A year and a half on, and Sabai in Richmond is as glorious as ever.
The restaurant continues to celebrate assertive Thai flavours with youthful vigour with an exemplary menu of classically-inspired and creative Thai cuisine that makes a statement.
We started with the Gai Tod. A commendable dish of crispy fried chicken. Each meaty morsel was crusted with a flavoursome spice mix and then perfectly fried to achieve a moreish crunchy exterior which beautifully with the accompanying tamarind chili sauce.
The Pad Cha was similarly delicious. Plump Crystal Bay prawns, tender ribbons of squid, Thai ginger and basil feature in a spicy stir-fry which showcased the unique fragrance of whole fresh green peppercorns. This dish boasted the perfect level of heat with the aromatic sauce lightly coating each component of the stir fry– simply delicious.
For mains the Penang curry of 4 hour slow braised Great Southern Pinnacle Beef Rib with Thai eggplant, chili and herbs
was an absolute showstopper. The beef was falling off the bone and was beautifully tender and succulent. Marrying a perfect balance of spices and sweetness, the accompanying curry was one of the best examples of a Thai Penang curry we have had. Together with steamed rice, the robust and fragrant dish was an addictive and comforting dish.
The vivid coloured Stir fried chicken with cashews, red capsicum, dried chilies, broccolini, snow peas and spring onion was comfort food at its best. Soft and moist chicken harmonised well with the warm crunch of freshly toasted cashew nuts.
We couldn't resist also ordering a regular favourite - Crispy barramundi with fresh herb and apple salad. As usual, yum. An interesting take on the traditional, barramundi is decidedly cubed (instead of being served whole) and then fried to a perfect crispy exterior with plenty of surface area to soak up the pleasant chili, lemongrass and sweet sour dressing.
To finish, a duo of desserts concluded our evening on a sweet high.
The Coconut ice cream was refreshing. Of particular note was the addition of crunchy toffee infused with kaffir lime leaves which added interest and enhanced the flavour of the ice cream.
Sabai’s take on the pannacotta was also delicious. Wonderfully melt in your mouth, the pannacotta went beautifully with the textural coconut crumble and frozen berries. A welcome departure from the mundane, this dessert offered its own unique characteristics. We loved the familiar yet different flavour combinations.
With a firm grasp on the fine art of balancing Thai flavours of salinity, sweetness, heat and acidity, Sabai continues to draw in the crowds with its compelling proposition of beautiful and punchy food. Each visit has left us eagerly anticipating the next.
Location: 460 Church Street, Richmond
Phone: 03 8528 6884