On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of visiting the brand-spanking-new Busaba Eathai flagship in Shoreditch, writes After Nyne’s Naomi Blair.
Located just minutes from Shoreditch High Street station, the new restaurant is an oasis of incense-scented zen, complete with its very own lotus flower pond.
The traditional Thai dining area means you’ll share your table with fellow diners- an experience which creates a warm atmosphere, plus you can perve on everyone’s food- ideal if you’re anything like me!
We kicked things off with some cocktails; I plumped for a fruity mango, rum and rice milk concotion, while my friend went for a vodka and hibiscus-syrup infused one. Both were delicious, but I think mine had the edge in the flavour-stakes.
Whilst we perused the menu, we nibbled on prawn crackers and wok-tossed cashews with crispy fried shallots and chilli. The nuts were incredibly moreish and I had to physically restrain myself from polishing off every single cracker.
Moving swiftly on to starters, we opted to share Busaba’s mixed starter plate, and added in a side of ginger and green peppercorn calamari (it’s not greedy, it’s research). The mixed starters included matchstick chicken, fishcakes, chicken satay and breaded king prawns (or goong tohd, if you’re feeling fancy).
I liked the matchstick chicken as it was tender and delicately proportioned, but wasn’t overwhelmed by the other options, although my partner-in-crime was swooning over the satay sauce. The calamari was a winner, as it was vibrantly flavoured and came in a generous portion, perfect for sharing.
Our mains arrived and we tucked in to crabmeat fried rice, pad Thai, duck Mussaman curry and scallop and prawn stir-fry. The curry was fragrant and richly spiced and the duck was seriously tender. Busaba’s Pad Thai delivered on flavour, with bouncy noodles and crunchy veg, although I think a bit more chilli wouldn’t have gone amiss.
The crabmeat fried rice was too salty for me, and generally a bit ‘meh’, which was a shame as I love anything to do with crab. However, their scallop and prawn stir-fry was fantastic, with fresh juicy prawns and perfectly plump scallops amidst al-dente green beans and peppers.
If you love seafood, this is one to order, just be prepared to get aggressive with your chopsticks to snag one of the two scallops. As we were sharing between two, this wasn’t an issue and we were both in raptures over the delicate flavours of the seafood, which was perfectly cooked.
By this point we were pretty stuffed, so the lovely staff offered to pack up our leftovers into doggy-bags, which was very kind of them and a great way to cut restaurant food waste. Weighed down with bags of food, we moved from the dining room into the modern bar area where we sat on the leafy terrace for our final course.
We people-watched while we sipped on some cha which came with buttery cashew and coconut cookies. We shared a pot of lemon and ginger tea, and a green tea, both of which were very refreshing and a lovely way to round off the meal.
The new Busaba Shoreditch is a lovely space which cleverly transports you to Thailand, complete with consistently good, affordable Thai food. If you’re in the area, it’s well worth checking it out, even if just for one of their lovely cocktails.
Naomi ate at Busaba Eathai Shoreditch. Details on all twelve Busaba Eathai locations can be seen at http://www.busaba.com