Busaba Eathai, Wardour StreetPosted in Where to Eat & Drink Now
Freelance writer Julia Pearson checks out the tastes of Thailand at Busaba Eathai on Wardour Street.
More than once I have walked past Busaba Eathai on Wardour Street and been amused by the queue. On one occasion I sat in the cafe over the road and watched people waiting in the rain, wondering what all the fuss was about. After hearing yet another friend rave about the place I thought it was about time I found out.
Arriving at the restaurant on a Thursday evening, no queue thankfully, the first thing I noticed was the selection of people eating. From young trendy fashion workers to suited and booted business men, Busaba Eathai attracts them all. The dark furniture and low lightening give the restaurant a very upmarket feel and it’s hard to believe how well priced the food is. The tables are all communal and the atmosphere is constantly buzzing. Once inside the friendly staff show you to a table and are on hand to talk through the menu and give recommendations.
The restaurant has a wide variety of dishes, with a unique take on traditional Thai food such as Pad Thai and Tom Yam. Having travelled throughout Thailand and fallen in love with Thai cuisine my mouth watered at the huge selection on offer. Before we made a decision our waiter, Nicholas, gave us his recommendations and informed us that some of the spicy dishes could be toned down to suit individual palettes.
I finally decided on the Sam Tam (£6.20), green papaya salad, with dried shrimp and cherry tomatoes - I practically lived on this in Thailand. For my main I chose the Sen Chan Pad Thai (£8.80), a twist on traditional pad thai with green mango and crab meat, Nicholas assured me this was a good choice.
My sister went for the Gohn Tohd Prawns (£5.30), served with chilli dip followed by the Dolly Pad Mee (£7.40), dolly noodles with prawns, fishcake, cherry tomato, choi sum and chilli. We were both very impressed to see brown rice on the menu, something which even in London restaurants is quite a rarity.
Above: Oriental Surroundings @ Busaba Eathai, Wardour Street
Deciding to keep with the Thai theme and we ordered for two Chang beers. Whilst waiting for our food I noticed outside of the window the famous queue had formed right along the restaurant front, we had made it just in time.
Food is served fast and our starters arrive not long after the drinks. Oh Som Tam how I have missed you! Just the right amount, the papaya crunchy but juicy and the hot and sour sauce mixed to perfection, I was impressed. The succulent Gohn Tohd prawns served in bread crumbs sealed the deal and I was now beginning to understand just what the fuss was about.
The mains were served up and did not disappoint, even with our high expectations following the delicious starters. My Sen Chan Pad Thai was something else; if I closed my eyes I was almost back in Thailand. The meal was so fresh it tasted like it had just come from a street stall in Bangkok. One of my favourite things about Thai cooking is its lack of greasiness, but some restaurants can't seem to get it right. On more than one occasion I have been faced with a large plate of greasy noodles which they pass as Pad Thai. It made such a refreshing change to be able to actually taste the different flavours and the addition of the crab meat and mango really complemented the texture and taste of the noodles, that's it I was sold!!
My sister was equally impressed by the Dolly pad and we made a mutual agreement that we would return. We struggled to finish the generous portions and had wanted to try one of the Cha teas but couldn’t fit anything else in so we will save that for next time.
I can honestly say Busaba EaThai is one of the best Thai restaurants in London for both food and value. The menu is refreshed every 6 months to stop it becoming stale, give the regulars continued variety and to keep people coming back. I for one am sure I will be back and certainly won’t be leaving it 6 months.
Busaba EaThai has something very special. The company has already expanded from its original Wardour Street site and now has four other sites in the city with a new site opening soon on Old Street. I am sure it will be a big hit with the Shoreditch fashionistas, in fact I am convinced this one is going to grow and grow!
106-110 Wardour Street,
London, W1F 0TR
Written by Julia Pearson