This is one of my favorite Thai places in the London! it doesn't have a full menu to close from! but don't be fooled, what they have is worth trying. Fast efficient, delicious and well priced. It is a great place to eat alone or you are on a shopping frenzy and don't have time to sit for a long time. Not so great for dates or even family, although I see some struggle to sit there. Be warned this place has communal tableware me backless stools, not the beat for long dinners. But again this is a place is not designed for that. Very highly recommended for loners or on the run meal.
A friend of mine suggested we all meet here for lunch, saying the tofu & spinach dish "changed [her] life" and made her realise she could be a vegetarian without sacrificing taste. Now, I'm no vegetarian but if you are, Busaba Eathai has plenty of options for you.
I ordered the smoked chicken noodle dish, which was delicious - especially once I added a touch of sirracha sauce! It was simple but flavorful, with Chinese broccoli and bits of egg. The prices and portion sizes are right (I'm not a fan of places that serve up massive portions, and this was perfect for me); it cost me about 10 GBP for my smoked chicken dish and a drink.
I didn't try it, but the pad thai jay (a vegan/vegetarian version of pad thai) looked delicious.
Speaking of drinks, a friend and I both ordered the lemongrass and ginger drink which we expected - for some reason - to be a freshly pressed beverage. It came in a bottle, and my friend expressed her surprise to the waiter. He immediately offered to exchange it for something else. We declined, but he made sure we knew the offer was genuine. It was very good service. While we were waiting for our food and drinks to arrive, the staff kept making sure our water glasses were filled without us ever having to ask, which was also a nice touch.
It's not the best Thai I've ever had, but it's convenient and very tasty. I'm definitely planning a return!
A good option for Thai food from this small London chain. The other I've sampled is near St Christopher place, and attracts basically the same review.
Food well prepared, sensible portion sizes, service generally good, prices reasonable.
Be aware seating is typically "communal" (shared tables)
I loved this place years ago.
several years elapse
I STILL love this place.
Do you like spicy? Good. I do, too. You might want to start with two of my lip-warming favourites: calamari with black pepper and chilis, and a green papaya salad. The latter might need some more detail: ribbons of green papaya combined with chilis and dried shrimp and cherry tomatoes (and, I'm guessing: fish sauce) for a marinated masterpiece. Yep, I just called a cold salad a masterpiece. It's just THAT good.
Although I've snagged bites of crab-sauteed fried rice, broth-based soups and green curries (all good), I always go for a sautéed noodle options. This time round it featured tofu, shrimp and crab meat...extra-spicy. Bad thai? Nah, this is Pad thai.
Special shout-outs go to the drink options too: muddled herbs, fresh juices, coconut water, teas...there are a wealth of options for the parched.
Communal eating at tables positioned around the restaurant, but none of the personal attention or amazing service is lost through this seating arrangement: both servers and manager popped by to ensure we were enjoying our meals, to the point where (with each one bearing a glass of water) we had 8 glasses on the table. Hydrated Thai restaurant? Thaidrated!
Yelp note: the décor here is nice, but almost *too* over-designed (Gerbera daisies and tea lights floating in the entrances, incense burning in carved holders) that I find the signs indicating an entrance hard to find as it's made to artistically mimic the lines and curves of Thai script. Combined with the flat wood doors, it can be a challenge finding the entrance / bathroom doors (helpful note: it's a bright orange font that runs north/south along the door).
So during my lunch break from class, one of my classmates suggested eating Thai so we came here. Walking in all the tables are "communal" tables or "group" seating meaning if you're a group of 2 you'll be seated with a bunch of strangers...that's fine.
So we get seated quickly. But, I was slightly annoyed the girl next to me was taking up the WHOLE seat...oh well. Anyway we looked the menu and the server came to take drink order. I asked for ice water while my friend, she asked for hot water. After looking at the menu for a bit, we decided on what we wanted to order, but we couldn't get anyone to take our order. We flagged down a server and she said to wait for another server to come. When we got our drinks, a server gave us both ice waters but we quickly corrected him and he went off to fix our order. After we finally ordered our meals, I ordered the Tom yam talay (the mixed seafood lemongrass noodle soup) while my friend ordered the chicken curry.
