In Newtown, a place known for an abundance of Thai restaurants, where most of the time the venues have gone for elaborate decor to wow the crowds sits a little place known as Saab Wer Thai Esan. “Saab wer” in fact means “extremely delicious” in the Esan dialect from North-Eastern Thailand and the food from this little gem definitely lives up to its namesake. Is Saab Wer the best Thai venue in the area? I honestly haven’t eaten at all of them to be the best of judge, but to me it is my favourite from the venues I have eaten at over the years. It is with thanks to Ciao Magazine that I attended this wonderful venue a few months back.
SAAB WER THAI ESAN VENUE:
Do not be dissuaded by the front section of the venue. It looks more homely than elaborate in this pink walled venue with splashes of wood. There is also a back section that is outdoor and well covered. And it was here we dined. For a booking in June the place was still (or always remains) decorated with Christmas tinsel and baubles. It is quite dark out in the back section but the festive additions make it feel very welcoming and more homely than a traditional restaurant. It is completely lack of any pretension and is the place you would feel comfortable in shorts and thongs in summer with your BYO bottled wine and beer.
There was a table not far from us that contained guests the owners called “family,” a group of Thai people who dine in the restaurant basically every night. For these people this was their family room. It felt like we were dining in their house at another table.
BRUCE AND NOI:
The owners of the Saab Wer are the heart and soul of the place. Bruce and Noi are a divine couple of gents who have been married for years (obviously not from this backwards country) and who are in love. When he was younger Noi was a performer in Thailand and Bruce is a sprightly elderly Scottish gent. By the end of our meal they were sitting with us and Noi had photo albums out and was regaling us with bygone joyful memories. Bruce was glowing watching the pleasure on Noi’s face at telling the tales I am sure he has told many times. We all enjoyed some drinks together and Noi aught us some swear words in Thai. I hope I find their kind of love, it was a beauty to see.
The delivery at this place gets some fantastic reviews for the local area and you will be surprised to see that Bruce is the guy who will bring it to your door.
SAAB WER MENU:
Saab Wer is not your standard Thai restaurant, of course it has your Pad Thai, and the like, but it has a lot more than the usual fare. They feature dishes from the North-East, country dishes, as well as the more familiar Bangkok dishes.
Our mostly North-Eastern Thai dinner was some of the best Thai I have eaten in years. The menu is HUGE, split into many sections. We perused the Esan section, the entrees, the soups, BBQs, salads, curries, stir fries, sizzling, noodles, rice and Chef’s specials section before handing the ordering to Noi and Bruce.
WHAT WE WERE GIVEN:
Saab Wer Prawns: Deep fried whole Prawns wrapped in spring roll pastry
Golden Bags: Minced chicken, corn, shredded coconut & peanuts in wonton pastry
Pork Skewers: Grilled marinated pork skewers with a serve of sticky rice
Papaya Salad (Som Tum Thai): Shredded green papaya & shrimps, peanuts, tomato, carrot, green beans with lime dressing and 4 grilled king prawns on side
Red Duck Curry: Medium hot curry with coconut milk, lychees, pineapple, tomatoes, chilli and Thai basil
Kana Moo Grob: Stir fried crispy pork belly with Chinese broccoli, soybean paste, garlic and fresh chilli
Saab Were Fresh Coconut Rice: Stir fried rice of your choice with eggs, fresh coconut, and vegetables served in a coconut shell
Sweet Durian and Coconut Sticky Rice
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
The entrees were delicious and all of us commented on what were the best Money Bags of all time. The Kana Moo Grob was divine with perfectly crispy pork and vibrant Chinese Broccoli. My personal favourite was the Red Curry Duck but for me the Som Tum Thai aka Papaya Salad with Prawns was too hot – being the only white guy dining I was laughed at because I couldn’t stand “Asian hot.”
To round out the mains we had a divine surprise dish of fried rice and chicken served in a coconut – it was delicious and wins extra points for the theatrical presentation. To finish we had a truly divine dessert I will return for – Sweet Durian and Coconut Sticky Rice. Just heavenly.
Saab Wer Thai is next level Thai food cooked with love and respect. The venue felt more like I was eating with Bruce and Noi and their family than being in a Newtown restaurant. As I haven’t eaten at every Thai restaurant in Newtown I cannot judge if it is truly the best Thai in Newtown but it is one of my all time favourite Thai dining experiences and I wish Bruce and Noi all the best for their future. Kob kun krub.
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 3/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 0/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets and 0/1 bonus
Saab Wer This Esan Deets:
PH: (02) 8580 1345
105 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
BOOKINGS: Not Eessential
HOURS: 7 days, 11am – 10pm (1030pm Fri & Sat)
LOCAL DELIVERY: Yes
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Yes
KID FRIENDLY: Definitely
*** JK (and any guests of Spooning Australia) were invited guests of the establishment and/or any PR agencies representing them. However, as always, if it was shite I would happily tell you as such ***