Thai restaurant chain Busaba Eathai, conceived by Alan Yau, now boasts ten restaurants across London and the South East.
Since the first restaurant opened in 1998, the brand has expanded throughout London and there is now a restaurant outside the capital, in Bicester Village shopping outlet in Oxfordshire.
The diverse but simple menu offers a fresh and authentic selection of delicious Thai salads, noodles, curries and stir-fries.
Over ten years since its inception, Busaba Eathai is renowned for its core cult following of loyal customers. The combination of its stylish interior, relaxed atmosphere and delicious food provide London with a youthful yet sophisticated dining venue which is increasing in popularity.
The architect on all the Busaba Eathai restaurants is David Archer Architects, a London based firm established in 2002. The firm work on projects for the commercial, leisure and private residential sectors including the Sans Souci Hotel in Vienna and Arouba restaurant in Bournemouth.
David Archer Architects have worked with various contractors on the ten restaurants, including Tekne and File Turn.
Director David Archer said:
“The interior has authentic design detailing, drawn directly from Thailand. The designs are drawn from traditional Thai buildings such as longhouses, using tropical architecture, Thai joinery details and rattan panels. The restaurants also often have operable facades onto the street.”
“The restaurant revolves around square sharing tables that seat 10, with surrounding benches and pendant lampshades giving a warm, ambient light. The interior is lined with timber and rattan. We have also used renewable hard woods and teak table tops – we rely on a large joinery element in creating the character and ambience of each restaurant.
“I think everybody working in the sector is alive to sustainability issues, as are we. In Bicester, we did heat reclaim from the hood in order to provide underfloor heating which perhaps went further than most.”
Given the number of sites and variety of buildings, the design of each restaurant is different but retains some of the same features to reflect the Busaba Eathai brand.
“According to the location, we adapt the design each time however we always use core spatial and seating concepts.
“The restaurant on Panton Street was a Grade II listed neo-Georgian building by Sir Albert Richard which was an interesting building to work with. We retained the existing facade of the building and used the large sash windows to open onto the street. Bicester Village gave us a nine metre high steel shed to work with, which was a complete contrast. We adapted the space to provide a characteristic tall, open longhouse.
“The budget has varied for each restaurant as they seat between 110 and 160 and are in a variety of buildings and locations. Although all the restaurants have gone into existing structures so we haven’t had any new build projects, but two of the restaurants are in the shopping centres at Westfield Stratford and Westfield Shepherds Bush which were new buildings. Increasingly we have looked at putting Busaba Eathai into new buildings.”
The different areas of London in which David Archer has worked on Busaba Eathai have provided variety in terms of community, location and clientele.
“The outside terrace and summer dining at Bicester were always considered and introduced where possible in the other restaurants. Going into Westfield we have moved into new structures, whereas Hoxton and Soho are already incredibly vibrant for eating and drinking – they are operating in areas that already have really high footfall.
“One of the difficulties of working in an intense retail environment is the speed with which the projects need to move and sometimes challenging access to the sites. In the Panton Street Grade II listed building, from an administrative and design point of view it meant more work, but from a practicality point of view it wasn’t more onerous than the other restaurants in newer buildings.
Speaking about the project generally, David Archer recognises that it is a long held and trusting relationship with the client which has made the project a success.
“The design has developed over the last ten years and the constraints on our time have changed – we spent a long time on the development of the initial site, but on some of the Busaba Eathai restaurants we have times when we have had two or three other projects on. Luckily as the main concept is adaptable we have been able to work successfully on these restaurants.
“We are currently working on a sister restaurant named Naamyaa which will expand the brand outside London. It is important to us to have been involved in the development and creation of a vibrant, attractive, imaginative business that’s active across London.
“Really what’s been good is that it’s been an ongoing relationship with the client for 10 years and it has been great to sustain.”
C&C Catering Equipment have worked alongside David Archer Architects in the installation of all of Busaba’s restaurant kitchens. Completed to very tight project timescales, with a very clear view of the quality demanded by the client, C&C have been able to adapt the kitchen installations to each of the restaurant’s unique architectural requirements.
Bridge Electrical Contractors Ltd
Established in 1972, Bridge Electrical Contractors ltd is a family run business which has expanded steadily over the last 40 years. With 14 employees they do varying amounts of refurbishment work for all the big name companies including refurbishments and new builds
Clifford Bancroft has been Managing Director at Bridge Electrical Contractors Ltd for seven years. He said:
“On Busaba Eathai we did all of the electrical installation. The units are a core shell fit out so it’s a blank canvas. Basically we carried out a full fit out to the clients design drawings, including the lighting system.
“We have done previous projects with Busaba namely the restaurants in Leicester Square and Bicester. We are now working on our fifth restaurant with Busaba Eathai and we have been nominated by them as the preferred contractor to do this work on their restaurants.
“We believe this repeat custom is down to our good honest work, good standard of finish and our ability to achieve client satisfaction.”
C & G Security Solutions
C & G Security Solutions specialise in integrated systems covering all security requirements and partners Rob Garbutt and Martin Cole have over 50 years experience between them.
Previous and current clients include The Royal family of Dubai, De La Rue, Canali, D & G and various London Hotels and restaurants including Hakkasan, Chrysan, Yauatcha, The Galvin Brothers (La Chappelle and Galvin bistro), KFG, Cha Cha Moon and Hix.
Rob Garbutt from C & G Security said:
“On Busaba Eathai we commissioned and installed the fire, intruder CCTV and access control systems.
“All new Busaba projects are important to us as each site and restaurant is different and the security systems are personally designed closely with the client and their wishes.
“We always provide the personal touch and work closely with architects, giving a reliable service to all our customers. We are firm believers that if the client is happy, then recommendation and new clients will follow. Much of our business is from repeat clients and through word of mouth, showing our excellent reputation in the industry.”
Pure CF specialise in the design, manufacture and installation of high quality contract tables, chairs, banquette seating, wall panels, cabinets, bars, headboards and mirrors for top leisure brands, restaurants, hotels, bars and clubs.
The business has grown over 29 years, from a single factory to having five operational sites for production, offices, meeting suites & showrooms.
Paul Gill, Managing Director at Pure CF said:
“As well as Busaba, we have worked with Gaucho, Bill’s, Jamie’s Italian, Google, Strada, Cafe Rouge, Bella Italia, Cote Restaurants, Wagamama, Nando’s, Marks & Spencer, Villandry, Hix Restaurant, Tramshed and many more.
“At Busaba we manufactured the bespoke tables and benches as well as all of the cabinets. We are always very proud to work with top restaurant groups & customers such as Busaba. We have worked hard to build a strong working relationship with them in order to understand their needs and to be able to provide the products, services and quality they expect.
“We pride ourselves on working closely with our customers and understanding their needs for support on a project. Our highly skilled cabinet makers and upholsterers work to deliver projects on time and to the design specification required. This approach has led to the continued growth of the company and successful partnerships with top leisure brands.”