Our food came quickly but I was very disappointed with my food...the noodles didn't go well with the soup plus a majority of the seafood were tiny ugly looking clams. My friend seemed to enjoy her chicken curry though.
All in all the food was only ok. The flavor of the soup was good...but the stuff inside the soup was NOT so good.
RESULT: will I go back? Maybe...to give it one more chance...but probably not. I'll try someplace else instead.
I'm visiting London for a month on a research trip and someone recommended Busaba Easthai for good Thai curry. Unfortunately, the restaurant did not live up to their reputation for me. I arrived alone at about 5:50pm (just before dinner rush) and ordered the Lemongrass tea and Jungle curry. I'm used to eating spicy curry and it brought spice; unfortunately, it didn't bring much else. The curry was really soupy, without much flavour, and I almost choked on a stem. The chicken was okay, but nothing special (+1 star).
The restaurant's ambiance was lovely and welcoming, with low lights, group-style tables, and lots of wood (+1 star).
The service was atrocious. It got busier as more folks came in for dinner, but that meant I had to wait 25min for them to take my empty plate (luckily I brought a book). People on either side of me came, ate, and left, but they completed neglected to notice I was finished and ready to leave. I tried to flag one of the three servers zippping by, but to no avail. I then put my coat on and stood up to walk to the register to pay and only then did they notice and went to print the bill. Had their service been prompt and courteous I most likely would have ordered dessert.
There are so many other excellent Thai places in London that I do not think I will be returning to this one.
Things I like:
-Simple, delicious Thai-ish food
-Pleasantly prompt food arrival
-Hot soup noodle on rainy days. (Ok, everyday)
-Chinese broccoli with garlic and shiitake
Things I don't like:
-Chain canteen-style Thai dishes served at independent, high-end Thai restaurant prices
-Walking into someone's private lunch party to go ambiguously marked toilets
-Having to ask for things more than once
Things I reeeeeally don't like:
-Having to ask for things more than twice
It got to the point where we nearly walked up to the counter to pick up our own waters after watching them sit for over 5 minutes... in an empty restaurant. And lucky for them, there was more than just the soup we ordered to pick at, or I may have caused a Eatthai-riot at my lack of a soup bowl and spoon. "I'LL GIVE YOU FUSION!"
Overall? Sigh... you know I'll be back.
Damn you delicious soup noooooodle!
Average and forgettable.
The decor was definitely smooth and sexy for canteen-style eating, although the whiff of burning incense I got at the front door was surely a cardinal sin against the restaurant gods.
The service was prompt, albeit confused, as English was not the first language of any of the servers (and not in the rather forgiveable 'I'm from Thailand' way; more in the 'I just got here from Poland' way).
I ordered up the pad thai, the first dish I order during any new Thai restaurant experience. It was merely all right and not nearly peanutty enough for my taste. Robert D got some spring rolls which turned out to be quite bland, even with the accompanying sauce, and he ordered the Mee Siam as a main. When asked what he thought of it, he answered, 'It was a bit beige'.
There you have it, folks, it was a bit beige.
Recently visited this place on a trip to London. Let's just say I wish they had a similar place back in Los Angeles!
The interior is very elegant and modern - high ceilings, low lighting and large communal tables. My fiancée and I shared dishes. We really enjoyed the Green Curry Fried Rice, a sort of deconstructed Green Curry Chicken which we both enjoyed. We also had the Sen Chan Pad Thai, which was also very tasty and somewhat unique. Finally, the Honey-Ginger Tea was great too.
In short, this restaurant is probably not the most authentic, but it's a great modern adaptation of Thai cuisine, set in a great space.
This is the chilled out older sister of the Wardour St restaurant.
