Dinner and theatre night out with my daughter in Leeds????
Well, I wasn’t expecting this, just round the corner from The Grand Theatre at the bottom of the Grand Arcade sits Zaap Thai Street Food.
A Saturday night in Leeds, and a packed Thai restaurant that looked like it should be in the back streets of Bangkok, a chaotic place packed with people and life, Thai signs everywhere in a jumble of gaudy colours, and an open plan kitchen crewed by a group of Thai chefs flinging noodles around in woks.
Zaap Thai Street Food is brilliant.
In Thailand, street food is an art, and there are small carts that expand into micro restaurants on every street corner. If you have spent any time at all in Thailand or Indonesia, and you quickly realise that these little street restaurants, nothing more than a stove on wheels and a collection of ramshackle tables, offer up the finest food imaginable, for pennies. The range and diversity of dishes is astonishing, and the quality of dishes difficult to comprehend.
This is the sort of experience that Zaap appears to bring to Leeds, and they do it very well. The menu is a sheet of A3 on which orders are scrawled, tables come loaded with chopsticks, there are a couple of Tuk Tuks dotted around, some converted into booths. Everything is a bit cramped to purposely heighten the bustle and the excitement of it all.
And it works. It has atmosphere, and its tremendous fun.
And of the food?
And it’s cheap, too. Three course dinner for two for £28.
The Grand Theatre and Opera House is indeed very grand, built in 1878 in a backlash to the music hall tradition which was thought by ‘polite society’ to lower the tone of entertainment via the sort of humour presented in these pub-based establishments.
The exterior is in a mixture of Romanesque and Scottish baronial styles, while the interior has such gothic motifs as fan-vaulting and clustered columns.
The Girls, the new musical by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, celebrates the inspirational Calendar Girls and takes you on a rollercoaster ride of love, loss, hope and incredible bravery.
The opening number, listen to it here – ‘Yorkshire’, introduces the cast and sets the tone for the show’s musical style. Witty, conversational and full of uplifting melodies and empowering high notes.
With these things, and a bit of hope, you can take on the world, and in real life, that’s what the women of the Rylstone and District WI did when they produced their calendar. This was no ordinary WI calendar. This was determined, inspirational women coming together to honour a great man, help their friend through a devastating loss and show the world exactly what they’re made of. Because that’s how Yorkshire folk deal with loss, struggles and challenges. Dry wit, daft jokes, good friends and a cup of tea.
The penultimate scene when they shoot the calendar, was the flamboyant finale everyone had been waiting for. We all left the theatre smiling and slightly tearful.
What more can I say – a super night out in Leeds!