Saturday, 12 August 2017

REVIEW: Busaba Eathai, St Albans

Review and recommendation of a Thai restaurant in St Albans - Busaba EathaiReview and recommendation of a Thai restaurant in St Albans - Busaba Eathai
Review and recommendation of a Thai restaurant in St Albans - Busaba Eathai

It feels like ages since I’ve done a food review, but that’s my fault – I’ve not been as active on the blogging front this year as I have been previously. There’s just been so much going on with the house and the wedding – not to mention working full time – that I haven’t had much brain space for it. But I like blogging, and I missed it, so here I am to talk about delicious Thai food.

I first visited Busaba Eathai in St Albans last year with my friend Fiona, to go to their opening. It was a great evening with some seriously good food and cocktails, and I resolved to come back soon... with Matt, who was most put out that he missed it. And Busaba must have heard his whinging, because they invited me back to try out the rest of their menu. I booked it in for the day after my birthday, and it was the perfect end to a foodie, boozy weekend.


I’ve only been to the St Albans Busaba so can' t comment on the London restaurants, but it’s a gorgeous building with beautiful, opulent d├ęcor. It feels like an expensive place, but actually they have some seriously good deals on offer. These differ from branch to branch, but in St Albans from 12-7pm, you can get two plates for £11.95 (a small plate, basically a starter, and a main) and a £19.95 set meal evening option which includes prawn crackers, a small plate, a main and unlimited rice or fries.

This time though, we ordered off the main menu rather than one of the deals. I went for the matchstick chicken to start – crispy, fried chicken wings that were dry and crispy outside and super moist on the inside. So good. I was quite tempted by the son-in-law eggs, because they sounded so darn intriguing – deep fried, soft boiled eggs with tamarind sauce. Right? But also, chicken wings. Who can say no?

Review and recommendation of a Thai restaurant in St Albans - Busaba Eathai
Review and recommendation of a Thai restaurant in St Albans - Busaba Eathai

Matt had the Thai fish cakes (I know, we've talked about him ordering dishes I don't like, it's unfair) and was a big fan. He said they were super flavourful, but light. He said often fish cakes can be a bit potatoey and heavy, and can be a bit much as a starter, but these were perfect.

For mains, we decided to order two things and share them, but then both got really territorial over our choices so only had a couple of spoonfuls of each other’s meal. I was so tempted by the curries – slow-cooked beef brisket red curry sounded incredible, as did pulled duck leg in massaman – but instead, I decided to go for something different and ordered from the chargrill menu. The Isaan style chicken isn’t spicy, but it’s so flavourful – served on crispy Thai roti (a little puff pastry-esque) in a sweet, sticky sauce along with spicy cucumber salad, jasmine rice and grilled lettuce. Grilled lettuce? Strangely delicious. Oooh, it was all so good – the chicken was so tender and smoky, and sweetness of the sauce oozed into the roti, so every mouthful burst with flavour. YUM, basically. Next time I’m getting the lamb rump roti instead though, because that sounds delicious.

Review and recommendation of a Thai restaurant in St Albans - Busaba Eathai
Review and recommendation of a Thai restaurant in St Albans - Busaba Eathai

Matt ordered the aforementioned duck massaman, because he’s a man of taste, and because I kept going ‘I can’t decide between the roti and the massaman!’ and I think he just ordered it to shut me up. I had a few mouthfuls and it was incredible – the duck was so well cooked, it just fell apart, and the result was a rich, unctuous taste explosion. Side note – isn’t the word unctuous great? It’s so evocative. I know, it looks terrible in photos, but trust me - UNCTUOUS.

We nabbed a side to share of Chinese broccoli, which was served with shiitake mushrooms in soy and garlic sauce, and was amazing. I bloody love broccoli and mushrooms, fun fact. I would have cheerfully had this to myself – or ordered more of the sides, as I love an exciting veggie dish. The Phad Phak sounds really interestering for next time (French bean, broccoli, courgette, baby corn and cashew nut) and I am intrigued to try their version of sweet potato fries, too.

Review and recommendation of a Thai restaurant in St Albans - Busaba Eathai

It was a pretty filling meal so we didn’t get desserts, although I was trying to decide if I had room for the lime cheesecake. But we did get a couple of exciting cocktails – I love that Busaba’s cocktail menu isn’t just the standard drinks we’ve all had a thousand times (okay, that I’VE had a thousand times), but they all have a Thai twist. I highly recommend the Thai martini, and Matt’s whiskey plum sour was darn good. They do nice soft drinks too – I had a guava Collins which was a fruity, limey, coconutty wonder that was super refreshing.

YUM. Such a good meal. If we were still living in St Albans, we’d basically be there every time – fancy opening a Tring branch, chaps?

Busaba Eathai is at 7-11 Verulam Rd, St Albans AL3 4DA. The restaurant kindly paid for our meal in exchange for this honest review.

Review and recommendation of a Thai restaurant in St Albans - Busaba Eathai
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1 comment

  1. So many nice restaurants have opened in St Albans since I moved away! x

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