What better way to kick off St.Patrick’s weekend than with dinner at the always thriving Saba. Set up 2006 (although it seems like much longer) by Paul Cadden, Saba has firmly placed itself as one of the top destinations for thai cuisine in Ireland. Mix that with Cadden’s vision for a serious cocktail destination and it appears you have a recipe for success. By the look of things we were fortunate enough to get a booking the day before, as the city centre bars and restaurants seemed to be awash with people, which is a great thing to see. Nothing creates an atmosphere like a busy restaurant and Saba have atmosphere in abundance. Looking around the room it is clear to see Saba is a huge hit with both young and old. Plenty of groups of friends catching up, romantic dinners for two and after work bites surrounded us as we were led to our table. The resident DJ was popping out some tunes, but not to the extent you had to shout over your dinner. This is all part of the Saba experience, relaxed dining with high quality Thai food and efficient but personable service.
To set the night on the right tone we decided to try a couple of the much acclaimed Saba cocktails and it appears we were not alone as the cocktails were whizzing past, each one looking better than the next. It would have been a sin not to try the Bacardi Legacy Ireland cocktail competition winning “Garrigue” designed by Karim Mehdi, Saba’s top mixologist. Tastefully presented in a martini glass with with delicious citrus flavours bursting through, mixed perfectly with the Bacardi Superior, well worth trying if you in.
Good cocktails are one thing but good food can be often more of a challenge, especially in a busy restaurant where inconsistencies can often creep in. Thankfully this is not something to worry about in Saba as consistency is something head chef Taweesak Trakoolwattana (Tao) ensures they do brilliantly. We opted for two starters, firstly Hoisin Duck rolls, three in total arrived, neatly packaged confit of duck with julienne of leek and a superb hoisin sauce to the side. More than generous portions, almost enough to share! Trying to balance a less carnivorous starter we settled on a Tangy Tempura Pak, a truly tasty vegetarian option. A beautiful tempura of sweet potato and courgettes with a tangy little mustard lime mayo.
A nice little break between dishes was just what the doctor ordered before we moved onto the mains. We liked the fact we didn’t feel rushed even in a busy setting and the cocktails acted as a good palette cleanser (well that’s our excuse anyway). For mains there is a fantastic selection of noodle, curry, wok and fish dishes with lots on offer for veggie options and most mains average around €16.95. Mid week you can avail of Saba’s 2 course dinner for €23.95 or a quick bite over lunch with 2 courses setting you back €13.95, excellent value for money for any restaurant in this area.
We settled on a Gaeng Pet Nua, a red beef curry laced with pea aubergine and sweet basil. Generous chunks of beef, tender and spicy served with perfectly steamed rice to the side. Sticking with the curry theme and a Taste favourite was the Massaman Chicken. Not quite as hot as the beef but still plenty of kick to it, a super dish mixed with potatoes, onions, peanuts and topped with a a delightful layer of crispy shallots. On this occasion we decided to pass on desserts as the two courses were more than substantial, however we intend on sampling some of these on our return visit.
The bill came to €77.80 with optional service including 2 drinks. No doubt you can have a great experience and dining adventure in Saba and it won’t break the bank.
This is a Thai Taste we highly recommend.
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Keith & Jules Mahon are the founders of TheTaste. We want TheTaste to be a culinary kaleidoscope to champion every taste, food, wine, cocktails, whiskey, etc. We are delighted to be part of such a creative and fast moving industry and are very passionate about sharing with you our unique journey around Ireland finding the best culinary hotspots.