An Evening at Sabai Sabai, Harborne

As a blogger, I find myself at all sorts of events, and sometimes get invited somewhere alongside press, PRs and general important types, which is obviously very different from your standard blogger event.

Sabai Sabai in Harborne (they also have a branch in Moseley) invited a selection of friends, bloggers, PRs, press and foodie types to celebrate the launch of their new menu.

Sabai Sabai

Sabai Sabai offer modern Thai cuisine, and I’ve actually being meaning to go and try it out for a while. I adore Thai food, and we live very near the Harborne restaurant. It’s one I’ve walked past and looked at longingly on many an occasion…

The restaurant itself is lovely inside, with huge windows letting the sunshine pour in. I arrived straight from work, hot, flustered and very ready for a drink. The restaurant manager appeared almost instantly, and welcomed me to Sabai Sabai. At this point, I still hadn’t realised it wasn’t all bloggers, so after I’d made a bit of a tit myself by answering  the “Where are you from?: question with where I lived, and not the fact I was a blogger, the nice man took pity on me and guided me to the bar.

Golden Bags at Sabai Sabai

As it was more of a networking style event, I found myself juggling bag, jacket, phone, drink and camera, so I didn’t actually photograph anything except canapes. Blogger problems…

I started with a cocktail I didn’t learn the name of, but I think was a twist on a Bellini, with what tasted like Lychee. Whatever it was, it was light and cool, and hit the spot coming in from the hot bus!

Thai food in Birmingham

I tracked down Charlotte from LilMissChickas, and Helen from Positive Fridays. We set up a bloggers’ corner, near the door, and promptly made a pile of bags and cameras, so we had enough hands to attack the passing trays of canapes.

It’s always hard to get a real of a menu from canapes, and from speaking to the staff, it seemed Sabai Sabai had made some changes to main menu dishes to make them canape friendly.

Canapes Sabai Sabai

Everybody bearing a tray laden with food was excellent. They were all very patient with us awkward bloggers making them hold things at photogenic angles, and happily talked us through each canape and the ingredients. Unfortunately, I have a memory like a sieve but I can tell you that the Golden Bags (fried parcels stuffed with marinated prawns and chicken) were the stand out. They were full to bursting with lightly spicy prawns, with just enough heat. The Thai Calamari was excellent too, though not for the faint of heart, as this dish was much spicier.

Sabai Sabai Birmingham

Larger portions of wings, fish and drunken noodles began to appear, all perfectly cooked and delicious.

I always find it hard to write up events like this, as of course, it is not the typical experience for a regular visitor to the restaurant. I still don’t really feel I’ve ‘tried’ Sabai Sabai, but my experience has pushed it further up my list to make sure I do go and eat there properly.

Everything we ate was excellent and the surroundings lovely, but what really stood out was the staff. Squeezing through a crowd with a tray of canapés is not easy, but they were all welcoming, friendly and knowledgeable. I would love to go back and review Sabai Sabai properly, as I get the feeling it would be a fantastic evening.

Have you been to Sabai Sabai? What did you think?

I was a guest of Sabai Sabai and Delicious PR. All opinions are honest and my own. 

 

 

Blogger Problems

From the outside, it can look like bloggers lead a charmed life. A life that is a whirlwind of events, free products and Instagram. Alright, sometimes it is like that, but usually it’s actually pretty unglamorous. At an event last week, I caught myself with a couple of bloggers talking about the really silly parts of blogger issues. So, with tongue firmly in cheek, here’s the worst blogger problems out there.

Blogger Problems

  • It is surprisingly challenging to eat a canape at the same time as photograph it. Those more networking style events are a minefield if you’re trying to get content from them. You need one hand to hold your drink, another to hold a canape, another to hold your camera to photograph that canape, a hand for your phone so you can tweet and instagram about your swank life and yet another hand for shaking the hand of the PR someone is trying to introduce you too. Add in trying to hold your bag or your coat (sometimes your laptop if you came straight from work) and you need to be some kind of octopus blogger.
  • You can’t remember the last time you ate food in a restaurant (or often your own cooking at home) that was the intended temperature. By the time you’ve rearranged the table, shifted the plate around to find some non-orange light (WHY IS EVERYWHERE LIT SO ORANGE!!), upset your dining companion by asking them to please get their bloody arm out of your shot, and finally got  a photo of your meal that you’re happy with, it’s gone cold.
  • People have started refusing to come for dinner with you. Either their dinner is cold after all the rearranging, you’ve scolded them or stabbed them with a fork for trying to eat before you’ve finished taking pictures, or you’ve shamed them by standing up, standing on your chair, or generally whipping out a giant camera and flash gun, to take the very best picture. You find yourself saying things like, “Photos before forks!”. So now you have to eat alone…
  • You’ve bought a new product, maybe a coveted eye shadow palette or something like that, and you’re desperate to try it out. Trouble is, you need to photograph it first before you ruin how pretty it looks, and the idea of setting up the shot seems like a lot of hassle just to put on some eyeshadow.
  • You’re so used to making flatlays for Instagram, you keep arranging everything you own into attractive flatlays. The food shopping, your makeup, your outfit choice. The cat. Your housemate.
  • A huge part of your day is involved in looking for suitably cool looking walls to take your outfit photos in front of.
  • Events are a minefield. You’ve come straight from work and arrive an underdressed, sweaty mess. You’ve smeared canape down your coat. Someone important from a magazine fell over your work bag after you tried to subtly put it down so you had enough hands for cameras and drinks and hand shaking. You’ve forgotten that blogger’s actual name and can only remember their Twitter handle. Somebody asked where you were from and you cheerfully answered, “Worcester!” before realising they meant, what blog are you from. So much cringe ahead.
  • Photography can be the best fun, but also a bloody nightmare. You get set up and the sun goes in. You bought a beautiful camera, but it won’t fit in your bag, and it’s so heavy it nearly pulls your shoulder off. You feel like the world’s biggest knob making your friend take ‘candid’ photos of you for outfit posts. It’s just all very awkward.

