Review: A family lunch at Busaba Eathai, London

Review: Lunch with kids at Thai restaurant Busaba Eathai in Kingston, London

This weekend we celebrated LTF Nana’s birthday. We didn’t fancy cooking and thought it would be fun to test the very limits of human patience via the waiting staff at a riverside restaurant, so we made a last-minute booking at Busaba Eathai in Kingston. We had envisioned a leisurely stroll along the river to the restaurant, perhaps hand-in-hand with the little ones (or even each other!) joyfully tossing bits of bread to the ducks. After that would follow a peaceful, relaxing and educational experience whereby the kids sampled numerous Asian foods and thanked us for being such thoughtful and attentive parents with such broad cultural interests and the patience of actual real-life saints.

In a parallel universe somewhere, maybe that happened (but probably not. Kids defy even science). After a late one with guests the night before the kids were shattered and made it around, oh I don’t know, zero steps before their leg muscles caved in or their bones dissolved or whatever it was that stopped them being able to carry themselves along the flat path a few hundred metres.

Carrying multiple children whilst wearing layers of winter clothing is a super-great workout, as it happens. We eventually fell into the restaurant, which happened to be already packed- always a good sign, methinks!

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Cheers!
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On first impressions Busaba Eathai had thought hard about the decor and ambience and had done well in creating a pretty and glamorous take on the traditional Thai aesthetic*. The tables were well laid out and I always appreciate bench seating because a) it gives a nice communal feel to eating, b) the padding is usually comfy and c) it means we can put the three kids in the middle and an adult an each end for a kind of happy delicious restaurant-prison (until they disappear under the table, dangnabbit). We got the kids some juices which were waaay bigger than usual kids’ drinks and were totally fresh and in sweet little bottles.

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Juice game = strong

We ordered water for the table (it was looking a little dry; *bah-dum-dum-tsh!*) and some interesting beers. One was the classic Thai Chang, the other seemed to be Busaba’s own brew with a mucho funky label. Here’s a picture of it, cos it’s cute:

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Check out my first two attempts at this photo that were sabotaged by LTF Dad and Uncle. Busaba Eathai beer is apparently so good that they couldn’t wait 2 seconds for a sip!

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On to the food. We ordered the ‘fragrant chicken’ and ‘Pandang chicken’ for starters, as well as our own body weight in prawn crackers. If you are a prawn cracker fan (I’m not) you will be happy to hear that these are the real deal; hench, thick, prawn-y and super fresh. The chicken starters were both good, with delicate Thai flavours and decent portion sizes. Take a look for yourself:

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Fragrant Thai chicken
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Pandang chicken

It was at this point that our youngest daughter decided to disappear under the table and make the kind of grunting noises that send a chill into every nappy-changing parent who was looking forward to eating just one meal without having to deal with someone else’s bodily fluids. Urgh. Anyway, I can at least now assure everyone that the baby changing facilities at Busaba Eathai are great; they’ve even got a hip bamboo-style changing table to fit in with the decor. Boden Mums, get here stat.

Our mains happily arrived shortly after poo-gate, and they were awesome. Check it, y’all:

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Bangkok King Prawn stir-fry
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Tamarind grilled duck
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Pad Thai with chicken

It was all delicious, and the set menu comes with unlimited- I repeat, unlimited – sweet potato fries or rice. ‘Unlimited’ is obvs our favourite portion size, so we were all over that. The kids’ menu was excellent and we ordered three lots of satay chicken (“fancy some chicken lollipops, girls?”) with one each of rice, noodles and the sweet potato fries. They also got a really good colouring activity pack and junior chopsticks- be still, my beating heart. Is there anything cuter than watching a tot eat grains of rice one at a time with wooden tweezers? Obvs not.

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This baby’s all up in the sweet chilli sauce
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Trying a prawn cracker
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Prawn crackers? Nah fam.
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Limes to the rescue!
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There didn’t seem to be a dessert menu, which we were a bit gutted about as I would probs walk through fire for sticky rice and mango most days of my life. There was the option of ice cream for kids but our eldest had fallen asleep on the bench and waking her up to eat would have meant swallowing an entire side dish of Whinge-Laced Moaning, which I’m not a huge fan of. After our mains we settled the bill and headed home via one of the most hipster cafes I have ever seen (it was called ‘The department of coffee and social affairs’. For real). Thankfully our good credit meant we could take out a second mortgage to purchase a slice of red velvet cake, which was pretty darn amazing to be fair. Also apparently they send their staff to volunteer and give profits to charity and stuff so, fair play.

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I would definitely recommend Busaba Eathai as a great place to introduce kids to Thai food. We had three kids’ menus, three starters, five adult mains and a few beers and the bill came to around £120; not uber cheap but I would say good value and a lovely place to celebrate an occasion. And the kids’ verdict? I guess the pictures say it all!

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(Spot our eldest conked out next to Middle Miss!)
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(Disclaimer: Our visit to Busaba Eathai was not hosted, we booked and paid for our meal in full. All opinions, as ever, are our own.)

*We wrestle with the ethics of gentrifying food and other aspects of traditionally poorer cultures. This is something we are reflecting on as ethical travel is very important to us.

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<p>Travel journalists, home educating our lovely brood of 3 girls. Planning a year-long RTW trip late Summer 2017.</p>

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