Family Friendly Restaurants

Toddling in Busaba Eathai

Young Londonist team go to sample some Busaba goodness and enjoy the food, the ambiance and the experience.

“Let’s do Busaba!” we excitedly announced (after hearing one of our foursome had not tried the squid) and so we decided to have a lunch date at this Thai/Asian fusion Restaurant.

So we set off to meet our friends (four ladies, two toddlers and two babies) at Stratford Busaba – we figured there were other activities close by for the kids to enjoy after their meal like the Discover Story Centre, Zapspace or the Olympic Park Tumbling Bay Playground. Plus we could try and get some shopping in.

The squid at Busaba is hands down tastiest I have ever tasted. So I was excited. I was also looking forward to introducing little bean to his first Thai experience (sure he had tasted Pad Thai before and even some home made red curry but this was going to be a new level of culinary delight.)

Upon entering the restaurant we are greeted with sweet smelling incense and a dark burnt orange red decor which completely transports us from the hustle and bustle of Stratford International Station and Westfield shopping centre into a calm oasis. There are even floating candles to complete the serene scene.

After prams are parked in the designated area and children adjusted in their high chairs we check the menu and decide pretty early on that it’s a day for wine. This coincides with the toddlers’ own decision to get out of the high chairs and amble around, exploring their surroundings – something the staff don’t bemoan even when my son begins creating a saliva glass painting (by licking the windows and smudging it in with his hands) – a true artist in the making!

We order (perhaps over order) as we are expecting the children to eat too. Busaba do a lunch time deal where for £10 you can get a rice bowl that is perfect for one person and if you want to add a side for £3 you can lunch for under £15. I have gone for the Chilli Beef with Jasmine Rice and because I am expecting it to be spicy, I have also ordered some Pad Thai for the little one (he likes noodles).

Busaba Feast

They also do a children’s menu where for £6.50 little ones can choose a snack, main and a drink. But my son is still too young to eat that much and I am sure he will enjoy tasting some of the food I have ordered.

What I have learnt in my two years of parenting is that often the reality is so different to the expectation. Today I was expecting my son to fizzle with excitement at the new flavours on offer – to try the peanuts from the pad thai or a sliver of papaya salad and dip the Thai prawn crackers in the sweet chilli sauce but the reality is that he is not interested. He pokes at some of the food with an expression of confused disgust and then asks for the banana I have packed in his bag. So that’s that.

Half an eaten banana later and he is once more ready to get out of the high chair and explore. So with half a rice bowl still uneaten I find myself supervising my toddling brood as he climbs the stairs with Everestian enthusiasm, only turning back to make sure his younger toddler friend is following suit “come, baby! Come!” he shouts encouragement as me and the other mummy watch from the bottom of the stairs bemused (and kind of proud).

Upstairs in the Stratford Busaba branch there is a private dining room (this we found out because our two active tots were running around making the place their own private playground). Up and down corridors, hand prints on the windows, closing and opening doors in the toilets – that’s the vibe. The staff don’t seem to mind, and as it is a week-day the business that is having a meeting in the private dining room soon break for lunch (or an early escape). Either way the boys enjoy themselves.

After another twenty minutes of toddlers getting involved and experimenting with anything and everything they encounter the babies begin to fuss so we pack up leftovers in doggie bags and off we all go. Time to let those active tots burn some energy in the local park.

The food at Busaba was pretty good and my favourite dish still remains the squid. It is divine and I recommend you get some in your life pronto! With our bellies full we depart with a promise to return very soon (perhaps childfree so we can sit down whilst eating.)

The Busaba Eathai mentioned is located in Stratford Westfield at Chestnut Plaza, London E20 1GL

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