There is almost always a queue outside, but it moves quite quickly. Not a place to linger that's for sure. It is decide outside, be seated, eat, leave. It is loud/ noisy and you share the table with everyone who can fit there as well.
Having said that, it is consistently good food and for London really affordable. I especially enjoy the Mango Lassi with a drop of rose water in it. Everything else is good Thai food (at least from what I know).
If you like the rush and bustle, go there, but take friends with you (don't be a threesome they have to wait the longest).
Can't fault it for a quick bite, not too pricey, no need to book, great service and food is really lovely and presented very well. Expect lively, casual, quick and to share your table (big shared tables). Check it out. Have tried this and the Shoreditch branch and both are excellent.
Received a thoughtfully-written email from Lesley Vaughan of Busaba Eathai's Operations department in response to my Qype review, reassuring me that BE does its best to ensure "you have a great experience while dining at Busaba any time of the day" and that policy is by no means to shoo customers out before they've had a chance to down their Thai calamaris and Chiang Mai noodle soup.
So, I'm impressed by their prompt and sincere response, have enough good experiences to let this one go, and am mollified and grateful not to have to carry yet another grudge. And also grateful for their offer of a goodwill voucher, which I'll use the minute it arrives.
A *update 2 June 2010
I was totally taken aback the other night, having asked if the kitchen was still open on arrival at about 10.30 and then waited nearly around 20 minutes for the food to arrive, to be told some 15 minutes after it had arrived that the the restaurant was closing and "would we mind finishing up".
When I explained that the food had taken a long time and I'd had to remind the staff three times that we were waiting, the response was that "it's normal, when it's this busy, for food to take a little longer, and 'I can give you another 10 minutes, but no more'.
Had the waiter who originally shown us the table told us, at the time, that the restaurant would close at, say, 11.15, we would have been able to choose to eat elsewhere.
Even though the woman who asked us to hurry did her best to be polite, it's incredibly rude to ask people to either bolt or leave food that they've paid for. Especially when they've already got a mouthful of food.
As usual, the food was great, but the evening was spoiled and my guest, an American friend on business, was horrified.
Now Rosa's has opened three blocks away, offering better service and value for money, a more intimate dining atmosphere, and is an authentic Thai business, I'll be dining there instead. This is a real shame, because as you can see below, Busaba used to be one of my favourites. Sadly, this often happens when you're so busy you can take customers for granted.
Bye bye, Busaba. It was great, for a while.
Food here, and I've noticed there's a prompt for tagging the calamari, is terrific, and, for the quality, reasonably priced; 1 1/2 courses each (pricier prawn/monkfish and a calamari to share, Coke/Wine) at 15 per head.
If it weren't for the unbelievable, conversation-stopping racket, this place would get my five stars and I'd eat here nightly. A fantastic venue for lunch, when it's quieter, or for grabbing a quick bite with a mate when you've 'ad a few, super. But don't go their after a late afternoon's shop with your mum or aunt, like I did, because conversation will die...
Clean lines, bare wood, stone floors, trestle tables and low celings create soundboxes; they look great, but amplify ambient sound. This is a neat trick - if people can't talk, they'll leave after eating. So you keep the tables turning... Interestingly, Wagamama and Cha Cha Moon have the same issues. Coincidence...?
Great location in the heart of Soho, with very good Thai modern food and a good and casual atmosphere.
It is the only place in London where there is always a huge queue waiting to enter outside, so you can wait for around 20-30min outside easily.
Once you get it, you are placed on any table where there are seats, and most likely you will be sharing the food with strangers, unless you get one of the seats that face the outside window.
This is one of the aspects (sharing your table with strangers) that people find charming about this place, and other people really dislike.
The food is great, even if you are not so much into exotic food, so I would always give it a try.
It is different, and I do recommend it.
In the Busaba Eathai you can get excellent thai food in a modern and comfortable environment with a very quick service and low prices.
The restaurant is well attended and so the noise level is high. Unfortunately I felt a little bit like I was on an assembly line, because of the impersonal service - according to the number of people who are eating there every day. In the restaurant are big tables where you were placed with other people who you don't know, which I don't like that much because I prefer the privacy of an own table with my company.
