On occasions I have walked past Busaba Eathai on Wardour Street, looked at the queue and wondered just what all the fuss was about. One Thursday as I sat in the cafe over the road I thought it was about time I found out. It was early evening (no queue=result!!), the perfect time to slip in before the crowds arrive. The first thing that struck me was the selection of people eating. From young trendy fashion workers to suited and booted business men, Busaba Eathai attracts them all.
The tables are communal and the atmosphere is constantly buzzing even during the less busy times. The friendly staff make it easy for first timers by going through the menu and offering recommendations. The food ranges from traditional Thai dishes such as Pad Thai and Tom Yam to the restaurants own take on Thai cuisine. I decided on the Sam Tam (£6.20), green papaya salad, with dried shrimp and cherry tomatoes. And for main I choose Sen Chan Pad Thai (£8.80), a twist on traditional pad thai with green mango and crab meat, our waiter Nicholas assured me this was a good choice.[easy-image-collage id=102588]
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 now in London restaurants is quite a rarity. Deciding to keep with the Thai theme we ordered two Chang beers. Food is served fast and our side dishes arrived not long after the drinks. Oh Som Tam how I have missed you! Just the right amount, the papaya was crunchy but juicy and the hot and sour sauce mixed to perfection. 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 they did not disappoint, even with the high expectations set by the delicious side dishes. My Sen Chan Pad Thai was something else, 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. 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, that’s it I was sold!
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We struggled to finish the generous portions and had wanted to try one of the Cha teas but couldn’t fit anything else in. My sister equally impressed suggested a mutual pact that would see us return next month. Busaba EaThai is one of the best Thai restaurants in London for both food and value, it‘s hard to believe just how cheap the food is. The menu is refreshed every six months to keep people coming back. I for one am sure I will be back and certainly won’t be leaving it six months.
The company has already expanded from its original Wardour Street site and now has four other sites in the city with a new one 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!
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Busaba Eathai, 106-110 Wardour Street, W1F 0TR