Want to eat like a king/queen? You can do it right here at Busaba Eathai. For most Londoners, you would of heard of this place, ate at this place, walked passed this place and maybe like me even pronounced this place wrong to your friends. I don’t know why but I tend to just make up words or add letters that do not exist, I went through a very long phase of pronouncing Busaba as Bu-sa-bai, its like where did the “i” come from. Don’t worry I know now it doesn’t have an “i” at the end of it. haha.
Busaba Eathai was brought to us by the lovely Alan Yau. Alan Yau I here you say didn’t he, oh yes he also gave us Wagamama’s, but didn’t he… Oh yes he also opened Hakkasan, Yauatcha and finally Cha Cha Moon. There are currently 11 Busaba Eathai locations in the UK, with most of them being in London. The concept is simple, casual, quick dining as you are expected to be seated with other people at the table. The restaurant is quite dark with lots of large brown wooden tables and benches with big lamps hanging from above. Quite a minimalistic feel, like Wagamama and Cha Cha Moon. If you want private/intimacy dining, then this isn’t a place for you as like I said you are expected to be seated with other diners. But if you have been to Wagamama and Cha Cha Moon then you are already aware on this Alan Yau concept of dining.
Along with my friend, I went to Busaba Eatthai in Westfield Stratford City on a Friday evening to have dinner. Now at this point you’re probably thinking, why can I eat like a king or queen at Busaba exactly? The reason being is throughout January 2015 they are offering all dine in customers 50% off their food bill (excluding drinks). You get this offer by paying through their app. Every person loves a good food offer, especially when Busabai prices are not that high in the first place, so this makes it a really great deal that you can’t miss. BUT expect there to be queues. Me and my friend got to the restaurant roughly about 7:10pm, and we got seated about 7:30pm, which 20 minutes inside the restaurant waiting isn’t too bad, but if you’re at the back and standing in the cold, it is bad!
Anyway, the place was buzzing. Looks like everyone decided to take good use of their offer. Since I am super organised, me and my friend already decided what we wanted when we was queuing, so when we sat down and put our jackets away I was trying to find a waiter to get our order but considering how busy and packed they were it took 5-10 minutes before we got served (which is ok!). For this offer to work, you need to have selected the restaurant you are dining in on the app and it will then generate a 5 digit code for you. You show that to your waiter and away you go.
From the menu we ordered:
Prawn Crackers (with sweet chilli sauce) – £2.50
Chicken Satay (with peanut sauce) – £5.50
Fish Cakes (with cucumber and peanut relish) – £5.90
Thai Calamari (with ginger and green peppercorn) – £6.50
Pad Thai (rice noodle, king prawn, dried shrimp, tofu, egg, peanut, beansprouts and lime) – £8.50
Duck Breast (with Chinese broccoli and tamarind sauce) – £12.50
Morning Glory (yellow bean, Thai garlic and red chilli) – £5.90
Chinese Brocooli (garlic, shiitake mushrooms) – £6.90
Guava Collins Juice (guava, lime, coconut and lime leaf) – £3.30
Oishi Green Tea – £3.20
Now looking at it, it is a lot of food for two people. But hey 50% off! Despite the restaurant being pretty busy, the food arrived in reasonable time. First came the prawn crackers, then not so long afterwards came the chicken satay, fish cakes, duck breast and morning glory. Bare in mind we are sat on a table shared amongst other diners and me and my friend was at the end of two corners we pretty much took up 1/4 of the table. And we still had more dishes to arrive. Then along came the pad thai, Chinese broccoli and the calamari…and away we went.
So lets start of with the starters… Prawn Crackers, usually I am not a fan of thai prawn crackers as I find them to have bit of a kick to it and I can’t handle spicy food, but with these crackers it had more of a subtle kick to it which I preferred and dipped in the sweet chilli sauce was a perfect duo.
The Chicken Satay is not much of a really wow dish as it is pieces of chicken that is char grilled served with peanut sauce, but for me there is something about chicken and peanut sauce. Its a safe dish to choose if it’s your first time eating at Busaba Eathai, you can’t go wrong.
Next in line we have the Fish Cakes, now these were nice and soft and went well with the dip. On the menu it doesn’t say what kind of dip it was, but it had slices of cucumber and peanut relish (stated on the menu) but I am pretty sure that it was mixed in with a fish sauce, maybe?
Finally the Thai Calamari, I am a big fan of calamari and I felt it lacked a little bit of flavour and crispiness, I couldn’t really taste the ginger and the peppercorn and would of preferred if the calamari were a little bit crispier, but none the less they were demolished.
Mains, I am a massive fan of Pad Thai and no matter how many times I eat at Busaba Eathai, the pad thai never lets me down. Its a generous portion of noodles, mixed with king prawns, tofu, egg, beansprouts and shrimp served with crush peanuts and lime. My only gripe of it is the dried shrimp (think next time I should ask them to take these out) I’m not sure why, but I am just not a fan of dried shrimp. But the flavouring and the texture of the noodles is always on form.
Being a massive fan of pad thai, I am also a massive fan (x infinity) of duck. I just love duck. The Duck Breast served on a bed of chinese broccoli and tamarind sauce were the bees knees. The duck was nice and soft and the sauce was nice and sweet. Mixed in with the noodles that had a tangy kick to it was a perfect duo.
Keeping in line with my 5 a day fruit and veg, sides consisted of two types of green veg. Morning Glory (Tung Choi) is one of my favourite veg dishes to order whenever I am eating in an Asian restaurant, now I was a little bit disappointed with this dish, when I had it before at Stratford a while back, there was more kick in the veg but this time round I found it lacking. And same with the Chinese Broccoli (Kai Lan), I found it lacking in the taste department.
For drinks I ordered the Guava Collins and it was a great choice, it was nice and refreshing and really easy to drink. It might be a weird way of describing a drink, but sometimes you can find that drinking juices if the combination of flavour is wrong its really hard to drink and taste the flavours.
To claim you 50% off you need to pay it through the app, and it is so quick and simple. I will advise you to set up the app before hand with you card details so you’re not sitting in the restaurant doing it. You click on “MyEathai” and you will see your bill come up and with the discount applied. You can then select the amount of tip you wish to add or not, using the slider bar or if you tap on the tip amount you can enter it yourself. A good feature about the app is that you can split the bill between the number of diners and all pay their separate ways. If some wish to pay by cash, that is fine and you can let the waiter know and they check that you have paid the rest through the app. Once you are happy with the amount and selected the card you pay with confirm payment and you’re done! You can get your belongings and go. It is really that simple. Saves you having to get the waiter attention, work out the cost, and then get the waiter attention again to pay for your food.
I will definitely recommend you making full use of the 50% off offer with Busaba Eathai (bonus is, you can use it as many times as you want!). The food overall was great and the service was lovely despite being very busy! But be prepared to wait if you visit during peak lunch times or after work hours, but overall eat like a king/queen! So what are you waiting for, grab your smart phones and start downloading the app!
The total cost for my dinner between two people (with discount, service charge and tip): £38. – How good is that!
Must try dishes: Pad thai, duck breast and fish cakes.
Dish to avoid: Prawn crackers…NOT because they are bad, but because they are so addictive. They are like pringles, once you pop, you can’t stop!
Find out where your nearest Busaba Eathai restaurant is by clicking here.
Have you been to Busaba Eatthai? Did you use the 50% discount?