A Busaba is a Thai flower , and Eathai is a fusion of the word eat + thai. Busaba Eathai is the brain child of Alan Yau, the man behind Wagamama, Hakkasan and Yauatcha.
The restaurant boasts a casual dining experience for its customers. There are 5 branches in total, 4 in the west end, and 1 in Shoreditch. I have been to the one on Wardour Street, and to the one on Store Street (where I was last night and the inspiration behind this very post)
When I got there, the person that I was meeting had not arrived yet, but I was pleasantly greeted at the door by a lovely Portuguese guy who promised me a table in only a few minutes, and chatted with me while I waited. When I got seated, the manager sent over a glass of Prosecco as a thank you for waiting. My dinner companion was running late, and the waitress was coming around and checking to see if I was ok quite frequently. When he finally arrived, she came to take our order.
When I’m out, I have a tendency to ask the waitresses/waiters to suggest things from the menu for me. This is a sort of test to see how much they know about the place they work in. A good employee in the restaurant/bar world, should know the entire menu off by heart and be able to suggest an array of dishes and drinks to their customers. Our waitress passed the test, and was eager and able to give her opinion, and explain why she suggested what she did. Very good start.
Our order was :
Som tam – green papaya salad with dried shrimp and cherry tomato : we were promised that the salad wouldn’t be too spicy, and that our dried shrimps would come on the side. Neither of the two happened, which was disappointing because I had a lot of faith in the girl. Nevertheless, the salad was OK, maybe a little too much liquid at the bottom, but all in all good
Cod fillet stir-fry with Thai garlic, krachai, kaffir lime and chilli : The cod was great. Even though it was quite spicy, it was very enjoyable. The only downside to the dish was that the portion wasn’t too big
Char-grilled duck in tamarind sauce with Chinese broccoli : There was a lot of debate about this dish. The waitress told us it was her personal favorite, and I told her that I am extremely picky with duck, but that I would trust her. The order was a good portion, and the duck was cooked well, and tasted good. I think it would have been great if it was cooked about 1 minute less, but it was fine overall
Jasmine rice : not much to say about the rice other than, it was normal
Nam polamai carrot, apple, celery, dandelion and nettle extract – Juice : this was my juice, which I hated, and didn’t drink at all. All I could taste was the celery, but that’s probably my fault for ordering it, since I don’t like celery!
Nam polamai carrot, apple, celery, dandelion and nettle extract – Juice : didn’t try it but my friend drank it all, so good sign.
When you think about it, all this seems like a lot, but it really isn’t. We could have ordered more but were weren’t that hungry. My prior experience from the last time at the Wardour Street branch didn’t impress me, so I was hesitant to go again, however it wasn’t that bad. I think Busaba does a great job in terms of ambiance. The lighting is nice & dim, the burning incense gives off a sense of balanced ease, and the wood rests your eyes with its earthiness. On the downside, the place can get really noisy since most tables are communal (they would have done a better job utilizing the space) and sometimes you have to shout to be heard.