We talk to Alan Cadden about the nutritious, guilt-free philosophy fuelling the award-winning menu at Saba To Go.
Nutrition and authenticity are central aspects of the ethos at Saba To Go. How do you reflect that on a day to day basis?
We believe everyone should eat great food every day, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. We have a team of brilliant Thai chefs, some of whom have been with us since we first opened 12 years ago and now we are seeing the second generation joining the ranks, carrying on the family tradition. Tao, our Executive Head Chef, has been with us since we opened Saba on Clarendon Street in 2006 and he trains the chefs and ensures we stay faithful to authentic Thai recipes.
We are proud to display the ‘Thai Select Brand’ awarded by the Thai Government for premium taste and outstanding service, which has been awarded to only two restaurants in Ireland. We have also received many accolades including ‘Healthiest Takeaway in Ireland’ and ‘Best Curry in Ireland’.
What do you think makes Saba To Go’s menu unique?
We are continuously developing our menu based on our customers’ feedback and lifestyle choices. With this in mind, we have a paleo section on our menu and a vegan menu. Unlike many takeaways, we can customise most dishes to facilitate our customers’ choices.
We can also adapt the recipes of most dishes to make them coeliac friendly without compromising on taste. Over the years we’ve added symbols to highlight the calorie count: SABA Slim (SS) represents dishes that contain less than 250 calories while SABA Light (SL) signifies that a portion is under 400 calories.
Tell us about the philosophy underlying your ‘Guilt Free Takeaway’ offerings.
It’s all about not feeling guilty when choosing a take-away, so we have a great array of dishes that are low calorie and packed full of healthy vegetables. All our dishes are wholesome and also have a very low glycemic load meaning they do NOT spike your insulin. For example, WHITE rice will spike insulin if eaten alone but mix with a coconut milk based curry and it will take down the overall glycemic load. You can also opt for brown rice, which is naturally low on the Glycemic Index because of its high fibre content.
Thai food is naturally healthy, all the ingredients are cooked at high heat for a short period of time, which allows all the goodness, nutrition and taste remain. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen trying out new healthy and flavoursome dishes. Every January for the last 4 years we’ve run the ‘Caveman Festival’, a combination of Paleo dishes/Paleo friendly dishes and some high protein dishes. We want to make sure that there is something to suit every palate depending on dietary requirements or lifestyle so a lot of these dishes are available all year round. We are proud to say that it’s restaurant quality food available at home.
What would you recommend from the Saba To Go menu for a person choosing for the first time to order takeaway food online for delivery?
It would have to be our chicken massaman curry. Our customers have described it as being ‘like a big warm hug’ and they are right. The depth of flavour, the unique taste of the crushed peanuts and the warm kick of cinnamon and star anise makes this a hands down winner.
What’s your own favourite item on the menu?
Currently, it’s the Phad Krapow and it’s not for the faint hearted. It has a good kick of chilli, and the holy basil gives it a great depth of flavour. However, when all else fails, I have been known to eat Phad Thai for weeks on end. It’s just so good!
What else do you have planned for 2019?
Saba and Saba To Go are the ‘Official Partners’ to the Women’s Senior Irish Hockey Team. We are delighted to be working with Hockey Ireland to provide perfect meals and nutrition for the players as they prepare for upcoming competitions and qualifications for the Olympics in Tokyo 2020.