You know, the one that's been to college, settled down a little and has a husband now. She's fine with how she looks and enjoys hobbies and a happy work life balance. Not like her upstart, hipster always rushing around younger brother who is just too cool for school. Yep, that's the Store Street Busaba.
Store St Busaba is usually less busy, you normally get service that reflects this and you know what, I think it like it more in here. More light in the day, intimate and secluded at night. And it's right by the TCR Odean for that double whammy date night. I know how to treat a lady.
But seriously, do yourself a favour and get the Thai Calamari. Kapow.
The green curry is legit. I also enjoyed the garlic broccoli an mushrooms
The interior of this restaurant is very sleek with a dark wood finish while alternating candles and Buddha statues line the ceiling. It is dominated, however, by several large communal tables.
The food was quite good. My dining companions and I ordered the vegetarian egg rolls and chicken satay to start. For mains, we had the pandan chicken, the green curry chicken, and the green curry fried rice with grilled chicken. Poultry and curry were the main themes this afternoon.
The rolls were fairly basic and the chicken satay, surprisingly, didn't come out on wood skewers. On the other hand, the main dishes were all exceptional. They are not afraid of a little chili pepper heat here. While the green curry is spicy, it's not inedible nor overpowered by the heat at all.
As with Wagamama, this is a good place for solo diners.
Note to my fellow San Franciscan yelpers: Busaba's menu will remind you somewhat of the King of Thai Noodle chain. However, the food is ten times better and the setting is far sexier.
After all of the hype, I wanted to love Busaba. Really. In spite of the customer service horror stories, I was totally caught off guard by the amiability of the wait staff--but perhaps this was an off day?
On to the food. For starters, the Chinese broccoli with garlic and shiitake was just alright....cold and woefully underseasoned. The pad thai with prawns, dried shrimp and tofu was, by far, my fav. There was a lightness to it as well; it felt 'healthy.' The rice noodles are different, but a welcome change from the thicker ones. After eating for the UK and continental Europe, I didn't feel like there was a lump of gloopity glop in my stomach...which seems to be a trend with heavy Thai meals. I would go back for the pad thai. With a group.
I really enjoyed the food here- so much that we went back a few times. The Thai Calamari was just fabulous, I know I'll be craving it back home and won't be able to get anything like it!
Service was prompt and efficient. Food came quickly and was hot and fresh. I thought prices were moderate (2 drinks, 2 apps and 2 main dishes came to about 30GBP). The Pad thai was very good. My husband got the jungle chicken and really enjoyed it.
I am not in love with the communal dining. The last time we went we were sat at a table with a handful of tipsy annoying students (one who tried to perfect her alabama accent the entire dinner).
Would go back and would recommend.
Love the simple decor and the menu options were divine. The food was really good--loved the duck and the calamari side. Service was ehh--like half of the orders came out and then it took 5 minutes for everyone else, and they were a bit short with us.
Concept is good, but be prepared to wait--and maybe not as worth the wait as you might think.
OTG (Oh Thai God).
Had a most delectable meal here at Busaba. To start/share you've got to try the Thai calamari- comes out looking like quilted 'curls' but it is delicious- as it the Chinese brocoli (lots of garlic and mushrooms thrown in, almost tastes as if it's been steamed with broth yum yum).
I went for the lemongrass chicken and glass noodles in coconut soup. The chicken is quite pungent in flavour so mixes well with the delicate broth. We also ordered the chili cod (great with coconut rice) and one of the spicy beef curries (sorry I'm not plagiarising the menu very well here, the 'given' names for the dishes are a little more appetising and exotic sounding than my bastardising descriptions).
Even the juices are exquisite- grapefruit mojito is memorable and even the simple lycee juice and coconut water (having had more than my fair share of coconut at this point...) is superb, if it is as simple as it sounds I might have to try this one at home.
Will just quickly mention the decor is very lustrous, high ceiling and seductive all-timber interior decorated with figurative gold shrines on the mezzanine platform (this is nice- don't think chintz). Friendly staff and communal dining on square tables.
