busaba eathai
Since coming back from Thailand, I feel like I have lost my left arm. Or left stomach. Or my right stomach.

No food cuts it like Thai food. Thankfully, Busaba Eathai exists. And so does their new Kinnaree Bar.

Pushing through a painful two weeks since our last Thai meal, The Manfriend and I hightailed our empty stomachs to Busaba’s flagship restaurant in Shoreditch for an evening of spicy indulgence.

Sitting down at one of their traditionally communal tables, we ended up ordering so much food that the seats either side of us were sacrificed as plate space.

After taking a few sips of our respective martinis (mine – the Lychee and kaffir lime martini, jasmine and kaffir lime infused vodka with lychee and lemon – was a sour yet floral delight), our dishes arrive like a hurricane.

Forgoing solo dishes for a spread to share, we kicked things off with fish cakes (with cucumber and peanut relish) and chicken satay with peanut sauce before meandering over to the larger plates: Sen Chan Pad Thai (rice noodle, king prawn, peanut, egg, green mango, and crabmeat), chilli prawn fried rice ( with shiitake mushroom, lime, and pickled morning glory), and Songkhla red curry

The latter – a dish which I had never tried before – was actually the surprise highlight; an aromatic concoction of slow-cooked beef, cherry tomato, banana pepper, and a perfect blend of sweet/salty/sour. My ultimate recommendation.

We did go down the spicy rote – especially with the addition of my beloved som tam (green papaya salad with dried shrimp, peanut, cherry tomato, and lime) – but I am pleased to report a plethora of happy faces from the sea of ‘no spice!’ customers seated around us.

In Thailand, they wouldn’t be so lucky.

Amazingly, we managed to eat ourselves silly and drink ourselves to almost believe we could clear our plates for less than £100, all in. It may not match up to home country pricing, but Busaba is the cheapest, freshest, and tastiest feast you’re going to find West of Thailand.

busaba eathai
busaba eathai
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mango tree london
Despite being on ‘The List’ for over three years, my first visit to London’s well-renowned Thai favourite Mango Tree only took place last week. Boy, have I been missing out.

Not since living in Bangkok have I had such a pleasing array of authentic Thai dishes. A stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, nonetheless. My aesthetic eye quickly realised that Feng-Shui ruled the design process for Mango Tree, resulting in a timeless, beautifully lit and carefully-considered hideaway to dine for any occasion (or, in my case, non-occasion).

With incredible service from the first Sawadee ka (a pre-meditated nod to Thai traditions), the meal was a string of exemplary flavour and care. Flipping through the gargantuan menu over a Love Ocean (ketel one vodka, lavande syrup, passion fruit syrup, fresh lychee and dragon fruit, lychee juice, and fresh passion fruit juice) and a Thai Martini (wyborowa vodka, gabriel boudier lychee liqueur, fresh lemon grass, thai red chili, lychee fruit, and sugar syrup), an extensive and creative vegetarian menu almost pulled me out of my meat-eating ways…

…until I spotted Poonim yum mamuang. The starter – a tempura of soft shell crab with and sweet chilli sauce – is one of simplistic glory if executed in the right way. Thankfully, Mango Tree’s version was lightly battered perfection and the perfect introduction to the meal. Alongside a starter of Moo nam tok (a spicy north-eastern thai-style salad with sliced grilled pork mixed with dried chilli, shallots, mint leaves and a spicy lime sauce), my tongue was officially alight.

For mains, both my dining partner and I had the desire to see where their ‘traditional’ dishes would stand against experience. First choosing a first rate super-seasoned Ka pow gai (a spicy dish with stir-fried corn-fed chicken fillets, fresh chilli, garlic and holy basil leaves), we then opted for Pad thai goong yai. Unlike the bastardized versions of ‘Pad Thai’ that litter the Great British High Street, these thai rice noodles had been stir-fried with corn-fed chicken, chinese chives, peanuts, bean curd and beansprouts in a special homemade sauce, and were served topped with an egg net. Far too much food for me to handle, but far too great a taste for me not to attempt a plate-cleaning.

Having been defeated halfway through the Goong Yai, we had to take a short recovery break before giving in to the dessert menu. As I have mentioned in previous reviews, Asian desserts are not my thing. For this fact, it seemed to be fate that the only two things that could get me to order an Asian dessert were on the menu: Kow niew mamuang and Sang ka ya mamuang.

Sang ka ya mamuang – a mango creme brulee with pistachio biscotti – was delightful for the one or two bites I trialled but, in all honesty, my full focus was on Kow niew mamuang. Mango sticky rice means to me what Vita Coco (ahem, apparently) means to Rihanna. Mango Tree’s version, blended with honey and served with coconut milk and dry ice, was the most decadent I have ever tasted.

You know a restaurant has won you over when you start waxing lyrical about fruit and rice.

mango tree london
mango tree london
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