Kochfreunde.com is the culinary magazine of Oliver Wagner. Here, everything revolves around the almost most beautiful thing in the world: good food. The focus ranges from reports on exciting restaurants to recipes from his own kitchen, cookbooks and culinary gadgets.


Kochfreunde.com ist das kulinarisches Magazin von Oliver Wagner. Hier dreht sich alles rund um die beinahe schönste Sache der Welt: Gutes Essen. Dabei reicht der Fokus von Berichten über spannende Restaurants bis hin zu Rezepten aus der eigenen Küche, Kochbücher und kulinarische Gadgets.

Sabai, Hamburg

Since February 2014, Hamburg’s Steigenberger has ventured a new culinary start and opened the new Sabai restaurant. Under the leadership of Ramon Wichert and Marco Ambo-Masse, everything will revolve around Euro-Asian fusion cuisine with high standards in the future. The Thai term “sabai sabai” can be roughly equated with “well-being”. However, the new fine-dining restaurant should not be confused with the Thai massage studio of the same name in the Hanseatic city. However, one parallel can already be revealed: In the basement of the Steigenberg, too, a lot of effort is made to provide guests with an enjoyable evening with a happy ending.

However, the lower floor of the hotel has also seen less happy times in recent years. For example, its predecessor in the current Sabais space, Gourfleet, had to close a few months after achieving its first Michelin star. However, according to the hotel group at the time, it was not the admittedly somewhat unwieldy name that was to blame, but rather the lack of economic success. It is to be hoped that the Sabai will have a better future.


The ambience at Sabai (Photo: Steigenberger)
The ambience at Sabai (Photo: Steigenberger)


In any case, the culinary efforts of the young team in the kitchen are outstanding. In fact, every course we could taste was successful and very good both in terms of processed products, preparation and especially in presentation. We ordered on Friday evening both a current menu and some dishes á la carte to get a first impression.


Marco Ambo-Masse and Ramon-Wichert (Photo: Steigenberger)
Marco Ambo-Masse and Ramon-Wichert (Photo: Steigenberger)


The two new chefs, Wichert and Ambo-Masse, earned their spurs under Alfred Schreiber, one of the pioneers of Euro-Asian cuisine in Germany and also a former chef at the house stove. The ambience of the Gourfleet was also largely retained and only slightly modified.



The culinary start to the evening was a great success. A great amuse with some pork belly and a coconut coated foie gras praline. The spring rolls are also as you’d want them to be: fresh, with a slight spiciness, a good start, just like the pescaccio of cold-smoked organic salmon on the other side of the table.


Son Tam
Fresh spring roll with tomato, kohlrabi, lime, peanuts, ponzu, cress


Duck breast in shiso leaf
Hoisin sauce, pointed cabbage, orange and ginger, Thai basil bok choy


All courses have a nice and fresh presentation in common, although some plates seem a bit overloaded for the Asian claim on me.


Confit sole
Beet, saffron risotto, coconut yuzu foam, orange tagliatelle


The desserts are, as already mentioned, excellent. In particular, the Japanese spice pear really excited me. Focused on one product in different preparations, each great.


Marinated pineapple, chocolate cake, coconut foam, pineapple dip, sour cream ice cream


Japanese spiced pear, pear sorbet, cocoa-cardamom gel, saké foam


I am curious to see how the Sabai will develop. Integration into a hotel need not be a locational disadvantage for a good restaurant; often the opposite is true. However, the Sabai is somewhat awkwardly located and hidden in the large building. Not only does it not have its own entrance, the way to culinary delights first leads downstairs, then through the breakfast area, which is uncomfortable in the evening because it is empty.

It still lacks a consistent and own signature, many dishes seem a bit overloaded, and unfortunately often a bit too little Asian. If the handbrake is released and Asian cooking is more courageous and a little more consistent, then we will be very happy to come back. At the latest, when the terrace to the Fleet opens again in spring.

Restaurant Sabai
Steigenberger Hotel Hamburg
Heiligengeist Bridge 4
20459 Hamburg
Tel.: +49 40 36806-0
Fax: +49 40 36806-779

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