A NIGHT out on the town with old friends has to be one of my favourite things.
So, when my other half arranged a catch-up over dinner with pals, they agreed on Aberdeen’s latest authentic Thai restaurant, Sabai.
As a self-confessed lover of Italian food, I was out-voted, and although I wasn’t griping, (too much) I confess I felt a little disappointed I wouldn’t be tucking in to my favourite grub.
Fortunately, my spirits were quickly lifted as I walked into the welcoming restaurant.
I was intrigued as I took my seat by the red glow from bubble tanks that adorn the walls on either side of the restaurant – which created quite a talking point.
The menu – which had a fantastic range of starters – left me in a quandary over what to choose.
The Poo-Nim Gratium (deep-fried soft shell crabs) or the Kha-Nom-Jeeb (steamed dumplings) both sounded divine.
In the end, David and I opted to share the Sabai mixed appetisers which included spring rolls, pastry wrapped prawns, chicken satay, prawn toast and Thai fish cakes, which came with the finest dips I have ever tasted.
I know it’s the food that should be the acid test of any dining experience, but it’s attention to detail I also look for. Crisp, clean linen, pretty dishes, shiny cutlery – I was not disappointed.
David and I wasted no time in tucking into the platter.
The light batter of the spring rolls, and the pastry prawns simply melted in the mouth.
I wasn’t too sure about the texture of the fishcakes, even though they were flavoursome, but that’s my only quibble. My other half had no complaints. Everything on the starter dish looked amazing, and it was all gone in the blink of an eye. And health-conscious David conceded there was not a drop of grease in sight.
On to our main event, and again Sabai had a impressive choice – everything from curries, to a variety of chicken dishes, duck, beef, and a great selection of seafood dishes. I knew David wouldn’t go past the sea bass selection, and true to form he opted for the Pla Nueng Se-eew (steamed sea bass with garlic and coriander).
I opted for the Hoy Shell Choo Chee (scallops in a creamy red curry sauce). We also ordered a portion of Khao Ka-ti (steamed Thai Jasmine rice with coconut) and Khao Niew (Thai traditional sticky rice).
David said his sea bass had just the right kick of ginger – enough to add a zing, but not so much that the flavour of the fish was lost.
My good-size scallops were melt-in-the-mouth delicious.
And although, much to my delight, the thick red curry sauce had a bit of a kick, the cream of the sauce prevented me from having to reach for a glass of water.
As I sat back, filled and content, taking in the sophisticated hum of my surroundings, I was delighted to discover the name of the restaurant – Sabai, which translates into ‘relax’ – was spot on in every way.