Excellent food, service, and drinks. We will return. The curry was spot on. The stir fry was excellent also!
Barely edible food. The two stars are because the decor is very pleasant and I'd probably enjoy coming here for a drink and chilling. Husband and I came here for lunch on a Saturday. I knew it was bad news bears when he asked for jungle curry with beef - the menu has jungle curry with chicken and red curry with beef. The fact that they cannot substitute meats means that the dishes are probably frozen and pre-packaged, not freshly prepared. So he went for red curry beef and I went for "Chiang Mai noodle soup," their interpretation of the Chiang Mai classic khao soi. Food arrived. Beef curry was tough and practically inedible. Noodles were OK but I could get better from an instant noodle pot. Also, it took over 20 minutes to flag down a server to get the check - and the place was NOT busy - there were only three or four other tables eating. I get that the bar for Thai food in London is very low, but Busaba still disappointed me.
When my friends, who know I am a fan of Thai cuisine, heard that I hadn't yet been to Busaba, looked at me aghast. I'd since resolved that I'd eat at the establishment at the first opportunity available. And such an occasion arrived soon enough when a friend was in town and made plans to meet his friends over dinner. And he said, we're meeting at Busaba at Piccadilly Circus. And I trotted on my high heels right over to the establishment across from Princi. And waited for a solid 20mins before I realised with no small degree of exasperation that there was indeed a new Busaba outlet closer to Piccadilly Circus than I had realised and I went over with a rumbling tummy and feet that were starting to complain.
I started with the relaxing ginger and honey tea served with a cashew and coconut cookie. I perused the pages of delicious sounding food, and for some unfathomable reason, I played safer than my usual adventurous self, and went for a rather staid Ginger Beef with Thai pepper, chilli and spring onion, with a side of Phad Phak with French bean, broccoli, courgette, baby corn, cashew and pine nut and Coconut rice. Food was tasty all round, and I was pleased with the preparations but I was not impressed with their somewhat mean serving size - of course, it could also be that I was ravenously hungry from standing around outside restaurants and trudging on my heels. The service was nothing to write home about but not too bad either. My vegetarian friend (I seem to have one with me in every Yelp review!) seemed happy with the selection on offer.
So ok, I will admit that I am probably being less kind to this establishment than I might have otherwise been. Also, on that evening, as I was meeting a bunch of new people, I couldn't appreciate the shared seating arrangement on benches and the loud ambiance of the restaurant. I'll just have to go back sometime to check for consistency, I guess!
I've always liked this place- sure, it's a little overpriced and a little clattery, but the food is decent enough, if it's not the greatest place.
It gets the bump up due to excellent service-- or an excellent recovery. Got in, seated promptly and then sat about 5 minutes. The maiitre'dnoticed I hadn't been served and got right on it- then brought me one of their super-expensive & nice house-made juices on the house- I didn't ask. An apology would have been enough, but it was most appreciated.
So there you go. Four stars. Thanks, Busaba.
A couple of my friends are always banging on about how amazing Busaba is and I just thought they were being over the top but then when the three of us and another friend went there a few months ago, I was pleasantly surprised.
I found it difficult to choose from the menu as there were so many things I liked the sound of, so my friend and I decided to share - from memory we had coconut rice; a side of vegetables with cashew nuts which were amazing; pumpkin curry and I think duck.
The bottle or two *ahem* of red wine that we all shared was lovely too, the service was great, just a tad annoying with the communal seating as we were joined by other customers when we were halfway through our meal.
Located well, close to Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Haymarket it is as Central as you could hope.
Can't wait to return! I'm salivating now.... :-s
I had a meal there this week after seeing a film in town and I was suitably impressed. The restaurant was quiet and not too busy, I did put this down to the weather given how rainy it had been that day but nonetheless it lead to a very nice, relaxed meal as we had a whole table to ourselves.
The food was more than satisfying and I had a pad thai which had prawns and crabmeat on top which was a new one for me. It was beautifully presented and they were very generous with the ratio of prawns and crab. Perhaps I had a generous chef or the accountant that controls portion sizes was having a night off. Nevertheless I was happy. My partner had some swordfish and coconut rice, we also had a bowl of morning glory which came with dried shrimp. It was very similar to many dishes of greens I have eaten when in southeast Asia and I really liked that everything we ate didn't taste as if it had been overly westernized.
Food from this part of the world is meant to be tangy, salty, sometimes smelly, punchy and full of flavour that really packs a punch.
Busaba succeeded well on this count. I also found myself newly in love with their lemongrass tea - not only does it taste good but it was presented wonderfully and they even brought honey to add if you wanted to sweeten it. The element of ceremony with the tea pot and cup made it a rather lovely affair.
I found that the meal we had was very reasonably priced and presentation was good. We were fortunate enough to be there when it wasn't too busy so we didn't experience any table turning. The waitress was trying to up sell stuff a little but then that is par for the course if in a restaurant.
