I was really looking forward to our christmas party as we had booked a room in a Thai restaurant and Thai is one of my favourite cuisines. Busaba Eathai is a chain created by Alan Yau, they guy behind Wagamama’s, the fantastic Japanese ramen noodle resaurants. There are usually long queues outside and you’re not able to make reservations. So we booked their private room for our christmas party. The ambience is nice, dark and moody with dim lighting and dark woods. They have Wagamama-style communal benches and tables, so it’s not intimate-dinner-for-two style, you can’t lean back in your chair, it’s busy, it’s more like a factory, and you’re sharing your table with strangers. This means it’s hard to have a decent conversation without distraction and people seem to be shouting at each other, so the private room suited me much better as it was quieter, with just one long table which seated up to 25.
I saw the floors were slate, and the walls and furnishings were wood, and straight away I knew the acoustics would be hell. Sounds echo off hard surfaces and makes it a much noisier environment for me. But eating in the small private room brought the noise level right down and I was able to relax. I didn’t have any access problems with bringing a Hearing Dog into the restaurant, which made a nice change. I put my fleece coat on the floor for Smudge and he settled down happily. The waiters didn’t trip over him and they even asked me if Smudge was ok.
The wait service was straight off the mark, we didn’t have to hang around for our food. The efficient and friendly waiters brought a constant stream of plates to us from our chosen set menu –
* Prawn pomelo with peanut served on betal leaf
* Thai calamari with ginger and peppercorn
* Fishcakes with cucumber and peanut relish
* Po pea jay vegetable spring rolls
* Pandan chicken marinated in garlic and coriander root
* Green chicken curry with pea aubergine and corn
* Muslim beef curry with banana capsicum
* Aromatic butternut pumpkin curry with cucumber relish
* Som tam green papaya salad
* Steamed jasmine rice
* Steamed coconut rice
* Phad thai rice noodle with prawn, dried shrimp, tofu and peanut
* French bean and mange tout with baby corn, coconut hurt and pine nut
* Chicken butternut with cashew nuts and chilli
* Ginger beef with thai pepper, chilli and spring onion
* Chilli prawn stir fry with sweet basil
* Tofu and spinach with shallot, chilli and yellow bean
The food was good and I highly recommend the Thai calamari, pumpkin curry, and green chicken curry which bounced out of their bowls with their zingy flavours. Laura had a jasmine smoothie and it was just mmmmmmm. Laura doesn’t eat meat so there wasn’t much choice for her, there’s certainly room for improvement on the vegetarian side of the menu. The wine and Thai beer were both good. They don’t do dessert so I had lemongrass tea with honey which was just divine.
Luckily the toilet signs aren’t in Thai. However, they use symbols which can be a bit confusing, not being the standard ISO 7001:2007 symbols.
There are often people queuing outside, especially if they have had a few beers, trying to work out what the symbols mean, and waiting to see who comes out of which door. The symbols represent the different ways that men and women use the facilities: standing up and sitting down.
My only quibble was that I felt we were rushed out as the private room had another booking, and they came in before we had vacated the room.
The verdict? A thumbs up!
Busaba Eathai, 22 Store St WC1E 7DF
T 020 7299 7900
F 020 7299 7909
Mon – Thurs 12pm – 11pm / Fri – Sat 12 noon – 11.30pm / Sun 12 noon – 10pm
Station: Tottenham Court Road
Average price: £24 and Under