Saba, Clarendon Street

10 May

Saba, on Dublin’s Clarendon Street is a restaurant I have walked by hundreds of times in recent years but never had the opportunity to try. I remedied this situation recently when a few of us went for an Early Bird dinner. Well they call it their fixed price menu (available Sunday to Wednesday). Maybe they don’t like birds.

The front of house ably diffused a slight issue with the reservation (a problem on their end) and we were seated. The dining room was incredibly busy given that it was before 7 on a weekday. The service throughout the meal was fine. One thing that annoys me in restaurants is when as a group you ask for tap water and they don’t leave a jug. If they don’t for whatever reason, I at least expect that they will keep an eye on my water-glass to ensure it doesn’t run empty. At least not for two courses. It was only when we asked for them to be replenished that a mystical jug appeared. Overall the service was very prompt throughout- our drinks had barely landed when the starters arrived.

To start I had the Phla Salmon. Its presentation differed from what the menu promised.  To be fair, the salmon was cooked beautifully. It was moist and perfectly cooked which allowed the salmon to speak for itself. As an aside I have a soft spot for Clare Island Organic Salmon, as I used to sell kilo after kilo of the stuff in a previous life as a fishmonger, so I delight whenever it pops up on menus.

However the dish lacked a little punch from what was promised. The salmon was presented flaked in a bowl mixed with some chopped lemongrass and other fragrant mulch. The chilli sauce it came with provided some good punch- however I would have preferred to see the salmon served on the lettuce leaves rather than in the bowl as it would have allowed for the flaked salmon to be a little less wet.

For my main I had the Phuket noodles. A generous portion of noodles arrived, with a very acceptable number of prawns on board also. The promised holy basil, was not so present- and the dish was a little one-dimensional as a result. Given that Saba bills itself as ‘award-winning’ Thai food- I was hoping for vibrant, fragrant dishes, and in this regard it was a little flat. To be fair my dining companions  Phad Thai noodles were deliciously sweet and zingy so perhaps I erred in my choice of dishes.

Desert was a chocolate tart. The tart was fine, stock restaurant desert fare. The stand-out element was the pistachio ice cream. It was excellent. The name of the producer escapes me.

Overall for the price of the menu, it’s not bad value in Saba, given how busy it was, they are obviously doing something right.

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