Popping out for a nice spot of lunch always puts a spring in my step, especially if the restaurant is five minutes down the road. Think about the time that one wastes in traffic and parking, when you can be writing or drinking coffee or chillaxing with The Punisher on Netflix.
I have dined at Zing Vaa numerous times, and a review has been in the pipeline since the summer. And with a few short weeks till the end of the year, I realised now is the time to write about one of my favourite restaurants.
It has recently undergone a refurb under new management, check out these gorgeous exposed beams. The new look is classic minimalist, and with light jazz and Sinatra playing in the background, Zing Vaa is an easy, comfortable place to be.
There are two seating areas, window area and the back. As I love people-watching (that Shakespeare dude was right – people-watching is one of the greatest pastimes ever), I always ask for a table near the window. The traffic on Burton Road can get quite busy, so if you prefer a little more privacy, then ask for a table towards the back.
The restaurant has two sittings, lunch and dinner. I reviewed the Business Lunch, which consists of 3 courses for £6.95. It is a compact menu, with around 3 choices for each portion of the menu. For the main, you choose your base (prawn, chicken or vegetable), sauce (Kung Po, Oyster or Satay) and accompaniment (egg fried rice or chips) and you’re good to go.
For starter I had cream of sweetcorn soup. Fresh corn kernels with delicate sweetness was moreish, and which came swimming in onion-based stock. The first thing that hits you is the freshness of the dish.
And that is what Zing Vaa excels at – taking simple ingredients and elevating them to another level. On the face of it – sweetcorn soup – can be just normal. The thing with Zing Vaa, is that nothing here is “just normal”. By using fresh produce daily and respecting every ingredient on the plate, the Zing Vaa chefs create food that is memorable and delicious.
For main, I tucked into my favourite of Kung Po King prawn with egg-fried rice. I could taste fiery dried chillies with an earthy piquant kick, plus peppercorns in a sauce that had a slight tang on the swallow. The egg-fried rice was very good and served timbale, to make presentation pretty and easy on the eye.
Dining partner enjoyed chicken in black bean sauce (pictured above). The fermented bean base held hints of shallot and ginger, making this another tasty sauce, and perhaps one for those who prefer a less spicy sauce.
There are a range of ice-creams available, and I always choose raspberry ripple. There is something unabashedly nostalgic about this flavour, and I love the creamy, zingy finish to a beautiful meal.
You also get Fortune Cookies (I would love to make these from scratch one day), which have a hint of orange blossom in them. Plus I always find it fun to read what fate has in store for me – it’s always something positive.
Dining at Zing Vaa feels like a grown-up affair. Service with a smile is the icing on the cake. Front of House Beth is a star in her own right, putting you at ease as soon as you’ve stepped through the door, right to when she proffers you a goodbye mint. I love Zing Vaa, and it is one of my favourite places for lunch in Derby (heck the East Midlands).
Zing Vaa have Christmas menus too, vegetarian (£19.95) and non-vegetarain (£29.95) minimum two people ordering from each menu.
I strongly urge you to visit Zing Vaa – delicious food, fresh and wholesome, plus sublime service is what awaits you. Team Zing Vaa, see you again very soon.
Rating: (1: Hate: I’d rather eat my shoe – 10: Love: I’d sell my kidney for a meal here)
Value for money: 10
Restaurant name: Zing Vaa
Address: 524-528 Burton Rd, Derby DE23 6FN
Opening times: 2 services per day.
Lunch: Tues – Sat 12pm-2:30pm
Dinner: Tues – Thurs 5:30pm-11pm / Fri – Sat 5:30pm-11:30pm
Sunday buffet: 12pm-9pm
How to make reservation: Telephone
Call: 01332 294524
Front of House: Beth
Whilst in the area: Check out the Ugly Duckling Coffee Shop, which serves artisan coffee and scrumptious cakes.