The tastiest Thai food at Busaba

Enjoying Thai food at Busaba

Today’s rainy summer day started with an amble down Oxford Street. The street of myriad shops, frenzied tourists getting in their retail therapy and streams of London buses slowly making their way. I love a bit of time in Oxford Street, but a word of advice – go in the morning – by afternoon it can get unpleasantly packed.

On one of my first meanders down Oxford Street I was surprised that I couldn’t find one of those famous London pubs I’d read so much about. I was too nervous to go off the main drag in case of getting lost! In fact there is one pub on the street which is right near Tottenham Court Road tube station. It used to be called The Tottenham but has recently been renamed The Flying Horse. Not sure why. But of course if you step down any of the side streets off this great London thoroughfare there’s no shortage of pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants to enjoy.

And as London’s restaurant scene gives you the opportunity to enjoy the whole world’s cuisine, just a hop and a skip off Oxford Street is Busaba where you can tuck into the flavours of modern Bangkok. It’s a beautiful, contemporary space with large tables and benches for convivial sharing. We tucked into some tasty, crunchy prawn crackers served with sweet chilli sauce while we pondered the comprehensive menu.

Busaba: prawn crackers

A bowl of crunchy crackers with a sweet and spicy sauce

What’s on the menu

There are several sections to consider – snacks, small plates, stir fry, wok noodle, curry, chargrill, soup and salad – and everything sounded delicious. A hard place to make choices but it had to be done.

We started with the Pandan chicken – tender, fried chicken pieces wrapped in pandan leaves and served with dark soya and sesame dipping sauce. It’s amazing just how tender and flavoursome this chicken was – and I do love the pandan leaf idea, it’s like unwrapping a gift. A very tasty one, too.

Busaba: pandan chicken

Delightful little chicken parcels

Busaba: inside chicken pandas

The luscious parcel contents

A different take on prawn tempura – where the prawns are tossed in Thai-seasoned mayo and topped with chopped mango and chilli. A wonderful combo of textures and flavours with quite a serious chilli bite.

Busaba: prawn tempura

Crunchy prawn tempura and creamy Thai mayo

From the stir-fry section we chose the ginger beef. Strips of bavette in garlic and ginger sauce with mushroom, Thai pepper, fresh chilli and spring onion. The beef was lovely and tender and the sauce packed plenty of gingery flavours.

Busaba: ginger beef

Tender beef in a zingy ginger sauce

I do love a Thai curry. Today’s was one with a difference – red mullet, pineapple and betal leaf -with the fillets poached in the light red coconut milk curry. Mullet is so sweet and tender and goes perfectly with this creamy sauce.

Busaba: Red mullet curry

Double reds: mullet and curry

Busaba: red mullet curry

Sweet fillets of mullet atop egg fried rice

We enjoyed our mains with a fluffy portion of egg fried rice.

Busaba: egg fried rice

Perfect fluffy egg-fried rice

As a regular consumer of Thai food I was happy to discover that the menu offered some interestingly different dishes. And there’s a vast selection of Asian beers and Thai spirits – perfect for cocktails. I didn’t get round to any cocktail sampling this time around, think I’ll have to go back for a refreshing guava bellini or how about an Asian mojito with kaffir lime leaves? Yes please.

To finish off, here’s a shot of the stylish room through our delicious wine. Why not?

Crackers and wine to get started…just perfect

 

Today’s price point

Our two courses cost £38 without drinks or service.

Wine starts from £17 a bottle.

Cocktails are £7.50 and there’s a wide range of fresh juices starting from £2.50.

Busaba is at 52-53 Eastcastle Street W1, just off Oxford Street. Oxford Circus tube station is a few minutes walk.

There are twelve branches across London, so there’s bound to be one near you.

Up on the roof at Vintage Salt

Today I’m on the roof of Selfridges, that stylish store in the middle of Oxford Street. Vintage Salt is a new addition to this summer’s alfresco offerings, the London outdoor lifestyle continues to grow and I’m loving it. And this is the perfect place to refuel mid-shopping, a peaceful haven high above the hubub of London’s busiest shopping street..

The decor is kind of seaside village with plenty of whitewashed wood and blue trims. The menu offers a good range of seasonal dishes and the service is warm, friendly and efficient. And the food is lovely.

Vintage+Salt

Get away from it all on the roof at Selfridges

My shrimp burger was plump and flavoursome with good chunks of shrimp, a crispy crumb and a lovely spicy tartare sauce on the side.

shrimp burger

The tastiest of shrimp burgers and a spicy tartare sauce

The fish and chips was a substantial portion and came with more tartare sauce and mushy peas. One of the nicest pieces of fish I’ve had in a long time, it was sweet and moist inside with the most perfect of light and crispy batters. Now this is what fish and chips is supposed to taste like.

fishandchips

It’s hard to beat perfect fish and chips

Here’s a good view of the roof terrace, looking very welcoming.

Vintage-Salt-interior

Vintage Salt up on the roof of Selfridges

Vintage Salt is on the Roof at Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, W1.

The taste of Naples…up on the roof

So it’s summertime in London – not that it feels much like it, let’s just say I’m not exactly sashaying around in my flip flops yet. But you have to make an effort to get into the spirit of it (#FindYourSummer) and for me that means plenty of alfresco eating (and drinking).

Today, then, we’re up on the roof of iconic British department store, John Lewis, in the heart of London’s busy shopping district – Oxford Street. The Summer Retreat is a surprising haven on high, featuring over 1,000 plants, shrubs, trees and grasses, colourful lanterns and bright blue tables to welcome you, as well as expansive views, of course.

And there’s some lovely Italian food to be had from the Rossopomodoro restaurant family. RossoTerrazza brings the street food of Naples to the rooftops of London – now that has a nice ring to it, doesn’t  it?

It’s a simple menu divided into four sections: Pizza paninis, pizza wraps, pasta salads and mozzarella skewers. You order at the counter and take your food out to enjoy in the sunshine (hopefully). It’s wonderfully peaceful up here, you can’t believe you’re in the middle of the chaos that is Oxford Street packed with its hordes of shoppers

The Zingara Pizza Panini was filled with Mozzarella, Parma ham, tomatoes, lettuce and mayonnaise. The thinnest of crispy bread with fresh, tasty ingredients inside.

pizza bread

Up close to the delicious pizza panini

We also ordered the Salmone pizza wrap (smoked salmon, buffalo ricotta, sundried tomatoes, rocket) which was fishy and creamy with a peppery rocket bite. And the pasta salad (orecchiette pasta with ham, green peas, Emmental cheese, leek and rocket), a deliciously sweet and delicate dish that I’m going to have to try to reproduce at home!

lunch

Our Neopolitan street food feast taken from above

pasta salad

Cute ear-shaped pasta tossed in tasty pea sauce

wrap

The creamy salmon and ricotta wrap

orders

The interior has a real feel of summer

For dessert there are daily choices and (hooray) there’s also gelato on offer. We tucked into this traditional Italian chocolate cake (called a caprese – yes, the same name as the classic salad) and a generous bowl of pistacchio gelato.

caprese

Chocolate cake from Naples is delicious

roof top

Here’s a view of the colourful terrace

Rosso Terrazza is on the Roof Terrace at John Lewis, 300 Oxford Street, London W1. It’s open until the end of August. It’s open from 12pm until the shop closes on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays to Sundays and from 12pm to 4pm on Wednesdays. It’s part of the John Lewis Summer Retreat, so if you’re shopping in Oxford Street take a break away from the hustle and bustle…up on the roof.