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April 11th, 2013



Tom Yum Soup @ Busaba Eathai

Category: Bistro (££) red traffic2 150x150 BUSABA EATHAI (Chelsea)

I was never very keen on the Thai restaurant chain Busaba Eathai.  Several years ago, when the first Soho outpost had newly opened, I ate there a couple of times, and I never quite understood what made people queue in rain and cold for this in my opinion rather mediocre Thai food.  Time passed and with it the memory faded.

When I recently walked down King’s Road with my mum, who was visiting from Austria, and we fancied some spicy and warming Asian soup, Busaba Eathai seemed a good option.  (the only option actually, as King’s Road is not exactly a Mekka for South East Asian restaurants).  Retrospectively I thoroughly regret that I took my poor mother to this horrible place.  The food got substantially worse since my last visit and I think we may have fared better with EAT’s or Pret a Manger’s soup of the day…

We had two soups, the  Tom Kha Chicken (6.9) and a Tom Yam Talay (6.9).  The first impression was already a bad one – the soups were very small for a main course (and the price) and the liquid should have been doubled to provide a full meal.  I don’t think the broth would cost Busaba Eathai too much, so I don’t understand their stinginess on the liquid.

The Tom Yam Talay was like nothing I ever had in Thailand.  To start with it was not spicy at all, there were no herbs scattered on top (only a couple of leaves of the native Thai vegetable spinach, pretending to be a herb) and it was too sour and salty with not enough balance.  I didn’t pick up any kaffir lime leaves either.  Swimming in the soup were apart from vermicelli noodles, some dried up prawns and slivers of a remarkably tasteless  fish cake.

While the Tom Yam was not great but edible, the Tom Kha Chicken was a disaster.  The bland and overly coconutty and sweet broth contained roasted chicken covered in flaccid and fatty skin and rather disgusting thick glass noodles.  Also here fresh herbs were lacking, which I think is a scandal considering that you get coriander and even Thai basil at the Waitrose down the road.


Tom Kha @ Busaba Eathai

While I forced down some of my soup, I was dreaming of a big bowl of pho from Song Que, of some udon from Koya or even of ramen from Wagamama.  Busaba Eathai, you are indeed worse than Wagamama, congratulations!

  • Food: 3/10
  • Service: 6/10
  • Ambiance: 6/10
  • Value for Money: 4/10
  • Chances of Returning: 0%
  • Verdict: really crap Thai food
Busaba Eathai
358 King’s Rd,
London SW3 5UZ

minilink BUSABA EATHAI (Chelsea)

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