It fills up quickly... here comes my commercial voice: 'arrive early to avoid disappointment'. Will be back soon for more...
How can I forget this classic meeting place for a very close friend and myself. Whenever we plan to meet its always Busaba's, the Store Street franchise. This has been going on for over 3 years now.
I tick mark everything about this place, from the very efficient service, to the somewhat spicy but tasty food, to the decor and even its seating arrangement. The seating for me a powerful element of the restaurant and its what makes eating such an enjoyable ritual. I've had quiet a good chat with my neighbour diners.
Pandan Chicken my favourite
Lemon and mint juice to add exotic-ness
My friend and myself will catch up for more again, on another occassion at Busaba.
MMMMM this thai place is exquisite. I love thai food so I may be biased, but I think this restaurant will convert the most faint hearted of foodies. Just make sure you don't order anything too spicey, it may blow you away slightly!
The pad thai is my favourite main dish, it is around £6/7 pounds but totally worth it. Go for the prawn one, or if you are a veggie the tofu one is totally good aswell. For starters have some fo the squid dishes, they are always good. And you won't get food poisoning, trust me.
The decor is very chic, but I like it. The crowd in there can generally ascribe to this look too, but ignore any pretentious folk and concentrate on the food. You can eat very well for under a tenner. And if you don't mind waiting, the evenings and great fun for general atmosphere.
I'm so disgusted with Busaba now. I've been trying to book their private room for a WEEK and they've caused no end of hassles. They have a deposit policy throughout November and December of £10 a head. A £200 deposit is ridiculous - when the menu only costs £19 per head! Even my tenuous maths can see that's just stupid. The manager is the only person who will confirm the booking, and he has yet to do that, despite me calling several times to speak to him. They would have made over £500 that night from one booking. Instead, I'm spending my birthday at a restaurant that cares about its customers. That booking took five minutes over the phone.
I like Busaba. I do. But their booking policy and customer service has totally put me off and I've taken two stars off them as a result.
This is my favourite Thai place in London. I've been to the Wardour Street branch but this one is much much better. It's less known so there's no queues and you usually feel like you get some privacy.
The calamari is fantastic. I'd happily just munch on that. But the beef and chilli is brilliant too. I always order roti instead of rice and even that's too much much food. But the food is soooo fresh and yummy and I get very happy at the thought of coming here.
I've taken friends here and they've all been Wagamama fans. They're surprised at how much nicer it is in here. It doesn't feel like fast food, it feels like a proper restuarant.
It'll set you back about £10-12 for a great dinner depending on how hungry you are. The juices are worth every penny - especially the lemonade with ginger
Was invited here for a meal in the private room downstairs. Our group was well cared for, with a real mixture of dishes on offer as part of our mixed set menu. I can't rave enough about the squid starter, which I continued to dip into while everyone else started on the curries and stir-fries. Sides (pad thai, jasmine rice, papaya salad, noodles etc) were plentiful and there wasn't one thing that didn't get an 'mmmmm' all round. There was loads of food for our group, though it's worth making it clear HOW vegetarian people in your party are - a lot of the non-meat dishes contained fish sauce.
As some people have mentioned, the word 'thai' should be taken with a pinch of salt - we finished our meal with lassi or sake.
Just divine. There are three of these Busaba babies - which i suppose makes it a chain - but there's no homogeneity here, just plenty of darn fine delicious Thai scrumptiousness, as you can read from all the previous reviews.
Unique to this Russell Square branch is the great little room downstairs, which, if you can summon up 12 friends, whether for birthday times or just for the hell of it, you can hire out and take advantage of the set menu. At £15 a head we had more food than we could possibly have consumed, even though the majority of the party was made up by super hungry lads.
Food-wise, I am totally in love with the Thai calamari with ginger and peppercorn and the Prawn pomelo with peanut served on betal leaf - Thailand in a bite.
The only thing to drink is Singha!
Summary based on 1 dinner:
--ok, first *bad* indicator is that a spoon and fork is not the default table setting. Regardless of the spin, this is still purportedly a *Thai* restaurant, right?
