Sabai is one of the few Thai restaurants that's suitable for a business lunch. Its first outlet at Takashimaya is so hugely successful that it's spawned a new branch at the newly restored Customs House. This establishment, with its centralised location (it's walkable from the office) and picturesque view of the bay, was the perfect choice for our June L.A. Lunch. Obviously, the high rents of the CBD area has translated to the pricey menu and somewhat small-ish portions of the food. That said, the food's authentic and good, with a spice level that has stayed true to its Thai roots. Nothing's watered down here despite the presence of many Caucasians.
We started off with Khao Dtang Nar Dtang ($16) wonderfully crisp rice crackers served with a delicious dip of simmered minced chicken and prawns in coconut milk.
The Peek Gai Sod Sai ($4.90 per piece) of deep fried stuffed chicken wings were amazingly juicy and flavourful, with an aromatic marinade that seeped right through to the bones.
The Som Tum ($15.50) was an unbelievably spicy shredded papaya salad, due to the addition of fiery chili padis. Still, if you can get past the spiciness, this was very refreshing.
The Gang Jued Tao Huu Orn ($20.50 per pot) was a very delicate clear chicken soup with soft beancurd, minced chicken, prawns and spring onions.
Although the waitress told us that a pot would serve 5 persons, I thought this little pot, kept hot under a flame, could only serve a maximum of 2 persons.
The Grapoh Pla Nahm Daeng ($24), Thai-Teochew fish maw soup, is one of my favourite Thai soups, along with the ubiquitous tom yum. This was choc-full of crab meat, chicken and quail's egg in a rich thick brandy-sweetened broth.
The Pat Gaprao Moo ($22) was a fragrant dish of stir-fried hot and spicy pork with fresh peppercorns, and holy basil leaves, heady and spicy.
The Pla Neung Manao ($36) was a very fresh and delicately steamed seabass in a classic Thai seasoning of bird's eye chili, garlic and fresh lime juice. The very simple seasoning really helped focus on the freshness of the fish.
The Gang Gwio Warn Gai ($19.70) was an aromatic and creamy green curry with chicken, coconut cream, sweet basil leaves, eggplant and pea eggplant.
The Kai Jiaw Bpuu ($19.30) was a fluffy and generously filled with crabmeat thai omelette.
The Pat Pak Ruam Nahm-mun-hoey ($17.70) was our obligatory plate of greens, stir-fried mixed vegetables with oyster sauce. Simple, homely and crunchy.
The Tawd Mun Gung ($18.50 for 4) were delectable golden morsels of breaded deep-fried prawn cakes.
The Gung Op Wunsen ($31.70) was a claypot of baked plump humongous prawns with vermicelli, black mushrooms, spring onions, Chinese celery and garlic.
The Poo Ja ($14.50) was a hit, deep fried minced chicken and crab meat were stuffed into crab shells, and topped with egg yolk for a pretty presentation.
The See-krong Moo Op Nahmpeung ($23.50) was a yummy dish of deep fried smoked honey pork ribs, the ribs were moist and succulent, with a sweet honey marinade that permeated through to the bones.
The classic Thai dessert of Kao Niew Mamuang ($14.50) was great, with juicy sweet mangoes served with sweetened moist and soft sticky rice.
The Kao Niew Durian Nahm Gati ($9.50) is a must for durian-lovers, a dollop of fresh creamy durian is served in warm simmered coconut cream and sticky rice
The Tap Tim Grop ($7) of water chestnut in syrup and coconut milk was a tad too sweet, too much syrup and coconut was added to this.
Sabai Fine Thai on the Bay
70 Collyer Quay
#01-02 Customs House
Tel: 6535 3718
Open Mondays to Fridays from 11.30am to 2pm
Mondays to Saturdays from 6pm to 10pm
Closed on Sundays