I had first gotten to know Busaba at a cocktail class a few months ago.
Never one to pass up the opportunity to pretend to be Tom Cruise circa movie “Cocktail”, I was there in a shot.
It was a wonderful evening; we learnt how to create their signature drinks; experimented with new and exciting flavours and had the additional bonus of being situated right by the open kitchen where I could eye up the delicious creations which were released into the restaurant.
As the night finished, we made our way to leave, unfortunately having no time to sit and dine on the smells we had obsessed over for the past two hours.
“But….food!” My mind screamed; alas, not wanting to cause a scene, I left dignified, resisting the urge to pocket a patrons Pad Thai on my walk to the exit.
As you can imagine I was pretty shaken up about it.
Fortunately for my stomach, I didn’t have to wait long before making my return to Busaba; and whilst my first experience had been pretty exceptional, I had a feeling it would be more glorious with the inclusion of their food.
Entering Busaba, you’re greeted with a refreshingly fragrant and calming atmosphere. Lit joss sticks and Buddah’s contribute to the marvellous décor which combines upscale design with eclectic and instagrammable style.
The menu is vast, serving up everything from from-wok-to-plate-stir-fries, tasty titbits, modern Bangkok dishes and classic rice sets just begging to be tuk-tuk’ed into.
We made our selections, resisting the urge to order one of everything, and awaited our meal basking in the calming mood of the restaurant.
First up came the small plates, starting with the matchstick chicken. Tiny wings, holding soft, tender white meat encased in a deliciously more-ish crispy skin. These babies come fresh-hot from the fryer, but if you’re anything like us, one whiff of that crackling coating and you’ll happily wave goodbye to your fingerprints and dive in straight away. A total crowd-pleaser.
The soft shell crab arrives lightly battered with a ridiculously dreamy garlicy oyster dipping sauce. I would have liked to see more hunks of crabmeat within the batter, however what was there were delicately sweet, pillowy bites; a wonderful contrast against the light, savoury batter. Lip-smackingly good.
A well-timed interval between starters and mains meant we could fully savour our first course, revelling in the flavours and the aromatic ambience of the restaurant itself. We got to chatting with the host and our waitress, Daniella and Laura, both of whom were charming and genuinely interested in our thoughts on the food so far as they shared their favourite dishes from the menu.
When it comes to service, I think passion for the food you serve is so important in creating an experience to remember for the diner, and this is something Busaba has really achieved well with its team.
Shortly after, our mains arrived; Thai-m to feast!
The classic Pad Thai is a definite must-order and completely stole the show at our table. A particularly good choice for those who are new to Thai food, however even natives couldn’t deny the excellence of this dish.
A mountain of steaming rice noodles covered the entire circumference of the plate. Stacked and juicy-looking; generous offerings of succulent king prawns, weeny dried shrimp and fried tofu poked out from the ribbons alongside crunchy beansprout and crispy dried noodle.
We marvelled for a moment, then exclaimed; “Phuket, let’s eat!”
Grabbing sizeable amounts of the Pad Thai using our chopsticks, we shovelled portions of the dish (elegantly…) into our mouths, revelling in the flavours which oozed out all over the place.
Fresh, crunchy yet tender and luscious tastes enveloped every mouthful. A side of crushed and powdery peanuts increased the depth of the dish, adding a contrasting nutty-ness and crunch to each bite.
Alongside our Pad Thai order came our second dish of Steamed Whole Sea Bass with Jasmine Rice.
Impossibly delicate flakes of the fish falls effortlessly from its skin, each mouthful flavoured ever so softly with seasonings of chilli, coriander and basil lime. This incredibly mild, yet delicious meat balances heavenly with fragrant scoops of the piping hot, sticky rice. A refreshing option for those wanting to opt for a lighter plate, I highly recommend you give it a thai.
Overall, my experience with Busaba and their take on Thai cuisine was a pretty darn delicious one, and one I fully intend on revisiting. With an extensive menu featuring all kinds of offerings from small plates to curries, rice dishes and soups – you can’t go far wrong no matter what you order and can have confidence in totally authentic and appe-thai-sing evening.