Busaba, as it’s known to most, is one of those rare commodities – a critically lauded venture that is equally loved by the dining public, accessible and affordable while remaining a tantalising allure. That it has managed to franchise out to several locations while retaining the high standards of the original says much about the tightness of the entire operation – but all you need to know is that it’s excellent Thai food in a terrific atmosphere at great prices.
First, the dining area – polished exotic woods are used extensively and there is a real sense of space about the restaurant. There are the familiar South-East Asian touches like flowers and carvings, but the effect is appropriate rather than trite, and tables are low, wide and communal, giving great people watching opportunities and a chance to eye up your neighbours’ dishes before you order. The atmosphere is relaxed, chatty and buzzy but never overbearingly loud.
Next, the cooking. Moving the game forward from the usual selection of green/red/Massaman curries and stir fried noodle dishes, the kitchen offers a diverse array of light starters and mains, delicately seasoned yet explosively flavoursome. Tom kha chicken noodle soup here is gorgeous, the textures of the glass noodles and firmness of the single perfectly cooked chicken thigh mingling with the coconut milk and flavours of galangal and lemon grass; the calamari here is excellent too, flavoured with Thai herbs and seasoning and lightly grilled.
Though the kitchen makes much of simple and humble ingredients, luxury ingredients are on offer at reasonable prices as well – a chargrilled beef ribeye offer an earthy contrast to green curry with monkfish. Last but not least, vegetarians are very well catered for, and the bar makes a good selection of muddled alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
Price-wise, you can get away with dinner here for ten pounds – though watching others order, you’re likely to want to order more. It’s just that kind of place.
Opening Times: Monday – Thursday: 12:00 – 23:00, Friday & Saturday: 12:00 - 23:30, Sunday: 12:00 – 22:00
106-110 Wardour Street, Piccadilly, W1F 0TRView Larger Map
- Moderately Priced
- Families With Teenagers
- Lively Atmosphere