A Thai Christmas at Busaba Eathai

As a full-blown foodie, the one question that I’m surprisingly quite wary of being asked is about my favourite restaurant.

How do I even begin to break it down? By cuisine? By city? By location within the city? By category – fine dining versus cheap and cheerful? And then there are new favourites versus the reliable classics.

There’s a lot to value in the old classics actually, the ones that have been tried and tested several times over and never fail to deliver a consistently good meal. For me, this includes trendy high-street chains like Busaba Eathai, which I’ve counted among my favourites for Thai eats in London ever since my first visit close to ten years ago, while I was still at school.


It could very well be a Bombay thing as come summer (#IndianSeasoninLondon), I’m as likely to find my childhood friends sitting across the large, teak communal table from me, as I am my childhood hero, Sachin Tendulkar (#truestory).

Yep, Indians seriously love Busaba.

And whenever my cousin-brother, Abhijit, visits London, we always make it a point to lunch at the large outpost off Oxford Street. Although we shook things up on his most recent trip, forgoing the usual suspects to test-drive Busaba’s Christmas specials instead..

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The festive feeling definitely called for some seasonal beverages, with a Thai-infused twist on mulled wine among the drinks on offer.

We opted for the even fruitier Christmas Spritz – a mix of white wine, elderflower cordial, grapefruit and ginseng liqueurs topped with ginger beer. Refreshingly light, and not unlike what I’d imagine a Thai wine-based mimosa to taste like.

And to start, a Northern Thai Laksa for my cuz – a well flavoured but strong chicken and coconut-based soup with rice noodles and a Thai red curry paste. It hit a warming spot on that exceptionally windy and rainy afternoon. While I indulged in the gloriously deep-fried Por pia jay – vegetable spring rolls dipped in a mild sweet chilli sauce.

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We couldn’t resist a side of sweet potato fries either, more fried goodness seasoned with Thai spices and served with quite a spicy dip on the side.

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For mains, a coconut and vegetable hot pot felt like a hug in a bowl for me – tender vegetables (red and yellow chard, butternut squash and chow chow) served in a milky, slightly sweet coconut-based pool. It paired very well with the fragrant jasmine rice served on the side; but I should caution that this is definitely one of the milder dishes on the menu… and so is likely not for you if you’d like your food to be more boldly flavoured or venture on a more fiery side.

While Abhay – one of my more discerning foodie friends – ordered the venison stir-fry, finding much to be jolly about with this well-cooked, succulent dish flavoured with black pepper and garlic in a moreish oyster sauce.

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In typical Bombay fashion, our group had slowly expanded through the afternoon as other friends visiting town this week, dropped in to say hello – Busaba’s laid back and casual ambience making it the perfect spot to hide out from the rain over beer and cocktails as we caught up. As always, we had an incredibly lovely time.


Busaba Eathai, 8-13 Bird Street, Marble Arch, London W1U 1BU

Busaba Eathai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I was invited to review Busaba’s Christmas specials, but hog full credit for my opinions.

Author: The Foodie Diaries

A food travel & lifestyle journal, chronicling my culinary and other adventures around town.

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