Zap Restaurants opened their first outlet in 1996 in the Food Court in Albert Street, Auckland CBD. Their second outlet, Zap2 Thai Café & Bar, opened in Balmoral in 1999. Having established a good reputation, and ably supported by their extended family, the owners, Payao and Hamish, opened two further outlets Zap3 and Zap4 in a Queen St Food Court. The Balmoral restaurant was continually full, with often 20 customers waiting on the footpath for a table at the weekends. In 2004 a major renovation was completed which doubled the size of Zap2, much to the delight of both staff and customers. With this increased business, it was decided to consolidate on just two of the sites, Zap2 and Zap4.
Zap4 Esan Thai Cuisine was relocated to a stand alone outlet in Commerce St, Auckland CBD, in 2007, retaining the very successful foodcourt format. Customers who found the foodcourt not to their liking returned in large numbers especially the local business community. Lunchtimes were always very busy. Customers of both outlets continue to enjoy Thai food cooked to the highest standard at a very reasonable price.
The building owner in Commerce St decided to demolish, so Zap4 closed for good in January 2016. This gave Payao and Hamish the opportunity to consolidate on one site, Zap2, and open all day, 364 days a year. By now, the extended family were operating their own restaurants, Sweet Chilli at Pt Chev and Chomna Thai Food in Lorne St.
Zap2 Balmoral has an extensive range of North-East Thai dishes, as well as a full range of all the most popular Thai meals. They are fully licensed, with the BYO Wine being a very popular choice with the customers.
Staff in the kitchen are mostly close family of Payao, ably supported at the front of house by Thai students which combine to give a very family type atmosphere at Zap2.