Sabai Thai has long been a favourite restaurant of Craig Ferriman’s. The quality of Thai cooking in a gorgeous setting with stellar service makes it an unrivalled dining option but he found himself in for a bit of a surprise when FACT sent him there last month. Why? Well, he had an amazing evening and didn’t eat any Thai food!

What on earth am I talking about? Well, there is now a new menu offering at Sabai Thai with a select choice that is a kind of best-ofthe-regional-neighbours list. Sabai Thai has tried to stretch itself and rather than falling on its proverbial face, it has risen to the challenge.

There is a story behind the menu and the food they serve up. The menu explains that it is a conversation between Tida, a young journalist writing a story about Asian cuisine inspired by her grandmother, Jampha’s recipes and experiences. I wanted to know more of that story and that conversation but I let the food do the talking. It told a tale of authenticity and rich intricate flavour.

I started with what they call Tida’s pick which proved a sensational starter. It was that rather rare treat of a warm salmon salad which was pan-fried with an ensemble of cucumber, cherry tomato, lettuce, chilli honey and lemon dressing which really made it sing. I’m hardly ever as impressed by the starter as I am by the main course but they all stood on their own merit on this menu. That statement could equally be applied to the waygu beef salad. Their shrimp seaweed wraps were delicious especially the accompanying hot sauce and the Singapore chili crab dumpling really got the juices flowing.

There were only five main courses on this Thai restaurant’s alternative menu. It shows they value only serving the very best and not a single dish below par. It was hard to pick a favourite but the beef rendang certainly was special. Described as Jampha’s secret recipe, it was everything you expected an Indonesian beef curry with ground spices and coconut milk to be with a special but secret twist.

There was only one seafood dish which was astonishing. The Cambodian grilled lobster with sriracha butter sauce is a must for pescatarians. They do a nasi goreng which I nearly didn’t try, thinking you can get it a lot and what is so special but they nailed it. There are two Chinese dishes that are well known but rarely this good. The kitchen cooked a tremendous five spices roasted duck with bok choi and pickle ginger. Plus, they offer a Szechuan chicken which is a popular Chinese stir fry with capsicum and spring onion in a kickass sauce.

It was impossible to pick a best dish though the beef rendang was a favourite. This food is next level and though it might seem a little weird to go to a Thai restaurant and not eat Thai food, there is nothing wrong with being a bit outside the box especially with the food is this good! Well done, Sabai Thai for keeping things original, creative and exciting! ✤