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Food & Drink Reviews

zaapchristmas18.jpg A Zaap around the chops

While other foodie outlets are trying to come up with interesting ways to serve turkey and stuffing this month, Zaap are sticking to their guns with a vibrant Bangkok street food menu that contains not one overcooked Brussels sprout.

 I DO love a Christmas dinner but in the run-up to the big day I’m careful not to overdose on pigs-in-blankets. Too much of a good thing is literally TOO MUCH of a good thing. That’s why, when eating out in December, I tend to gravitate towards establishments offering meals markedly bereft of roast parsnips and the like. And one of the places I have gravitated towards more than most since it opened in 2016 is Zaap in Newcastle.

There are only three of them in the country (the other two are in Leeds and Nottingham) and they’ve obviously spent time to get the look and feel of the place just right. The north-east incarnation is a real riot of colour and is the closest you’re going to get to a Bangkok street food market without forking out a grand for an airline ticket. Visually they’re all about the hustle, they’re all about the bustle, with funky Tuk Tuks, strings of lights and street signs all competing for your attention. Also competing for your attention is the myriad of delights to be found on the menu which covers the full gamut of authentic Thai cuisine.

My starters usually take in the crispy wontons stuffed with minced chicken and prawns, or the mixed vegetable spring rolls, or the chicken toast (which consists or marinated minced chicken sprinkled with sesame seeds and served on toast), and for mains I’m usually feasting on the Som Tum Gai Yang (Thai papaya salad with grilled strips of pork skewers and sticky rice – comfort food doesn’t get much comfort-er) or Pla Neung Ma Now (steamed whole bass with Chinese leaves, chilli, coriander and garlic in lemon soup – seven shades of delicious).

They’ve also got a lovely and inventive dessert selection too such as Ghow Guay (Chinese black jelly in syrup with shaved ice), Glouy Tod (deep fried sliced banana in sweet crispy batter) and more traditional fare such as chocolate fudge cake. The menu also has plenty of zingy vegetarian choices, too.

The drinks menu – which has always been good – recently got even better with new additions including some extra cocktails (the salted caramel espresso martini is beyond reproach), purple bubble teas, more gins and a couple of new beers. And their 2-4-£10 offer (Sunday-Thursday, 11am-6pm) is still up and running. Now that’s what I call more Bangkok for your buck.

Zaap, 117 Newgate Street, Newcastle. Sun-Thurs 11am-11pm, Fri-Sat 11am-12am. 0191 230 1280. zaapthai.co.uk (they have also just released a merchandise range full of quirk. More from: shopzaap.co.uk).