--ridiculous price that I don't remember for a small bowl of rice.
--high concept and stylish, to be sure
--food dumbed down for Western tastes
Went here after the theatre and was underwhelmed. Much better food in almost any real Thai place in Soho. Nice decor, though.
I went back for my third trip recently, and I have to say, I'm utterly disappointed in Round Three. The menu had changed, and so the dish I was looking forward to is now on the spicy list. I didn't know the little (s) on the menu and since I'd ordered there before, I ended up with something too hot for me to handle. Fine, that's largely my fault, whatever.
We were seated very quickly for a Friday night, so that was a perk. It was louder than normal in there...I'd say a table full of frat boys were behind us if I was back in the States. Lots of yelling. Again, not the restaurant's fault.
The service, however, was 100% there fault, believe me. We were sitting for quite some time before getting served, and after we ordered, a waiter came over to ask us if we'd move to make room for another big party who was coming in. Um. We were in the middle of a conversation and I can't say I was impessed at having to pick up my drinks and navigate around the giant benches to another seat. we didn't want to ruin another diner's night, though, so we moved. No apologies were given by the staff.
Finally our food arrived, and I ordered another drink to go with it. It took about 20 minutes for it to arrive, I'm disappointed to report. I didn't want to eat my food until it arrived because it was so hot. I stopped several waiters as they walked by asking for the drink, but none of them seemed to care. The entire time, the staff kept taking our dishes out from under us before we were finished with them in an effort to push us out the door to make room for the queue outside. I kept having to fight them for my glass full of ice which I wanted to munch while waiting for my drink. The only time I felt like I had good service was when they wanted us to pay them and get the heck out.
My friend's duck curry came with a fist sized chunk of meat that could not be cut since there are no knives at the restaurant. She did say that it was quite tasty however. What she could eat of it anyhow.
It's sad when I restaurant goes from 4 stars to 1 star in my book. Personally, I think I'll stick to The Papaya Tree from now on. Basaba Eathai lost a customer. yesterday.
This is my favourite branch of my favourite restaurant! The food is so delicious, you must try the prawn pomelo, little leaves filled with a rice and prawn mixture with some mix of herbs and spices that tastes just amazing.
The communal tables are a little annoying if you get stuck next to a very loud person or someone having a coughing fit, not pleasant, but otherwise the low lighting levels and amazing fragrances are enough to forgive this minor irritation.
You almost feel like you are in an Ang Lee movie when you go there in the autumn and there are leaves falling outside the slatted wooded windows, incense burning and orchid floating by the big golden buddha.
Great combo of lovely food and great ambience.
Very stylish restaurant located in Tottenham Court road area.
I love the décor and the ambience of this place. Communal tables make it a great place for group dining. Even as part of a couple I liked sitting at a communal table for the people watching potential.
Service is quite good. The staff are very responsive and the food came quite quickly.
The one thing that lets this place down is the food. It's not amazing and not even authentic. My partner had the Pad See Ew which came with thin noodles (like the two-minute version) rather than the broad noodles. I had the butternut squash and chicken stir-fry and the pumpkin was undercooked (and very chewy).
Because of the quick service and its location I put this restaurant into the places to go before a movie or the theatre category.
This Thai restaurant looks great on the inside, with stylish interior design and furniture layout. In my experience, the service is also fine. The food is fairly alright as well, but not brilliant. The dishes we ordered were of a good quality but tasted quiet plain, which was fine for a quick lunch, but not in any way special.
Somehow, this place lacks the traditional opulence and brilliance of authentic Thai food, characteristic of restaurants like Mango Tree. If you are in the area, it's a decent choice for a quick meal, if there is space (it often gets very busy during lunch time), especially in light of the limited number of restaurants in Bloomsbury area, but don't expect anything extraordinary.
