Zaap in Nottingham, recently opened up on Bromley Place, is another chain restaurant hitting our fair city. It might be just a small chain so far with another outlet in Leeds, but it is a themed restaurant nonetheless (so I apologise for following the crowd, but do not apologise for stuffing my face).
On their website they say that “We’ve started a Thai Street Food Revolution in the UK!”.
OK bold, so lets see what they have to offer
Walking in to the place my first impressions were that I really liked what they have done with the space and how they have fitted it out. Ok so its not exactly like a street in Thailand but it does have a lot of the stuff that you imagine you might see. Perhaps it is easier for us to just pretend we travel instead of actually making the effort. The beauty of the chain for the lazy diner
The question I suppose was now whether it had the food to match the décor. I was keen to see if it did and also was hungry to get some Thai food in somewhere more relaxed than many of the ‘white tablecloth’ establishments that we have been used to in Nottingham. I wanted to come here and I was kind of a tiny bit excited to see if it had some substance and was not just a big gimmic
OK so time to tuck in and see what they have!
We selected a couple of pretty safe starters, the first being a plate of Steamed Dumplings stuffed with a mixture of pork and prawn. Now I love me some dumplings and so I was ordering these come what may.
On the plus side you get Six dumplings for £3.50, and even number which is great when sharing, on the downside they are a bit small and not much better than those I have had as appetisers in a Thai cocktail bar (Yum Yum) in New York.
Having said that I still liked them, they had all the right textures, a soft casing and a chunky inner filling. I would not come back running for these, I like ‘potstickers’ better and I like the ones I cook myself more. But I did like them and they brought back some happy memories
Now the Chicken Satay was also a pretty safe choice, I mean we can all get down on a plate of ‘Grilled chicken on skewers with peanut sauce. They were quite decent though, nice flavour, not enough spice, but a fair taste. Sadly not much use for sharing as you get an odd number with three skewers for £3.75, although at that price just order a plate each. I liked the dipping sauce and I liked the scattering of red onion and mango with cilantro (coriander), but not enough to shout from the rooftops and get too excited.
Pad See Aew Moo
After the fairly safe, but most acceptable, starters, which to be honest we ordered as we were hungry, I reached out a little to try something new to my palate. I ordered the ‘Pad See Aew Moo’ which they described as ‘Originating from Malaysia and Singapore our Thai Street food version is second to none! Stir fried rice noodle in dark and sweet soy sauce with egg”. You can have this with various proteins but we chose the version with Pork for £6.95.
I really quite liked this, wide flat Noodles, copious slices of pork, some fresh cilantro and sliced spring onion, crunchy discs of carrots, and a kind of dark and yet Moorish sauce.
It is not a spicy dish, but it is a very eatable dish, not easy on the eye, but certainly easy on the palate. Yep I liked this dish
We love a little bit of Massaman so we ordered there version with Chicken described as being with a ‘rich Massaman curry with peanuts served with Jasmin rice’. It was also quite a decent dish, maybe a little dumbed down, but still pretty eatable. I like the sauce to be a little thicker, but it had all those flavours that I look for in this curry. My rice was good too but could have been ‘stickier’
Zaap Thai in Nottingham is currently one of two outlets in the country (the other being in Leeds). If I am honest I would say that I will come again, just for the visual fun factor, and also with friends who just want something to eat and are not that fussy. We did try to share our food, but it wasn’t that easy as the portions and dishes are served up for the individual. If I do come again I will probably be ordering a soup noodle dish and to be honest would not order anything again that I just ate. I want to give it another go though as I really like the idea and the concept.