Nevertheless I can recommend this restaurant to everybody who likes thai food and the modern ambience and has no problem with the loud and hectic atmosphere.
all i can say is this place ROCKS! great atmosphere, lovely food - u have to order the calamari! and a touch of romantic too!!
if you want less of a queue dont go to the wardour street one stick to the one behind Selfridges!
Don't be put out by the queue outside, the short wait is really worth it! Busaba delivers amazing thaï food for a small price in a convivial and busy environment.Staff is always very attentive and nice and sharing your table makes the experience relaxed and unfussy. From the rich Muslim curry to the spicy basil prawns or the green curry fried rice with chargrilled chicken, every dish I've ever tasted has delivered on great flavours. I even love the ginger and peppercorn calamaris even though I don't really like them normally.The only small downfall is on the wine selection as I find it a bit reductive and not always tasty.Otherwise, this is definitely THE place to share a meal before going out in the West End!
Excellent and tasty Thai food that offers good value for money.
The inside has a canteen style seating arrangement. It was really busy when we went and it had a noisy and lively atmosphere. The staff were very friendly and happy to provide recommendations.
Be warned, they do not take reservations and on the Friday evening by the time we left there was a queue outside of people waiting for a table.
I love Thai food and will definitely be heading back.
My friend and I had dinner at Busaba Eathai, and the place was packed. That was a good sign that the food was good. We ordered the grilled aubergine salad, prawn pad thai, monk fish curry, and chicken satay to share, and we left no plate unturned.
Because the place is so popular and the way the space was designed (informal seating), we found ourselves yelling in order to be able to hear each other. After filling our stomachs, we wanted to sit and chat for a bit more, but I think the waiter was trying to shoo us (a dinner line was forming outside, and getting longer by the minute). I think this only becomes an issue during peak hours like lunch and dinner, though.
However, despite all this, the food was excellent, and my friend and I both left the restaurant satisfied and pleased.
Love, love, love the food! Had a Pad Thai, Pandan chicken and a Jasmine smoothie. The food was delicious and the Jasmine smoothie was a dream! The staff are very helpful and friendly, service is quick and the decor is dark wooden tables surrounded by benches. Large lanterns and golden buddhas decorate the restaurant stylishly.
We popped in here at 11pm for a late apres-movie dinner. We were seated at once and told to order immediately as the kitchen was closing. No sooner had we sat down there was a waiter at our elbows asking for our order! The staff were very friendly, even though we had come in very late.
The tables are large and they squeeze you in where there’s space, but it still manages to retain a fairly intimate atmosphere. The decor is chic and modern, with small, golden buddahs lined around the ceiling shelf and large windows that allow you to watch the world go by.
When the food arrived (quickly) it was delicious, with rich flavours and fresh ingredients. I had the chicken and butternut squash stir-fry which had dried chillis and cashew nuts.
All round good place, suitable for any party from friends and family to a date, and reasonably priced too! I’d go again.
I can’t say anything about the food as we did not end up eating in there.
This place is a very nice location. It’s quite dark inside but it has a ncie atmosphere.
However it is really loud and there are shared tables. You have to queue to get in as well. Normally I wouldn’t mind if it’s not the most intimate place but as the table is very big and it was the six of us it was hardly possible to talk to my friends at the other end without shouting.
We ended up leaving the place. I might come back on another occasion to try the food. Nothing for bigger groups though!
This is a great place for an informal meal out, the table are communal and the atmosphere great. The food is Thai and absolutely delicious. The queue can be really big but it is worth joining it. The menu is massive and a lot of dishes are hugely appealing, you could eat here every night and not get fed up. I was in there once when a couple started having a bust up across the communal table, highly entertaining.
Nice room, a little tight packed.
Windows blacked out at the moment, I think for building work.
We ate there as a couple. My food was fine, but my girlfriend’s chicken was fatty and the coconut rice she ordered turned out to be sticky rice when it came. Staff were lovely about this and didn’t charge for the chicken.
On the plus side, she did have a lovely and interesting cup of tea. Sadly I can’t remember what it was called…
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