Lovely food / Great speedy service / nice staff
what more could you want? Its a nice place
to chill except when its really busy at peak times
The calamari dish here is to die for; and you can get a range of dishes to share with friends. As Busaba was started by Andy lau (Who was the original owner of Wagamama), there is a similar table sharing idea here which doesn't always work if you are a couple and get put on a table with a large group; luckily there are counter seats along the windows.
The decor is really great and it is relatively inexpensive for sush a well styled restaurant. The range of curries and differnt types of rice are great for sharing as portions are quite large. Don't forget to order the calamari in batter with peppercorns and seasoning!
What horrible service!
The food is passable - like KizzieFK, the Pad Thai is the standard of my measure. I didn't hate it -- at least it wasn't the bright orange concoction you get at most Thai restaurants. it also had all the right condiments, from the crushed peanuts to the raw beansprouts. The spring rolls were something awful -- looks like they had just bought them at Sainsbury's.
But the service!! Awful!! I was so harassed and looking for some comfort food and a late lunch -- the waitresses seemed more interested in making me hide my bottle of juice from plain view than taking my order. Literally! They kept coming over to tell me off about it (who tells off their customers?? a polite request will do), and when i would reply that I'd be happy to do it if they could please take my order, they would just walk away and then someone else would come to tell me off about the juice bottle, but not give a damn about taking my order. I had to wait quite. a. while.
HONESTLY. Serve your customers first before asking them to do something to preserve your look.
Also, I noticed that the girls across from me waited the length of time for me to be seated, served, and half done with my food before their waitress got around to giving them the bill they had asked for. Such patience - I would have left a long time ago. They also kept a poor man by the door for a very long time before they approached him to greet-and-seat.
I won't be returning. I'll take my local orange-pad-thai place, because at least the service is worth it.
Outstanding - food is excellent, service is always speedy and it's great value. Agree with some of the comments about the food - you need to know what to order here. Here are my tips:
The goong tohd prawns and accompanying dip are mind-blowingly good (I have been known to order two portions in one sitting); the pad thai compares well to others in central London; char-grilled beef and duck are really tasty; calamari is my wife's favourite dish; morning glory or chinese broccoli both make great side orders; and the green curry fried rice is simple but very, very nice.
The Busaba restaurants on Wardour Street and by Bond Street are really good too, but this one just edges it for me.
I've missed my pre-paid train to Manchester from Euston on a couple of occasions trying to squeeze in a quick portion of prawns on the way from the office! They're that good.
I've been going to Busaba for way too long. My first trip was 7 years ago to the Wardour Branch with my classmates after our very first lesson at Central St Martins. With its communal dining, we thought it was the best place to hold a large group of people all on one table and no need to book in advance...
Since then I would say I've been there at least once every two months. I've been alone (sit at the window seats so you can stare at passers by), on dates (again, sit at window sits for intimacy), and in big groups, all scenarios accommodated equally.
I love Busaba because its fast, healthy and tasty. I've been in and out in less than 25 minutes before on a rushed lunch or stayed for an hour and a half for dinner - although its very ethos leans towards people getting in and out fast. Don't be too afraid of the queues - they tend to go down very quickly. And the staff are efficient, and usually always the same (I hate places with a high staff turnover...)
I review on Yelp because I want to share my favourite places first - not the ones that piss me off - so you can avoid being pissed off at Busaba by doing the following:
- Going for lunch or in the evening eating a little earlier than dinner time (5-6pm and you can pretty much walk in), or a little later.
- Going alone at peak times (you'll always getting pulled to the front of the queue where the twosomes have to linger a while longer)
- By going to the STORE STREET branch at peak times. The Wardour one at peak time is raucous! and the queue can get ridiculous!
- And my final tip - if you are on a budget get the Green Curry Fried Rice. Its a one plate meal, and quite big so you dont have to order a separate curry and rice. I also order tea, because you get this cute little biscuit with it which serves as my dessert (I WAS a student back then...)
I often feel like a smug Londoner when I see the queue at Wardour and walk 10 mins round the corner to Store Street where its often possible to waltz in...
Nice food, small potions, fast service, silly toilets.. worth a try..
