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In Ireland, by and large, Oriental restaurants seldom reach the top end of the market. Therefore, Sabai has turned out to be an absolute gem in more ways than one being high class in every respect but price.
This divine establishment opened just before Christmas 2007 and was much anticipated by local gastronomes. The proprietors, Seamus and Catherine Heffernan, already run a very successful Thai restaurant in the city but wanted to go for something more upmarket. With this in mind they purchased a delightful Georgian property on Waterford's Mall and renovated it with a meticulous eye to detail. All fittings were imported from Thailand and Vietnam, while fixtures were sourced to ensure the structural renovation was in perfect keeping with the original period of the property. The result is an immaculate fusion of upmarket Asian style and Irish Georgian grandeur.
The property is on three stories. The ground floor hosts a bar, a casual eating area, and a lovely oriental garden (for smokers and dreamers, I would think, with its hypnotic Thai style pools). On the next floor you will find the main seating area of the restaurant. It's not too big, yet not too small. The top floor is the home of an art gallery, which gives local artists a chance to exhibit.
Favorite Dish: We started with the mixed platter of starters and found it to have some new and unexpected dishes. It was tasty and, as a starter, the portion was perfect in size. These were served with three dips - sweet chilli, smooth spicy peanut, and a vegetable dip.
I followed this with the Hanoi Seafood. I have never come across such a tasty and authentic seafood dish in an Oriental restaurant before. There were giant crab claws, prawns, squid, and lightly battered fish. These were served in a spicy sauce of red chillis, peppers, crispy ginger, and lots of secret spices. I don't usually eat my rice when I eat in Oriental restaurants, but this time I did as I wanted it to soak up every juicy bit of the spicy sauce.
We passed on dessert, and coffee was perfect and strong.
The wine list was small but good, and very reasonably priced. We had a Sauvignon Blanc Reserva from South Africa and it was very palatable indeed.
The price totalled 100 euro exactly for two. Not bad at all.
I now return very regularly to eat here. They have a "special" lunch menu at a great low price. Their cocktails are to die for.
OPEN - for lunch and dinner.
Address: 19 The Mall, Waterford.
Directions: Coming over the bridge into Waterford City, turn left and keep the river on your left hand side. Go straight through the traffic lights at the Tower Hotel and you will find Sabai on your left opposite the City Hall.
Phone: 00 353 51 858002
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