Inside a Thai/Vietnamese Kitchen, by Paul Cadden and Taweesak Trakoolwattana
Saba is that rare thing: an enchanting book. A mighty team have pulled a mighty achievement out of the hat, with beautiful food revealed in a work of beautiful design and photography – hats off to Fresh Design and snapper Matthew Thompson.
What the book manages to capture is that Saba spirit – enlivened, fun, daredevilish, chilled, savvy. Since Paul and Tao opened in 2006 they have maintained astonishing levels of consistency in the cooking, and outrageous levels of energy in the room. Saba always promises the good times, whether you mainline the experience on Clarendon Street, in Rathmines, or via their brilliant Saba-Dilla, street food machine, which has twice won awards at Electric Picnic for their brilliant cooking.
Handsome the book may be, but it is also supremely useful: these recipes will raise your game when it comes to cooking, and my first effort at Chicken Massaman Curry left every previous effort at Thai cooking in the dust.
The Saba spirit is, of course, the distillation of the Thai philosophy of Sanook (or Sanuk) – the belief that life should be fun. This is a fun book, and a fab book.