What’s the silliest blogger problem you’ve experiences?

Summer Menu Tasting at Marmalade, Birmingham

An invite to a Bitters N Twisted venue should always be accepted. You can guarantee good company, tasty food and lashings of booze. When Marmalade asked if I’d like to try out the new summer menu, I of course said YES.

Marmalade, Birmingham

Based in the Rep Theatre, Marmalade has a decor that reminds you of a cross between a stage set, a cool bar and your nan’s living room. Trust me, it works.

We were welcomed with a new cocktail. As usual, I have forgotten the name of this, and I can’t find it on the drinks menu, but it was kaffir lime liquer and tonic. It was very, very tasty. Light, refreshing, and perfect for summer evenings. Very drinkable!

Marmalade menu

Fish in Birmingham

The starters were served buffet style, with sharing platters, and mini versions of the full size starters. Marmalade prides itself on offering vegetarian and fish options that are as good as the meat options, so we started off with a taste of some of the fishy starters.

We tried the Fish Sharing Platter (£14), which serves two. Served on a board, the  platter has tequila cured salmon, potted mackerel, calamari, rollmops, lemon tartare and crispy bread. Despite the fact I like fish, this isn’t something I would order normally, but I definitely will now! Everything on it was delicious. The calamari was perfectly cooked; crisp without a hint of rubberiness. The potted mackerel I could have just eaten the whole jar with a spoon. Flavourful, without being overpoweringly fishy. If you do like fish, I highly recommend this.

The fish starters were accompanied by the Paloma Faith (£7) which is tequila, dry vermouth and agave syrup, topped with grapefruit Ting. If you like your cocktails to actually taste of alcohol, this is a good pick. Pleasingly boozy, but fresh enough to cut through all that fish.

Marmalade Starters

Vegetarian Starters

Cocktails in Birmingham

Next was canape versions of two of the starters. The Rabbit and Ham Hock Terrine (£5.95) was a little rich and gamey for my taste, but seemed to go down a treat with the others. The accompanying orange and vermouth marmalade was excellent though; sweet and sticky.

The Heritage Tomato and Goats Cheese Salad, (£6.25) served with taparnade, is the perfect summer starter. I love tomatos, so this is a great starter for me.

These starters were joined by a Cherry Orchard (£7). This cocktail is vodka, sweet vermouth,  cherry syrup and cranberry juice. It was a little sweet for me, but still tasty. Excellent for those with more of a sweet tooth.

Main courses Marmalade

Flexitarian dishes

Vegetarian dishes

We got to try mini versions of the four new main courses on the summer menu. The Sweet Potato Curry (£11.50) is vegan, and is packed with fresh, tasty veg. I’d have liked a little more heat, but with it’s subtle warmth, this is sure to be a crowd pleaser. My favourite was the Trout and Smoked Haddock Fishcakes (£13.50). Topped with a poached duck egg, the fishcakes are a very generous size, and fried beautifully.  The Free Range Chicken Supreme (£13.75) was almost sweet, with a wholegrain mustard cider sauce. The Teriyaki Salmon (£14.75) would be perfect for a pre-theatre dinner. The dish was simple, served with wild rice, but would be a good filling option to eat, that wouldn’t sit heavy and make you sleepy when the house lights go down.

There was, naturally, another cocktail paired with all this. This time it was Noises Off (£7), which is gin, vermouth and elderflower topped with sparkling apple. This is another great choice for a summer drink. Fruity and refreshing.

Dessert at Marmalade

Negroni

As if all that wasn’t enough, dessert arrived. Afogatto or vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso to pour over, is the perfect round off to a big meal. The vanilla ice cream was excellent, and I was impressed to see they even had a dairy free ice cream for the dairy free diner with us that night.

To finish us off, (and wow did it), the My Fair Negroni. Be warned, with gin, Suze gentian liquer and vermouth, this is strong. It tastes strong too, and I only drank about half of mine and had to give up. If I hadn’t already drunk several cocktails, I would have managed it, but this is definitely one to buy and drink slowly.

As always, we had an excellent evening at Marmalade. Pop along and try out their new summer menu.

I was a guest of Marmalade, invited to try out the new summer menu in exchange for my thoughts. All opinions are honest and my own.