Zaab promises to halt Braddon's descent into dude food with a welcome blast of street-wise and spicy Lao-Thai eats. The vibe is busy but not bustling, with plenty of bar seating and bandana-clad bar staff ready to join the fun. Graffiti-daubed corrugated-iron walls and a noodle cart play to the street-food theme.
A dad-and-daughter team of Laotian heritage send out fine Lao-Thai dishes including a house-made sausage superb in its balance of heat, texture, and zingy herbal freshness. Lime, red onion and herbs make for an excellent chicken larb with a slow, creeping heat factor, while large bites of juicy pork and son-in-law eggs are among the best of the small snacks, and pad Thai and red curry duck with lychees suit sweeter palates.
Cocktail smarts are evident behind the bar - a thyme-infused Negroni is finely balanced. Over a dozen craft and Asian beers and a small selection of wine by the glass round out the drink options.
Zaab Street Food, 2/9 Lonsdale St, Braddon, ACT, (02) 6156 5638, zaabstreetfood.com.au