Sabai Sabai, Harborne

My first foray into property was a cosy flat positioned a stone’s throw from an excellent Thai restaurant and since those heady days it’s been my ‘go to’ cuisine of choice.

Incidentally, the sale of said flat culminated in a bidding war more fierce than Black Friday negotiations over a Tefal toaster which I credit the Pad Thai for. Anyway, I digress. The point is I’m a fan, so Sabai Sabai was a dream gig for me, except that when we arrived it looked dark and closed. We gave the door a hopeful shove and thankfully it opened. It didn’t feel dark inside, so maybe the windows are tinted, but it’s worth the owners looking at. It’s a minor point, but we can’t be the only people who thought it was closed and we’re probably more persistent than most. The interior is far from dark. It’s cool and contemporary with attractive wood carvings and a great bar. Beautiful smells wafted from the kitchen and we couldn’t wait to see the menu. The cocktail list was impressive and reasonable. It was lunchtime so we didn’t indulge, but apparently the lychee Martini is a winner. I slurped a zingy virgin mojito and my friend a glass of chardonnay. A bottle of house white starts at £15.

WON TON BOWL

As well as seasonal specials there is a clever lunch menu that caters well for diners in a hurry, which we weren’t. So we opted to eat from the main menu. My friend plumped for the mixed starter or Sabai Sabai platter which was served inventively in a bowl crafted out of won ton. It contained Thai fishcakes, prawn in crisp breadcrumbs, sweetcorn cake and skewered chicken along with three dipping sauces. It was all delicious, fragrant and satisfying. I ordered Kamon Jeeb – three juicy dumplings contained a combination of chicken and prawn topped with fried garlic served with a gorgeous sweet sauce. It was very tasty. A punchy beef massaman curry briefly graced my friend’s plate before he quickly polished of the rich, flavourful dish with a scoop of sticky rice. It was very good. Pad mamung himapan – chicken stir fried with vegetables and cashew nuts in an oyster sauce was super fresh and delicious. Although dessert sounded lovely we passed and opted for a puritanical peppermint tea and a perfect macchiato. All in all we had a great lunch. The service was spot on, the food was excellent and the atmosphere’s relaxed and cool. It’s well worth a look.

Sabai Sabai 268 High St, Harborne, Birmingham B17 9PT. Tel: 0121 426 2688 www.sabaisabai-restaurant.co.uk