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13 March 2018 02:54 pm

A dining experience like no other at Westin Doha's Sabai Thai

Sonkie Bagongfirs
Sonkie Bagongfirs
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The ILQ team had the rare chance of sampling the best of Thai food one rainy evening in Sabai Thai -- The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa's renowned restaurant for a couple of years now.

Sabai, which means 'relax' in Thai, is the exact feeling we had when we reached the finely-lit interiors of the two-year-old restaurant. The Asian-themed setting and the warm hospitality of the Sabai Thai staff was a welcome contrast with the cold and drizzly climate outside, the night we dined in the restaurant.

If you've ever been to the unique Westin, you'll notice Sabai Thai has the most ideal location -- in the garden near the wave pool. As you enter, a traditional Thai gong welcomes the diners and if you have a basic background of the Thai language, you can finally use it as Sabai Thai's friendly staff receive you with all-smiles while speaking in their local dialect.

Sabai Thai, which currently has a 4.4/5 average rating out of 142 votes in Zomato, seduces with its luxe décor, private bar and of course, a menu that tastes of nothing but home! 

They specialize in a wide variety of genuine cuisines filled with authentic flavors.

Staying true to the culinary culture and influences of Thailand, Sabai Thai takes its customers to a mouth-watering tour via a usual dining route -- spicy papaya salad followed by wok-tossed favorites infused with hints of ginger and lemongrass, while finishing it off with their home-made sticky mango rice.

Their newly-appointed chef de cuisine -- Pawichada Thanaphibun -- brings with her a wealth of experience from some of the top Thai restaurants in five-star hotels, and the team is lucky to stumble upon her expertise. Like a dream come true, she cooked the majority of the delectable dishes which were beautifully presented in front of us!

Sabai Thai's menu focuses on textures and flavors from the four grand regions of Thailand and consists of an assortment of salads, soups, appetizers, main courses, and desserts.

When the crackers, mint lemon juice, and a detox dragon fruit drink with red cabbage arrived, I knew we'd be in for a treat.

And while Sabai Thai's powerhouse main course lineup is superbly pleasing and unbeatable (especially when served altogether), three of my personal favorite dishes came as a surprise -- as they were all served before the giants.

1. Chor Meung 

(Special Thai chicken dumpling, garlic oil, coriander)

Being one of the most popular traditional appetizers in Thailand, Sabai Thai's version of chicken dumpling is the finest example of a dish that is so lovely to stare at that it seems like a mortal sin to even put it in your mouth! I was surprised with its green color at first but upon chewing, the little gem's puffiness and tenderness just overflew! No wonder this dish is loved by one and all regardless of age. Trust me, you'll ask for another quartet!  

2. Yum Woon Sen Talay

(Spicy glass noodle salad, calamari, shrimp, mussels, chili lime sauce) 

Also commonly referred to as bean thread noodles, the team was blessed enough to sample the spicy glass noodle which will soon be on Sabai Thai's new menu, according to the manager. The combination of ingredients and seasonings make this dish delicious -- from the presentation down to the very last slurp! I personally love how the bland noodles absorb the hot spicy sour dressing while the peanuts add the nutty crunchiness to the salad. Plus the wonderfully-bright flavours topped with lots of refreshing crunchy vegetables added just the right amount of kick to the dish. Yum yum!

3. Yaam Som-o Goong  

(Herbed Thai pomelo salad with prawn, fried shallot, toasted coconut flake and cashew nut) 

This one is a clear runaway winner by the time it arrives on the dining table. At first, I couldn't believe my eyes that I was actually being served Pomelo for dinner but the initial bite was so sensational I almost forgot I was chewing a citrus fruit! The fibers pull apart easily and the pulp has a crunchy and popping texture that goes well with the typical Thai flavorings. They say the best Pomelo can be found in Thailand but my suggestion would be to forget that adage and instead, just take a lift to Sabai Thai -- you'll save lots of Riyals!

The textures and flavors of Sabai Thai’s authentic cooking make for a deliciously different dining affair, not just for the ILQ team but for our neighboring tables as well, who, according to the manager, are regular customers of the restaurant.

An approximate price of QR 445 is enough for two people planning to enjoy some of Sabai Thai's bestsellers including Som Tham Thai (shredded green papaya salad with string bean, tomato, peanut in spicy lime dressing), Phad Thai Goong Sood (traditional Thai style stir-fried rice noodles with fresh prawns, bean sprout, tofu and peanut), Gaeng Khiew Waan Gai (green curry with chicken, Thai eggplant, sweet basil served with Siamese rice noodles) and the above-mentioned Khow Niew Mamaung (coconut sticky rice with mango).

Furthermore, they have appetizers ranging from QR 45 to QR 90, salads from QR 55 to QR 80, soups from QR 50 to QR 65, main courses from QR 70 to QR 160, curries from QR 85 to QR 110, and desserts all at QR 45.

Some of their ongoing special offers include a Happy Hour at the Lounge (for select beverages from QR 30, daily from 5:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.), a Royal Thai Brunch (from 12 noon - 5:00 p.m.), Express Thai Lunch (QR 65 available from Sunday to Thursday from 12 noon - 3:00 p.m.), Phuket BBQ Waves Party (every thursday from 6:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.), and Bangkok Ladies Night (every Wednesday from 6:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.).

About Sabai Thai:

Timings: Sunday to Friday: 12:00 noon – 3:00 p.m., 6:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.                Saturday: 12:00 noon – 4:00 p.m., 6:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.   Location: Salwa Road, Bin Mahmoud, Zone 23, inside The Westin Hotel & Spa  Telephone number: (+974) 4492 1555, 4492 1733  Website:  Email:   To book a room in Westin:  Google maps location:

Have you tried dining at Sabai Thai in The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa yet? Did you find our review helpful? Let us know in the comments below what some of your favorite dishes are! Also, don’t forget to give us a like and a share — it keeps us going!

(Cover image by Sabai Thai's website)

(Photography by Abshar Kader)