture but probably could do without the strawberry sauce which seems an odd choice for an Asian dessert. The Khao Niew Dum Sang Ka Ya was intriguing, the colours didn’t look all that appetising but work quite well with the sweetness of the custard tempered by the saltiness of the sticky rice.
Zapp’s price point is odd. Generally lower than what you’d expect but this is reflected in the portion sizes. Thus in actual fact Zapp starts to rack up. However with such an on trend concept I feel Zaap could do more with it. They actually need more street foods on their menu, more things that are easy to share but for now Zaap fills the market in Nottingham. This might be the way forward for Thai food in the UK to reinvent itself.
Address: Unit B Bromley Place, Nottingham, NG1 6JG
Telephone: 0115 947 0204
Mind The Gap:
11am – 12pm everyday
Zaap has outposts in both Leeds and in Nottingham
Panda ate, shot and left.