Thanks to a certain blogger (cough, Hey it’s Fay, cough), I am now entirely incapable of saying Sabai Sabai without doing an impression of Cilla Black on Surprise Surprise. Luckily, I am a Thai food obsessive, so new annoying habits aside, the promise of a visit to Sabai Sabai‘s new city centre venue was an exciting one.
The restaurant is beautiful inside, with beautiful light fittings, soft lighting and cosy seats with plenty of scatter cushions. The sleek bar is well stocked with lots of treats too, so naturally that was my first visit.
We were given a Bangkok Fizz (£8.25) to kick things off. Citrus orange, kalamansi puree, lemongrass syrup and Absolute vodka are shaken over ice then topped with Prosecco. Think a Bucks Fizz with a Thai twist. Tasty, not too sweet and a great fruity start to an evening.
We piled into a long booth table and were talked through our options for the evening. A full-bodied Pinot Noir was served with our starters, to complement the rich meaty flavours about to come. I will confess, it is a pet hate of mine at review meals to be just given plates to share with the table (it’s the only child in me, I clearly hate to share…), and I’d much rather just choose my own dinner. My own grumps aside, the Sabai Sabai Meat Platter (£12.95 per person, for a minimum of 2 people) is a good way to try a few of the meat starters. The chicken wings were the highlight. The meat dropped off the bone, and was moist and full of flavour. The spare ribs are a little sweet for my taste, but again are soft and tender. The crispy duck rolls are enormous, crammed full with well-cooked duck, encased in crisp, flaky pastry. The lamb chops are not really my thing, as I’d have liked more spice, but were pleasingly pink in the middle.
The red wine was swapped for a white, and a selection of main dishes hit the table (thanks to Miss Pond for photos. She very kindly snapped away on my camera as I couldn’t actually reach most of the plates from my seat…). The Weeping Tiger Sirloin (£16.95) was beautifully cooked. The tender steak had a pleasant mix of Thai spices, and was soft and juicy. The star of the show around the table was clearly the Beef Short Rib (£13.95). The meat fell apart at the slightest pressure from the fork, and was well smothered in rich Massaman sauce. The Pad Thai (£10.95) was a little bland for my taste, but the Monk Fish (£17.95), cooked in green curry sauce with char-grilled aubergine, fine beans and bamboo shoots, was excellent. The sauce let the flavour of the fish come through, but was still full of gentle Thai spices.
One disappointment though was the lack of knowledge from the staff on some of the dishes. I was sat with the vegetarian diners and was surprised to hear a curry be presented with only the words, “This is vegan”, with no other information. A mystery dish also arrived and we had to ask several times whether it was vegetarian, to be told the waiter would go and ask, which never happened. We eventually decided for ourselves it was, but I’m still not sure what dish it actually was from the menu (maybe the Papaya Salad, which has fish sauce, so is not actually veggie).
Instead of dessert, we finished off with an Espresso Martini (£.7.75). This was excellent. The touch of cinnamon was a delicious addition, with the martini itself tasting strongly of coffee and avoiding the sweetness of others I’ve had recently.
The new venue is a gorgeous addition to Sabai Sabai, and with some more menu training, you’d be in for a night of good food and good service. After we’d eaten, we had a quick chat with one of the owners, and she’s clearly really passionate about delivering great quality Thai cuisine. The new space is sleek, and welcoming, and would be an excellent dinner spot, especially if you’ve got someone to impress.
I was a guest of Sabai Sabai and Delicious PR. Food and drinks were complementary for the purpose of honest review. All opinions, words and images are my own.