I will return and would be interested to see what its like when it is busy.
I've been here a couple of times now and it's just so good no queue as with the Wardour Street branch, the staff are really cheerful and efficient, and there's something incredibly decadent about a doorman who doesn't behave like someone who's judging you.
I love the incense and candles as you come in, and the whole spacious decor of the place makes me feel instantly like I'm on holiday.
Last night I had the excellent chicken satay again (great chicken with a little yoghurt, and lovely satay) and the Koh Samui juice (coconut, orange and carrot) which was quite spectacular. My Tom Kha chicken soup required playing that annoying game Is it chicken, or is it lemongrass? but tasted lovely.
A fantastic place to eat around Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus, which isn't exactly troubled for same.
I went here as hoping for a decent but fast pre-theatre meal. What I got was something that was very average, both in food and service.
The food was unexciting. The sides felt pre-bought - I don't trust those spring rolls which all look uniformly the same size and shape as though turned out from a machine. The mains were acceptable but nothing special - under-spiced and nothing outstanding. At £8+ for a dish you would hope that would be better. On top of that, the service was slow. It took about 20 minutes from ordering to drinks arriving (although we were offered the wrong drinks after just five minutes). Everyone was very nice but, again, nothing special.
It felt like the old Busaba experience had been diluted to become a chain-brand in much the same way as any of the other pan-Asian chains (Wagama, Miso, etc). What a shame.
(As a final observation, the toilet signs are very odd: two pictures that don't appear to relate to either gender which means that there are constantly confused patrons hanging about outside requiring staff to keep coming over to explain. As far as I can make out the "" shaped one is men and the "Z" one is women...")
Oriental canteen atmosphere & ambiance. Big tables, ideal for groups, not so good for intimate evenings. Fewer selection of window tables for the couples.
Staff were excellent, I mean really good. So helpful & charming.
Food was pretty high standard an well presented. Loved the Thai Calamari!
Will definitely visit again soon!
Checked out this location of Busaba yesterday while on a trip through London,
Food and ambience was up to snuff and what you would hope and expect from a thai restaurant with the reputation that this place seems to have (and with lines out the door). Standard thai dishes with plenty of vegetarian options made it easy to find something. The food wasnt greasy as it sometimes can be but also didnt stand out as being totally amazing. For this price category just about what you would expect.
What really takes away stars from this place, and maybe its just this location was that everything took forever once we had received a seat. Service was amazingly slow when it came time to pay (it took around 25 minutes from the time we asked for the bill until we left) and it also took a good 45 minutes for the food to come to our table after we had ordered it. Our waitress was also quite short and seemed quite rushed and frustrated the whole night.
Conclusion- it could have been an off night but in terms of the wait staff but for standard thai food, Ill probably try somewhere else next time Im in town.
I love Busaba! The calamari is always a winner for me and my friends and it's one dish no one ever wants to share. I have been to most of the Busaba's in London and it can get quite busy and loud in most. The sharing tables are fine, but not good for people on first dates, please don't put yourself and others through that trauma! I have had to witness it. The service is always good and everyone too the door man are very friendly. I'm constantly getting my friends on the Busaba bandwagon, if you aren't on it yet, what's wrong with you?
Eat there today, it's a average Thai restaurant, which means I enjoyed my meal. The menu is select, and many of the dishes that I enjoy are not on the menu, specifically larb. Mixed experience on the food, the fish curry was excellent, the Pad Kwiteow Gai was good, and the Pad King Talay was just faire. The service was prompt and courteous and the décor was very nice. I recommend it, but I'm pretty sure there are better Thai restaurants in London.
I was surprised to find good Thai food at a decent price so close to Leicester Square. The atmosphere was really cool and swank. I wouldn't say totally authentic, but in a touristy area, it was a great change of pace.
Just ok Thai 'like' food. I guess no one claimed its authentic. A PF Chang attempt at Thai. I guess many locals like it. I would not go back.
Centrally placed, reasonably priced place for fairly quick eats - food is workmanlike, and perhaps lacks a bit of oomph, but this place is perfect for a quick lunch or evening meal. Assuming you like Thai food of course.
Excellent! Great dishes, I will vist again soon,
we stopped in and had only a 5 minute wait for the table. it was noisy and busy but that was no surprise. we ordered and drinks arrived fast; food took a bit longer. I had green curry fried rice and my mom had pad Thai, plus we shared a veggie dish. all 3 were good and generous portions. my rice had some real kick to it, the veggies (greenbeans, broccoli, zucchini, cashews, pine nuts) were fresh & delicious, and my mom's pad Thai was satisfying. all that + 1 small wine was £26. we were happy and full, and that was good enough.
decent atmosphere and location, went quite late on a friday night and must have got the dregs of the curry - not much monkfish in one and not much lamb in the other. food itself tasted awesome though however was not impressed with the protein content!
This user has arrived from Qype, a European company acquired by Yelp in 2012. We have integrated the two sites to bring you one great local experience.