Saturday 16 January 2016

Busaba Eathai opens in Manchester

I went to see the Book of Mormon back in August (if you haven't seen it yet get it on your to-do list!), and afterwards James and I needed food. We happened to stumble across Busaba Eathai in Leicester Square - with bi-fold style doors spilling out onto the pavement, our open window seat was perfect and the food was delicious...

I had no idea it was a chain until they got in touch and asked if I wanted to come to the preview of the Manchester restaurant launch, and naturally I was all over it.

I've spoken before about my favourite Thai dishes so I was looking forward to checking Busaba out again, as well as enjoying a good cocktail or two.

We kicked off with a Thai taste session with Busaba's executive chef, Jude Sangsida. He talked us through the three dominant flavours found in Thai food (sweet, salty and spicy), offering round various sauces and things to dip in so we could choose our favourite. Mine was spicy, quelle surprise. He also made us Som Tam salad - an amazingly light, zingy papaya salad sprinkled with nuts and chilli.

It was then onto cocktails. Before we had our cocktail masterclass, we had a round of drinks to limber up - I went for the Thai Martini and my god it was amazing:

Gin, basil, lemongrass & elderflower served in a basil-sugar rimmed glass.

Then it was our turn to mix the drinks - we each made a Coconut Collins (described to us as a more mature pina colada).  Jamaican coconut rum, crushed ginger and lemongrass, pineapple juice and lime juice, ice.

Ho ho ho and a bottle of rum...

Delicious, but I definitely preferred the Martini.

Now on to foooooood. Naturally, I went for my faves - chicken satay starter and pad thai for the main. James went for calamari followed by, hands down, one of the best red Thai curries I've ever had (the Songkhla red curry). Maybe even the best. The beef was so tender and soft, falling apart in your mouth it had been cooked that long, and mixed with a creamy, spicy sauce and coconut rice, it was safe to say I had food envy. The calamari was great and had a popcorny taste to it (which sounds odd, I know, but just worked). I'm annoyed because I didn't take a picture of the red beef curry!! But take my word, it was the absolute dogs b.

The satay didn't disappoint; the sauce was spicy and rich, and I loved the way the chicken was cooked, barbecued with a definite smoky taste.

My classic pad thai (first picture) was everything I could've asked for; rice noodles, chicken, tofu, peanuts, dried shrimp, egg, beansprout and lime. Great portion size too.

We didn't notice at the time, but both our mains were gluten free which is handy to note for all you GF's.

After *another* Thai Martini (that sugared basil rim though) and chatting to some lovely, likeminded (read, tipsy) people, we headed home. But we'll be back! It's an absolute winner in my eyes.

Busaba Eathai is open from Monday 18th January and can be found in the Printworks. 


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