With the street food craze going from strength to strength in Leeds any new comers to the scene will have to arrive with a bang, or in this case a ZAAP!
The newest offering in town is Thai street food restaurant Zaap, which being my favourite types of food I just had to check out.
I headed to Zaap, situated in the Grand Arcade, on opening night with a couple of mates and was excited to see what was in store. I had heard it comes from the brains behind Sukhothai so had high expectations. Word had also got round that Zaap was to be chilled out and affordable which makes it appealing for any crowd whatever the occasion.
On entering it is clear that Zaap have achieved exactly what they have set out to do, they have brought the streets of Bangkok to Leeds. The neon lights and busy décor, with eat in Tuk-tuks and open kitchen, meshed with the quirky music creates a bustling atmosphere which has an air of excitement.
Our speedy server for the night helped us choose a seat, took us through the extensive menu, and then was quick on his heels to bring us our round of Chang beers. The menu has an insane amount of options which I suppose is true to its Thai roots, with rice, noodles, meat, dim zum, as well as snacks and nibbles dishes on offer there is bound to be something for everyone.
As already mentioned, Thai is my favourite type of food, so I knew this was going to be a winner for me – my picky friend however is not as easily pleased. Wanting to try a selection, and feeling in the sharing spirit, the three of us ordered a variety from the different sub-menus to have the complete Zaap experience. From the ‘snacks and nibbles’ we went for the Gai Satay (grilled chicken skewers with peanut sauce), the Kiew Tod (crispy wontons stuffed with minced chicken and prawn) as well as Khow Kreb Tod, that’s prawn crackers to you and me.
Our choices left us agreeably satisfied and raring to taste our next round of dishes, what’s more the snacks and nibbles are priced between £1.00-£5.50, so are definitely not to be sniffed at!
Next up was a portion of Dim Zum, steamed dumplings with pork and prawn, along with a traditional Pad Thai from the noodles section, and the Pad Prik Gang served with Jasmine Rice. I find Dim Zum can often be rather tricky to get just right, Zaap seemed to have perfected the nack of steaming the dumplings, and also have the option of deep frying them if you’d rather them crispy. Pad Thai is always a guaranteed winner and this occasion was no exception, the ingredients were fresh and flavoursome and had my picky friend eating her hat. Finally the Pad Prik Gang added a kick to our meal, the red curry dish with chicken, green beans, red pepper, mushroom, carrot and lime leaves was pleasantly spiced which was complimented by the jasmine in the fluffy rice, we also ordered a side of Sticky Rice just to ensure we had enough to go around.
Although we didn’t go overboard on our order the three of us felt like we had a decent filling, we did have plenty of other dishes in mind to try but they will have to wait for the next visit. Zaap also have countless veggie options and a list of desserts that will sweetly round your trip off. What was most surprising for us was that our taste of Thailand cost just over £10.00 per head, an absolute bargain for such high quality food.
Zaap is a great addition to the Leeds street food scene, it is authentic in every aspect, from the food to the lively atmosphere. Not only is it very affordable but also open until late so you can always pop in after having a drink or two in the nearby bars.