New? It opened around 10th October making it the 16th venue for the Busaba group and a popular high street Thai restaurant.
Where? 52-53 Eastcastle Street, Oxford Circus, W1W 8ED www.busaba.com
On the menu: Embodying Bangkok with fragrant flavours and vibrant colours on every plate, dishes include tom yam soup, sen chan pad Thai, mussaman duck with star anise, and songkhla beef with tangy banana pepper. Exclusively to the Eastcastle Street restaurant is the Bangkok Char-Grill where the dishes boast a distinct seared barbecue aroma and taste, from Issan-style chicken with spicy cucumber salad to tamarind-grilled duck with Chinese broccoli.
First Impressions: Close to Oxford Circus station the restaurant is reasonably sized and has a laid back feel, it is informal without seeming cheap or tacky. I notice that the clientele is almost exclusively people in their twenties making Busaba a beacon for millennials and Oxford Street shoppers.
The Look: The reception desk partially blocks your view as you walk in, once guided round the restaurant opens up where large square tables comprise of the dining area. There is an open kitchen at the back and touches of Asian culture help to decorate the walls.
What We Ate: For an inexpensive restaurant, the food was surprisingly flavourful – thanks to the abundance of fragrant ingredients used in Thai cooking. Not a scrap was left from the tofu and spinach stir fry with egg, yellow beans and shallots finished with a smidge of chilli. The aromatic vegetable curry with pumpkin, Swiss chard and French bean was another strong option, accompanied best with jasmine rice. Even a side of phad phak which was just a simple mix of French beans, broccoli, courgette, baby corn and cashews was packed full of flavour thanks to the light dressing.
Dessert options are only at selective Busaba venues and I was dismayed that this was not one of them, with such great savoury options I was keen to see how they would conquer the sweet section – and also I just love dessert.
What We Drank: Complementing the menu’s Thai ingredients and flavours, Busaba has a vast selection of Asian beers and Thai spirits available from the bar, alongside cocktails and juices made using fresh, exotic fruits. Feeling tee-total I veered away from alcohol and had a refreshing watermelon, guava and lime juice.
Go With: Those slightly budget conscious but without wanting to compromise on flavour, big groups would do well at the large tables.
Final Word: Busaba has an informal vibe, perfect to go with friends to have a catch up good, quick, affordable food so you can get back to your shopping.