319 Old Street
Tel: 020 7729 0808
I’ve been a fan of Busaba Eathai for a couple of years and have watched the small chain grow in popularity and strength. It seemed only a matter of time before they expanded their stake in London’s trendier outposts and set up shop in Shoreditch. Situated just off the high street it is a perfect bubble of calm and tranquillity.
As we entered a pool with floating flowers greeted us. The dark wood interior with their trademark Buddha and incense sticks whispering in the background created the sort of calming effect that Shoreditch can do with late on a Sunday morning.
The reason for my return visit was to checkout the new brunch menu. What genius thought of this? It’s being rolled out in a few branches and if it takes off then will appear in most. I’d come with the family, as they all liked the food before and were keen to try it.
If you’re not too hungry there is a light bites section that was made for both M and A. The yam polamai fruit salad with its watermelon, green mango, pineapple, grapes and strawberries with a touch of dried chillies and yoghurt really hit the spot. Not very hot at all, A loved the combination and M’s mature pallet made light work of all that was before her.
X was in a hot food mood and characteristically sought out heat with fisherman’s spiced rice. A kind of kedgeree of seasoned jasmine rice, wok-fried smoked mackerel and finished with a soft-boiled egg. It was hot and went down well with his Thai hash. The spiced potato hash that came with spring onion, galangal, and plenty of red chilli was not for the faint hearted turned out to be one of my favourites.
The mood on a Sunday morning is very chilled and relaxed. The perfect meeting place for friends to catch up about the night before or start afresh. They have a Cava deal if you feel up to it offering a light bite, a brunch plate and as much Prosecco as you can manage in two hours all for £25. Not a bad way to start a Sunday.
The winner for me was baked eggs with spicy minced beef. A seductive (if you like your food hot) combination of very spiced minced beef, chilli, garlic, mushroom and cherry tomato topped with three eggs and served on delicious chargrilled bread. This was a Howitzer of a dish. Not only blowing my sock off (in a good way) but also tasted fantastic. Perfect for blowing away those Sunday morning cobwebs.
The service as with all branches of Busaba Eathai is sublimely perfect. Suchada who looked after us seemed to know exactly what we wanted before we did. Taking care to advise if some dishes might not be suitable for a 9 year old and pointing out some of the sweeter drinks. The pomegranate and elderflower presse was a great alternative to orange juice and the jasmine smoothie, a sly mix of passion fruit, banana, orange, natural yoghurt and jasmine was X’s winner of the meal (I think he had at least two).
Succumbing to the inevitability of success for an outstanding chain like Busaba Eathai may seem a natural progression but I think they thought long and hard about this bold move into the brunch market. You can be healthy and feast on fruit and pure juices if you like or like me (and most of my brood) take the plunge and jump in the deep end of the chilli pool and live to swim another day. Bravo Busaba Eathai for going for it with such aplomb …and that special Prosecco offer for the more reckless amongst us.