FOLLY: Lala and Gbenga recently checked out the bar at SABOR. It sounded like they had an amazing experience so we decided to pop in for the food. The executive chef is Chef Nkesi of HSE Gourmet so I was ready to be impressed.
NOSA: SABOR is in the same space 411 used to be, right above Nitro. I'm guessing 411 is no more and "renovation" = "closed shop".
FOLLY: I love anything with ginger in it and based on Lala and Gbenga's review, I started with the Peach Mule. I really liked it, I didn't get any hints of peach in mine but the ginger was pronounced.
NOSA: Lala & Gbenga did a great job breaking down the SABOR bar btw. If you're curious about the drinks, you should give it a read.
FOLLY: To start, we shared the Surf & Turf Flatbread.
FOLLY: The bread was very soft and pliable. It seemed very fresh and recently made - unlike the bread used to make Nosa's burger bun but we'll get to that in due time.
NOSA: Oh, we'll definitely get to that.
FOLLY: I didn't read the menu properly so I was expecting shrimp as the surf in this dish so I kept squinting hard to try and find the prawns. Nosa then told me that it's white fish and beef.
NOSA: According to the menu, that was actually lobster.
FOLLY: I selected the Thai Jungle Yellow Curry for my main and I was a bit underwhelmed. It was thicker than I expected and it didn't really have that distinctive Thair flavor. Also, I remember Nosa questioned my decision when I ordered because of the presence of eggplant in the curry's description in the menu so I definitely noticed when the dish arrived without the eggplant.
NOSA: Should've ordered the Paella.
FOLLY: At the same time, a yellow jungle curry is a bit of an oxymoron. Thai yellow curry is expected to have coconut milk/cream and a heavy helping of yellow curry. However, the jungle curry is not made with coconut milk, is red, thinner, and is typically much spicier. So yeah, maybe this disappointment was my fault in some way.
NOSA: For my main, I got the Hot Bird - SABOR's take on the crispy chicken sandwich.
NOSA: The bun was super thick, as you can see, and broke easily. But, perhaps even more concerning, the bun had mould.
I've never been one to shy from poorly prepared food because I like to subject myself to these things for science, but mould might be the breaking point for me. Mold on bread sounds like a health hazard and it takes a whole lot of "not paying attention" to serve a customer a burger with a mold-infested bun. The internet agrees with me too
As much as I love what Chef Nkesi has done with HSE, this is near unforgivable. I probably would've eaten it unknowingly too. I flipped the sandwich over to take a picture of how "stale" and structurally flawed the bun was, then I noticed it.
The reaction to the whole thing was a bit of let down. The manager came over and was like, "I heard your sandwich had mould in it. Soz bbz"
I mean, if I died from the thing, there's no way you're telling my mother "soz bbz" because she'd probably have murdered you before you got the words out.
Maybe I'm overreacting. SABOR is decent besides this little mishap so perhaps I should let it slide. I mean, our friends had a great time and you, my dear reader, might enjoy it when you go. Maybe I'll give them another shot. The duck sliders sounded great and I've heard good things about the paella.
As nonchalant as the manager's response was, she did offer a replacement meal also. Which I took as my chance to get the BBQ Pork Ribs.
FOLLY: The replacement ribs were a joke. I've never been served ribs this bony at a restaurant - not even at Nok whose beef ribs are notoriously bony.
NOSA: I think this was what did it for me. Given the context of ginormous fuck up I had experienced, you'd think they'd pull out all the stops to make it up.
Got some starving African ribs to make up for mould on my sandwich. For what it's worth, the ribs were super tender. But when there's little to no flesh on it, that should be easy to achieve.
FOLLY: For the most part, SABOR was a letdown. I'll probably revisit but not for a while.
NOSA: Definitely a "meh" and that's only because other people we trust have had a decent experience at SABOR. Oh, Chef Nkesi emailed after our tweet to apologize. So yeah, a "meh" is fair.
FOLLY: I really wanted to like it because HSE is an absolutely darling - I expected nothing short of excellence.
NOSA: I'll give SABOR another shot maybe later in the year when I'm sure they aren't trying to kill me.
BBQ Pork Ribs - N6700
Thai Yellow Jungle Curry - N6300
Surf & Turf Flatbread - N5500
The restaurant has very limited parking. You will have to parking across the street or directly on the street.