MY dining partner and I are fans of the excellent food and friendly service at San Zaab in Beaconsfield.
You might remember it as A Touch of Spice when it was run by the formidable proprietor Dawn.
I say formidable because I once had the temerity to ask for a half serve of vegetables. Okay, I did it more than once.
Dawn was cooler than Oliver Twist’s beadle – there would be no half serve!
The bain-marie is gone, the food has gone up a level or two and the take-aways are still flying out the door.
We were hoping for a quick meal before visiting the good old Hilton Bowlo for a night of blues.
I have to admit the bowlo sometimes makes me blue, but I digress.
We’d hoped to dine-in, but San Zaab were only doing take-aways.
Giving your order to Wisa, with her sleeping baby attached, certainly feels a little like being in Thailand.
We ordered more than we could finish for a little variety, so there was plenty left over for lunch the next day.
Eating out when sharing dishes requires some negotiation. Fortunately, we’re old hands with that. She will forgo the pork while I ignore the fish.
We ordered the pineapple duck curry ($19.90) from the specials menu.
The tender duck had a mild, coconut milk base and the odd lychee, which was a pleasant surprise as I’m a big fan of poultry and fruit.
San Zaab do the smart thing with their menus – they let you choose what protein you want with a particular style of curry or stir-fry.
I love this way of ordering as it’s so annoying when there’s a green chicken curry but you feel like prawns.
Needing some wholesome crunch we also enjoyed stir-fried kai-lan with oyster sauce ($18.90), and the Chinese broccoli was indeed crunchy with just a hint of chilli.
Finally, I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but I can’t go past a pad thai.
This was an excellent version with four massive prawns, load of nuts and sprouts, and wasn’t too sweet ($15.90).
Of course, you need rice to go with curries: $3 for Jasmine rice but lash out with the coconut version for $3.50.
Even before covid-19, it seemed San Zaab would remain a take-away.
It’s a shame because they have created a lovely space, and being typically charming Thai folk it feels very warm and welcoming.
I look forward to them starting dine-in, mainly because I love going home to no dishes in the sink.
The chef hails from North-East Thailand and cooks dishes from that region like Num Tok Nua (grilled beef and roasted rice). Next time, I have to find out what roasted rice is.
There’s no shortage of good Thai food in Freo, but San Zaab is a welcome oasis in Beaconsfield.
115 Lefroy Rd, Beaconsfield.
4pm–9 pm seven days.