Busaba on Store St is a great place to escape the busy streets of London and enjoy a bit a Thai inspired lunch. Really consistent dishes that keep us returning such as aromatic butternut squash curry, yellow prawn curry, massaman duck curry and until they dumped it the mange tout stir fry vegetables. The decor is calm and although it's style is shared tables the atmosphere remains calm. The staff at Store street are by far the friendliest, try Soho for some shocking service, and the prices are really good value. Good and reliable at a fair price.
If I'm frank, the only reason I eat at this Busaba is because the one in Soho has an insanely long queue. But the creator's of Busaba have placed this restaurant just a convenient 10-15 minute walk from Soho. So this Busaba is a great choice if you're out on a weekend and know that you're likely not to get served at the Soho venue any time soon.
Popped in here for a post exhibition nibble. Busy for a Tuesday evening, we had to wait for a few minutes to be seated, though we used the time to admire the wooden decor.
I had the butternut squash and pumpkin, which was tasty, though somewhat lacking in squash and pumpkin; there were only 7 or 8 pieces in a sea of curry sauce, and not a great deal of coconut rice either.
I'd give it another go, but not impressed with the sparsity.
My dinner companions were very impressed with the calamari, though I didn't partake.
I've been going to branches of Busaba Eathai since 2005 and I really love this place. Overall really good Thai food and a great dining experience.
Food: The food is very good. We had:
1) Pad kwetio - yum
2) Pad Thai - one of the best
3) Green chicken curry - really great flavor
Service: No complaints.
Value: Midrange restaurant for Central London and the quality of food is worth the money.
Atmosphere: It wasn't too crowded on a weekday night and if it's a nice night out you can sit by the large open windows in the front. They generally have both private and communal tables which are fun.
Conclusion: Overall very good food for a good value.
The flavors are very different from the usual Thai places. The calamari is amazing! I wish I could find this dish in NYC. As the others have said, the atmosphere is great here and I really haven't had a bad/mediocre dish here.
Full review at grumblinggourmet.com
I've always been a little amazed by Busaba Eathai. Ten years after do no wrong restaurateur Alan Yau first opened the first branch on Soho's Wardour Street, the crowds still line up outside the reservation free communal tabled Thai eateries. We arrived at 7pm on a Friday night and waited 20 minutes outside before being given a menu. There were a few people who had sorted the system and nipped in to 'meet friends', there were also a couple who seemed to be treated as VIPs and managed to queue jump somehow. It's not a system I'm a big fan of personally, though the fact there was a queue throughout means that it must work for some people. We ordered finally 45 minutes after arriving. It would normally have been way too long for me to wait.
We went for three mains and a side to share. The Green Curry beef was ok but the large amounts of a vaguely tasteless vegetable along with the beef felt more like filler than anything else. A grilled ribeye was thin, though well cooked and tender, and went well with the sour tamarind sauce it was served with. We both felt let down by the alleged 'crabmeat' rice, which other than a couple of rather incongruous mushy tomatoes and a lonely looking spring onion was nothing more than a bowl of plain rice. I'd have been badly let down if I'd ordered that as a main course on its own. The Thai calamari was excellent however. Perfectly cooked and seasoned.
Despite the shared tables it didn't feel too intrusive or loud. That being said, we were on a table with a large group and did feel like we were intruding on their party. Other comment would be that on the large communal tables the central sauces felt far too far away so that you were intrusively leaning over people to get to them.
The menu seemed a little smaller than I remember. There didn't seem to be much by the way of starters, though I get that they may not be culturally appropriate. Having checked with their website I see that there aren't any desserts and while fresh fruit couldn't appropriately be served year round, there are a number of Thai desserts that would have rounded it off nicely. It was a good meal, but not worth the 45 minute wait.
The Massaman Duck Curry was so rich and tasty!! Really filled me up with the Jasmine Rice. There's something about this place that makes me think I'm all posh for even just being inside!!! The decor! The vibe! The foooooooooooooooooooooood!
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