OhLaLa Magazine Review: Sabai Thai

Thursday, 12 January 2017

At the end of last year, I was honoured to be invited by OhLaLa, one of my favourite fashion and beauty publications in the Middle East, to become their monthly food contributor. It's been a long-time dream of mine to have my own column in a prestigious magazine, and it was of course, an offer I couldn't resist. One of my first culinary explorations for the magazine saw me heading to Sabai Thai where I had one of the most memorable meals of my life in Qatar to date.

Here's what I got up to...

It was not long after midday on a Sunday when I walked through the doors of Sabai Thai at the Westin Doha Hotel & Spa, and I was surprised to find it busy and bustling.

Image courtesy of OhLaLa magazine

The building that houses the restaurant is separated from the main hotel by a walkway, and is bordered by serene water-features, which immediately transport you to the Far East. Enormous floor to ceiling windows flood the elegant interiors with natural light, highlighting the fusion of traditional wooden carvings and Thai artefacts with the contemporary open space and clean lines of the room.

Image courtesy of OhLaLa magazine

The menu itself is traditional and authentic, with a few innovative twists to the complex recipes that royal Thai cuisine is renowned for. The freshness of the ingredients are showcased in the salads such as the Som Tam Thai: crisp shredded green papaya with string beans, tomato and peanuts dressed in a spicy citrus dressing which tickles the palette, and the Yaam Som O-Goong: a herbed pomelo salad with meaty prawns, shallots and crunchy cashews and coconut which is a surprisingly wholesome and comforting dish.

Image courtesy of OhLaLa magazine

The Chor Muang are blue-coloured, intricately composed flower-shaped steamed dumplings which are a traditional Thai art, demonstrating that the restaurant’s skilful chefs are not simply adept at putting together complex texture and flavour combinations, but are concerned with the visual appeal of their food, too. These dumplings cry out to be photographed.

Image courtesy of OhLaLa magazine

Stir fries and main courses come in generous portions, and share one commonality: they are all warming comfort food, which make you feel as though you’re eating lunch in a traditional Thai family home rather than a formal restaurant. The Nua Sub Phad Bai Gaprow comes with minced beef or chicken and packs real a chili punch, with a lingering, earthy after-taste of basil. The Gaeng Khiew Waan Ghai is a delicious twist on the traditional Thai Green Curry, with chicken, Thai eggplant and sweet basil, which combine to create a curry that is both moreish and memorable.

Image courtesy of OhLaLa magazine

For dessert, my top choice is the Khao Niew Mamaung, or sticky rice with mango to you and me. A simple dish, widely eaten in Thai households, it sees two of my favourite things brought together: sweet, juicy and ripe mango slices and glutinous, warm rice laced with coconut milk.

Image courtesy of OhLaLa magazine

On my way back home after the meal, feeling full and content, I found myself absent-mindedly googling holidays to Thailand on my phone. There is no better evidence of a successful meal than this.

Polly Recommends:

Signature Set Menu: 199 QAR
Sharing Menu for Two: from 100 QAR
Express Business Lunch: 65 QAR for three courses; 90 QAR with one selected
beverage (excluding Fridays)
Friday Brunch: 199 QAR with soft beverages; 299 QAR with selected beverages.
For more information or reservations call: 4492 1555

Article originally published in OhLaLa Magazine, January 2017 Issue.
To read my monthly Culinary Insight column, along with up to date fashion and beauty news, the latest issue of the magazine is available in all major shops and newsagents now.


  1. It's often a struggle to find really good Thai food outside Thailand so it looks like this is one to remember!