I think we started planning this quiet and elegant lunch just after Christmas to give people plenty of time to organise trains, planes & automobiles from Luxembourg, Birmingham, London, Cork & Derry to name just a few places. Places to stay were booked (and regretted when we saw the rooms...) and a lunch venue was decided upon. Saba won the toss, partly for the food, but also for the long and lovely cocktail list! I know I wasn't alone in reading and re-reading the menu and drinks list online, torn between the Grapefruit Cosmo and the Xao Hao Lo - in the end, I had both!
Saba is on Clarendon Street, right behind the Westbury Hotel (home of the Kitchen Hero Tasty Tea) and our table for ten was located at the window so we could spot the late arrivals. As there were a gang of us, we chose from the Fixed Price Lunch Menu - 3 courses for €19.95 which is really good value. As we were waiting for the stragglers (one of whom who was clever enough to place her cocktail order in advance as she knew she'd be late), we ordered some prawn crackers which arrived with a selection of dips to quell the rumbling tummies. As I was there to eat, drink & be merry, I forgot to take any photos of the food and if I show you the snaps on my camera from the day, 9 ladies will beat me to a pulp as they're not for public consumption...
I ordered Hoisin Duck Rolls to start, which were long and lovely and stuffed full of duck with lots of Hoisin sauce for dipping. I very quietly asked if anybody would like to try them, but I don't think they heard me. That might be because I said it in my head. I did see Tempura Vegetables to my left and right which vanished in double time. Cocktails were finished and wine (or grape juice as we call it) was ordered - just a small glass each. Actually it ended up as rather more than a glass, but it was strictly to be sociable, you understand.
Our mains came along - mine was the coveted Xao Hao Lo : chicken with asparagus, oyster mushrooms, baby corn, snowpeas & cashew nuts. Other mains included an extra-spicy Massaman Curry & Pad Thai. The table was full of empty glasses at this stage but for some reason the staff were oblivious to this and had to be asked twice to clear away the empties, which is a bit of a shame.
Desserts and coffees were ordered - I had the Pineapple & Banana fritter which came in a panko casing, rather than the batter coating which I was used to - it was very crunchy, but not as luscious as the batter version. I also managed to steal a small taste of the pistachio icecream which came with the dark chocolate tart - it was fantastic.
So, after a feast of food and drink, the bill arrived - €40 per person including service which was really good value for money. Saba is a great place for a leisurely lunch or a divine dinner.
If only we had the common sense to call it a day after the lunch. Lets just say that I got to bed at 4.30am after a night which included Eurovision, Jedward scissor kicks, white grape juice, Maniac, Leeson Street and wearing crowns in a fast food restaurant. We will never learn...