“A Sunday well spent brings a week of content” certainly rang through for Rebecca and I when we had the pleasure of spending an entire Sunday at Saba on Clarendon Street. As Food Editor over on Haute So Fabulous (Rebecca’s wonderful fashion and lifestyle blog) we were invited to experience the award winning restaurant’s Thai Cooking Day hosted by their Executive Chef, Tao. Tao is the best teacher anyone could ask for, warm, friendly and incredibly passionate. He was great company for the whole day, gave us so many tips and recommendations and his enthusiasm never wavered.
We arrived at Saba for 10am and met a host of lovely ladies and gentlemen; many of whom had received the day cookery course as a gift. A great idea for the passionate cooks in your life who want to delve into the world of Thai cuisine. We each received a copy of the beautiful (and award winning!) Saba cookbook (value €30) to take home to try some of the restaurant’s most popular recipes.
To prepare us for the day ahead, we sat down to a bowl of conchi for breakfast. Conchi is a very traditional Thai breakfast; a rice soup with pork balls galangal and ginger. In front of us were little bowls of different seasonings so we could flavour it to our liking.
We spent quite some time learning about Thai vegetables and herbs, different types of noodles, fish sauce, soy sauce and pastes. Tao gave us plenty of tips on which brands are best for each purpose and what kind of soy sauce and coconut milk are his favourites to use in the dishes at Saba.
After plenty of notetaking on our newly acquired knowledge of the best Thai ingredients, we got to experience where the Saba magic happens; the kitchen. It was here that our first cookery demonstration took place; Tao whipped up Phad Thai in a matter of minutes. It smelled amazing. It didn’t take us long to divvy up and sample the goodness.
The rest of the dishes were cooked out in the main area of the restaurant, where most of the group tried their hand at cooking. I stayed mostly on the sidelines, scribbling down notes, taking photos and eating what was served up to me. Not a bad experience at all!
Our first dish was Tom Yaam soup, made with the best prawns I have ever tasted. We then had glass noodle salad, which was covered in a tangy and fragrant dressing. It was full of bird’s eye chilli; not for the faint hearted. We then had stir fried chicken with lemongrass (such an intoxicating smell!) chilli beef and finished with an incredible dish of monkfish curry. Rebecca herself helped to make this dish! It was made with coconut milk so it had a creamy taste, but the sauce was light and thin. I found that was the case with all the dishes – they were all made with the best and freshest ingredients and were full of flavour without being heavy.
Rebecca and Tao after the cookery demonstrations. We de-aproned and readied ourselves for a visit Fallon & Byrne and the Asia market.
The Asia Market on Drury Street has so many wonderful things. Just look at that jar of teeny tiny prawns! Tao showed us more of the vegetables used in Thai cooking and it’s great to know there’s a place in the city to stock up. Saba source their ingredients from the market, which is just seconds away from the restaurant. A visit is highly recommended; there are so many interesting products in there and the prices are really good, a lot less than I thought they might be!
We then walked around to Fallon & Byrne to check out more top quality ingredients to really get the most out of Thai cooking, and I saw the most peculiar thing – red bananas!
After our loop from Drury Street to Fallon & Byrne and back to Saba, lunch was waiting for us. So many incredible dishes for us to try – black pepper squid, tempura vegetables, chicken satay, massaman chicken and hake cooked in a banana leaf were just some of the dishes. Our lunch was accompanied with wine (beer for some!) and we all discussed our favourite dish and our favourite parts of the day. After lunch Tao came to see us to say goodbye, and gave us a few surprises to take home to get started with Thai cooking.
The Saba Thai cooking day was so enjoyable, Rebecca and I loved every minute and it was a unique and interesting way to spend a Sunday. For more information on the course (€150pp) click here. The courses are so popular that they’re booked out for quite some time but the gift voucher can be purchased any time!
*Rebecca and I were invited by Saba to take part. As always, my views are my own.
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