Zaap is one of the latest additions to Nottingham’s thriving food scene, with the aim of bringing a really authentic street food dining experience that transports you from the heart of Nottingham city centre to somewhere that is not to dissimilar to the streets of Bangkok. Zaap is located on the ground floor of the newly built Bromley Place, just off of Maid Marian Way. Being only a few minutes’ walk from the Victoria Centre and Old Market Square it is in a prime location and is in good company with Chino Latino, Oaks and 4550 Miles from Delhi et al all within the surrounding area.
As bookings aren’t taken in advance I just turned up last Sunday lunch time around 2pm. However as it was quite busy we had to wait for a table, although they were quite speedy in getting us seated and we were taken to our table around five minutes later. Once seated our orders were taken quickly. From the outside the building is modern and fresh looking with big glass panels spanning the exterior of the place, which is good to let light into the entrance of the venue and grab the attention of passersby. There was a really good range of seating and a great decor that transforms a modern building into a unique Thai dining experience. The venue has a good range of seating with rustic style wooden tables for two or four people spread out across separate areas, the venue is open plan in many ways whilst also offering more secluded alcoves and areas with different seating with the addition of tuk-tuk (a commonly used form of transport) that aided the authentic feel of the place. In addition to all of this there were many signs in Thai along with a vast amount of Thai decorations and features.
When ordering we decided to share several smaller starter type plates and then order a main dish each. We chose to start with; Gai satay (grilled chicken on skewers) £4.75, Kiew tod (crispy wonton stuffed with minced chicken and prawn) £5, Moo yang (strips of pork on skewers) £5, Khanom pang na gai (chicken toast) £3.50 and Khow kerb tod (deep fried prawn crackers) £2.25.
The Gai satay, which was grilled chicken on skewers with peanut sauce. You got three skewers of chunky chicken that was topped with finely diced onion and peppers and a side of fresh white cabbage that added a crunch. The peanut sauce that it was served with was incredible, sweet and slightly salty peanut sauce that was creamy and slightly spicy, with chunks of peanut to add to the texture and complement the tasty and moist chunks of well marinated chicken.
Kiew tod, crispy wonton stuffed with minced chicken and prawn, £5 for six pieces. The batter was light and crispy and not greasy at all. They were all a good even size. There was a good mix of both of the flavours and the chicken and prawn complimented each other, although the flavours could have done with being slightly more prominent. The sweet chilli dip helped to moisten the crispy batter and also added a little bit of heat to the dish. Moo yang, strips of pork on skewers. You got three skewers with good sized chunks of pork served on a bed of fresh and crispy white cabbage. The pork was well marinated and cooked with rich flavours, although it was slightly chewy in places. The hoisin sauce was tangy with a slightly sweet and salty flavour, with a bit of heat too. This complimented the dish and was nice to drizzle over the pork skewers and cabbage.
Khanom pang nag ai, chicken toast, marinated minced chicken sprinkled with sesame seeds and served on toast, £4.50 for four pieces. The toast was crisp on the edges but moist on the inside. This dish had a nice coating of sesame seeds which added taste along with the egg that was used in making the toast. The chicken inside was moist, tasty and finely minced and served on a bed of crunchy and fresh white cabbage with a sweet chilli sauce. Khow kerb tod, deep fried prawn crackers, £2.25. Rich prawn flavour and nice and crispy, not greasy, with a good even consistency.
For the mains we ordered Pad Thai bo ran gai, original Pad Thai with chicken or prawn, £7.50. With this you got a good serving of Pad Thai with large chunks of moist chicken and noodles. The dish was topped with crumbled peanuts, coriander and a fresh wedge of lime. The Pad Thai had a good balance of both ingredients and flavours with the inclusion of fried eggs, carrots, onion, noodles, bean sprouts and chilli. The peanuts added a nice crunch to the dish and also helped to bring out the flavours along with the noodles that soaked up the myriad of flavours. Overall there was a really good range of flavours that worked together in an even balance.
We also ordered the Gang kiew wan, gai, chicken in Thai green curry, £7.95. A bowl full of well seasoned Thai Green curry served with a mound of sticky white rice that holds together well and is useful for soaking up the fiery sauce of the curry. The curry itself is colourful with a mix of green and red peppers, water chestnuts, carrots and loads of tender and moist chunks of chicken. The green curry sauce was seasoned well and had a sweet taste to it also with the addition of coconut milk. This was a well seasoned dish and quite authentic as the plenty of chilli is used to give it a lot of heat.
For dessert I chose the Gouy tod, which is a famous street snack. This contains deep fried pieces of banana in a crispy batter served with a toffee sauce, vanilla ice cream and cream. For £3.50 you get three big chunks. They were warm throughout and had a nice golden coating to them that gave them a crunch that was also very light. In addition to this, they had a soft and warm banana centre, sweet and crispy and served on well decorated plates.
Fanta and Coke cans £1.75 each, However in addition to this you have the choice of a selection of tradional Thai drinks such as iced Thai milk tea and traditional Thai black iced coffee. They asked how our meals were at the end. The menu is extensive and there is plenty of choice from soup to dim sum and of course the staple dish Pad Thai. You can help yourself to free popcorn which is a nice touch and the open plan kitchen allows the fresh aromas to fill the venue with mouth watering smells. The interior is excellent with signs around the venue in Thai, a Thai train, loads of Thai t-shirts, decorations and decor. It really feels like you are on a Thai street. There are also Tuk-Tuk to sit in which added to the realistic feel this place has. The plates were taken away quickly once we’d finished. Although I would have preferred the starters to come out separately to the mains, as the mains got a little cold whilst they were out.
Overall I was very impressed with the decor of Zaap, is which is second to none, and really adds to what they are trying to achieve and the overall dining experience. The food I had was also pretty good especially the peanut sauce that came with the chicken satays as this was full of both texture and flavour, as was the Pad Thai as all the ingredients worked well to compliment each other and proved to be a very tasty dish. However, some aspects of the service such as forgetting the drinks and bringing everything at once could be improved upon, although as the venue is still very new I’m sure that this will come with experience. I’d recommend people to visit Zaap and I think that it fits a range of occasions from a few starter type dishes for lunch to some larger dishes such as curry or Pad Thai for dinner.
Location: Unit B, Bromley Place, Nottingham, NG1 6JG.
Telephone number: 0115 947 0204
Opening times: 11am till 12am everyday with the last food orders being 11pm.