Busaba Eathai

Busaba

Busaba

I’ve been here 4 times in the past 3 weeks. I need to stop. Like, seriously. There was also that awkward moment when I went on three consecutive days and the waitress gave me a ‘you really need to get a life’ look. I didn’t tip her.

I blame my Kenyan friend who was in town with her boyfriend who fell not-so-secretly in love with the place. It’s like he opened the flood gates and now, after months of not going, I can’t seem to get enough, thus being reminded that I’m partial to their calamari. I don’t know why I’m downplaying it, it’s pretty damned amazing and I hate having to share it.

Thai calamari with ginger and peppercorn

Thai calamari with ginger and peppercorn

There’s a sweetness to it that I just can’t get enough of, and unlike the chewy hideousness of calamari you can get in other places, this does not require jaw-aerobics.

Another uh-mazing dish here is the goong tohd prawns which is essentially breadcrumbed prawns with a chili lime sauce. I could honestly drink that sauce in a glass!

Goong tohd prawn deliciousness

Goong tohd prawn deliciousness

Ok, now that we have the sides out of the way, I have to say Busaba doesn’t have much more going for it. There’s nothing wrong per se with the mains, but I am yet to taste something that isn’t meh. Their noodle dishes are perfectly fine; but that’s just it, they’re fine, not great. I’ve had the Dolly pad mee (dolly noodles, prawn, fish cake, choi sum and chili) on all but one of these visits. Nice but needed the hot sauce to bring it to life.

Dolly pad mee

Dolly pad mee

Sen mee (beef, capellini, spring onion, dried chili)

Sen mee (beef, capellini, spring onion, dried chili)

Sen chan pad Thai (rice noodle, prawn, peanut, egg, green mango, crabmeat)

Sen chan pad Thai (rice noodle, prawn, peanut, egg, green mango, crabmeat)

They do a better job with their curries – always full of flavour, although I wasn’t too keen on the cuts of beef used in the curry below.

Red curry egg fried rice (braised beef, lime leaf, aubergine, sweet basil, egg fried rice)

Red curry egg fried rice (braised beef, lime leaf, aubergine, sweet basil, egg fried rice)

The dish below was very unusual in that sauce tasted Ethiopian – like the base was a mixture of alcohol and pepper. I didn’t order this one myself as it’s listed on the menu merely as “Ginger beef” – which didn’t sound particularly exciting – but I might have to next time because it was delicious. Sweet, spicy with a kick of alcohol.

Ginger beef (Thai pepper, chili, spring onion and asparagus)

Ginger beef (Thai pepper, chili, spring onion and asparagus)

 Things I don’t like about Busaba – their prices are 1 or 2 pounds more than what the food is actually worth the Ginger beef above is £9.30(!) plus a few extra pounds for a portion of rice), and their square tables that you’ll always have to awkwardly share with people you don’t know. if you’re on a first date, trust that the entire table will be on that date with you. But I suppose what I do like about Busaba is that it’s dependable. A go-to place if you want something safe – no one can come out of there hating it or not falling in love with their calamari. Fact. 
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