Busaba Eathai was conceptualized and created by Alan Yau in 1999 in Soho, London. This contemporary Thai eatery entered the Dubai foodie scene about two years ago, and is the only Thai restaurant on The Beach, JBR.
The name ‘Busaba‘ was inspired by a flower in Thailand (and is also a very popular girls’ name!), while the word ‘Eathai‘ is a fusion of the words eat and Thai. We went to ‘Eathai‘ at Busaba last week post the unprecedented UAE rains, and had the most memorable lunch.
Busaba Eathai faces the beach, and has patio dining available. We chose to shy away from the bright afternoon sunshine, and dined indoors. The interiors are accentuated with deep, dark wood. The paneled ceilings and wooden bench seating looks very Thai, and a hint of the brand’s orange logo is seen in the lantern-like lighting. The simple yet sophisticated interiors are comfortingly relaxed and informal, and the welcoming faces of the staff made us feel right at home.
Being a rather warm and sunny afternoon, we started off our Busaba Eathai experience with their very refreshing, Thai-infused mocktails.
On the left is Busaba Eathai’s Horapho Mojito, a tangy-sweet blend of fresh lime, apple and ginger accentuated with the exotic Thai flavor of basil.
The drink on the right is Busaba Eathai’s Vanduke. I have never had something quite like this. It has a beautifully refreshing citrus base of exotic calamansi and orange, a hint of lychee juice is also thrown in, but the real body of the drink lies in the addition of sweetened coconut cream. The decadently thick, creamy cream comes up in anticipated lumps as I sipped through my straw. I think I’ve just discovered a better version of pina colada!
For our starters round, we had to try Busaba Eathai’s much talked about Thai Calamari. This is a dish of lightly battered and fried calamari laced with the subtle heat of green peppercorn and ginger. This is yet another Thai flavor combination I have not come across before, and absolutely loved it!
The other starter on our table was Busaba Eathai’s Goong Tohd. This is a platter of crisp, deep-fried breaded prawns accompanied with a very delectable chili lime sauce. I absolutely loved this fiery sour sauce, and requested our server to keep it on our table well after the prawns were gone! The sauce is a burst of flavors, ranging from chili hot to lime sour, and balanced with the sweetness of sugar. I was so tempted to pick up this little bowl and have it as a drink!
As both the above starters were rather rich and deep-fried, we were suggested to add a salad to our order. We usually order Som Tam (Thai green papaya salad) whenever we are eating Thai, but this time round, we were recommended Busaba Eathai’s Yam Sam Tom.
This is a very healthy, refreshing toss up of blood orange, pomelo, shredded coconut, roasted peanuts, dried shrimp, shallot, fresh coriander, and a hint of finely sliced red chili. It really was the perfect accompaniment to the deep-fried dishes, and I would highly recommend you try it out for yourself. Chances are you might have a new Thai salad favorite over the much-loved green papaya!
While we were digging into our starters, I couldn’t help admiring Busaba Eathai’s cutlery. Their spoons, knives and forks look so rustic, feel rather heavy to hold, and have a stunning gunmetal finish. The staff tell us these have been specially designed and manufactured in Thailand for Busaba, and is apparently the most stolen items in their London branch!
Busaba Eathai is a child-friendly space, and as a mummy I was very happy to see my little daughter keeping herself preoccupied with their complimentary set of colour pencils.
For our round of mains, we were told Busaba Eathai’s specialty is their Mussaman Duck Curry. The staff tell us a total of 22 different spices go into creating this curry, and the complexity of the dish is evident in the aromas that hit our nostrils as soon as the dish was served on our table.
This bowl has a very generous serving of soft, succulent duck meat. The curry itself has a deep, dark brownish colour and is rather thick and creamy. It goes beautifully well with the Thai Jasmine Rice served on the side.
Our other main dish was Busaba Eathai’s Ginger Beef, a flavorful toss-up of perfectly cooked beef strips, Thai green pepper, chili and spring onion.
By far, my favorite main dish at Busaba Eathai was their Pad Thai. They use the thinner, shoe-string style rice noodles here, which in my opinion helps the noodles take on the marinated flavors better. I asked for mine to be extra spicy, and could taste the characteristic flavor of roasted chili flakes through the dish. However, I still had to add more Sriracha sauce to increase the heat!
Busaba Eathai’s Pad Thai is topped with crab meat, and served with slices of sweet Thai green mango.
For our dessert round, we had Busaba Eathai’s Thai Ruby, the classic Thai dessert consisting of water chestnut rubies and slivers of jackfruit served in a sweetened coconut base, and topped with shaved ice.
The other dessert on our table was Busaba Eathai’s Lemongrass Sorbet. This sorbet was a light, refreshing ending to a very hearty meal, and I loved the hint of exotic lemongrass running through it. A topping of ground, salted peanuts adds a crunchy dimension to each spoonful.
The portion sizes at Busaba Eathai are generously large, and encourage casual, communal eating. Busaba Eathai really satiated our craving for authentic Thai grub, and we took solace in warm, soothing sips of lemongrass-laced tea to end this epic meal.
Busaba Eathai currently has only one outlet in Dubai, and plans to open more in the near future. Do look them up on The Beach, JBR. Call 04 4281421 for table reservations. Here’s hoping you enjoy their dishes as much as I did!