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The Times Food and Nightlife Awards 2012 Winner
The Times Food and Nightlife Awards 2012 Winner

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Critic´s Review

  • Food: 3.5 / 5
  • Service: 3.5 / 5
  • Decor: 3.5 / 5

-By Rashmi Uday Singh

Affordable and approachable, both Busabas have an exuberance and earnestness that has given it, its well-deserved popularity. The best of Asian flavours from Burma, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam can be relished in both Busabas. The loft-like space across Blue Frog in Lower Parel is much bigger than Colaba’s Busaba. It has soaring ceilings and exposed ducts, steel grey walls and red highlights. Though it could do with brighter lights, it is already drawing regulars. And with a tagline like “Eat. Drink. Chill“ you immediately get into the mood Busaba is trying to get you into. Meanwhile the eleven-year-old tiny, wooden-floored, contemporary and pleasant (with a glassed-in terrace) Colaba Busaba continues to hold its own. It is housed in a bungalow (behind the Taj and just next to Indigo). Some old favourites include plump Tibetan momos with homestyle chilli sauces, the unbeatable Burmese Khauswe (best in the city!) and the unerringly Steamed Fish with Lemon and Garlic. Succulent Korean Bulgogi, Subtle Steamed Prawns spiked with lemon grass and rock salt and Vietnamese Sizzling Fish with coconut milk and tamarind are a diner’s delight. Do order the Steamed Baramundi (with wine, soy and ginger); Popcorn Shrimp; Aubergine Carpaccio; Button Mushrooms; Stir-fried Duck Cointreau Souffle. Plenty of options for veggies too, and the oozing Callebaut Chocolate Fondant are extremely good. Their corporate lunches with different options on different days of the week are quite popular too. Eat. Drink. Chill.

PS: Set meals for lunch Mon–Fri (`600, inclusive of all taxes) come with a choice of appetizer, salad, main course and dessert along with a Kingfisher beer. Sunday Brunch: `1,700 (only food) and `2,185 (with alcohol). Dinner is only à la carte. From Monday to Friday, they have happy hours 6.30pm to 8.30pm with only domestic alcohol in the lounge.

Critic Review

Nightlife Review

Buzz: 4/5 | Décor: 3.5/5

-By Rashmi Uday Singh

Go to investment-banker-turned-restaurateur Nikhil Chib’s Busabas for a cosy drink in a cosy space. The tiny bungalow tucked behind the Taj (and just next to Indigo) continues to draw regulars. Push open the glass door and walk into a wooden-floored waiting area, a handsome lounge area alive with house and lounge music. Famous cocktails include Aja (Absolut Citron, Lemon Grass and Fresh Pineapple Juice) and Good Morning Vietnam (Absolut Citron, fresh cucumber juice, mint leaves and lime juice). The larger twin-levelled Parel Busaba is slowly catching up. Knock back their famous Caipiroska.

HAPPY HOURS: 6.30pm to 8.30pm

  • Food: 5 5
  • Service: 4.5
  • Decor: 4.5

Review posted within last 6 month

This place is the best to have Pan - Asian food. Great ambience, great decor and great furnishings...this place for relishing Mexican and continental food. This place provides most varied assortment of food at the most affordable prices. Great ambience, great decor and great furnishings !! Best cuisine, best locations and best possible deals at the most attractive terms

Favorite Dishes / Drinks: Pan Asian Burmese

  • Food: 3.5 5
  • Service: 1
  • Decor: 3

Review posted more than 6 month ago

Tuck into some delectable South East Asian fare

There’s a reason why Busaba, run by Chef Nikhil Chib is one of the most popular restaurants in the city, and you will understand exactly why only when you eat there. I’ve been longing to go for the Busa Unlimited lunch comprising of a different set menu from Monday to Friday at a great price of Rs 600, inclusive of all taxes. Except for Wednesday (best) and Thursday (second best), the menu for the remainder days seem boring/unexciting. The main reason why I opted going on a Wednesday is because of their Khow Suey, spelled as Kaukswe on their menu. Also, Busaba enjoys a reputation for making one of the best Khow Suey in the city.

My best friend and me went on a Wednesday afternoon and found it fishy that the restaurant was absolutely empty. The bar on the ground floor looked welcoming, sadly, not a soul was present. While being ushered to the dining area upstairs, I couldn’t help admiring the beautiful huge glass chandelier above, walking on the red carpeted stairs. The dining area had an air of serenity (because it was empty, I believe) having neatly arranged tables, with folded napkins, etc.

The two of us asked to be seated on a table closer to the glass window because of incoming natural light that brightened the table. Also, because I wanted to take pictures of the food. However, the manager didn’t allow us to sit on the four-seater table near the window (So what if it was a four-seater table? The place was empty except for the two of us!) and instead, he insisted we sit on a dimly-lit two-seater table in the corner. His reason being, they were anticipating customers. We arrived there at 1 pm and wrapped up by 3.30 pm. During this entire time, only two more customers came in at around 2 pm. So much for expecting a stampede of customers.

The set lunch did not include any beverages, so we ordered mocktails from their a la carte menu. My friend wanted something light and refreshing, so I suggested the Black Passion (Rs 175), made with grape juice, cranberry, lime and passion fruit syrup. And I wanted something thick and filling to keep me going throughout the afternoon, so I ordered the Hawaiin Twist (Rs 175) made with banana pineapple juice and coconut milk, instead of the good ol’ boring Pinacolada. The Black Passion was light, refreshing but average. The Hawaiin Twist was thick and not very sweet, just how I like it but sadly, tasted like a plain banana milkshake. The banana overpowered the pineapple juice and the coconut milk. On our bill we were charged Rs 227 for each drink.

Now for the food. The Salt and Pepper Chicken had batter-fried chicken pieces tossed in fried onions, garlic and chilli (where was the chilli?) and garnished with chopped spring onions. Two glitches here — firstly, the chicken pieces were overcooked and dry instead of being juicy and succulent. Secondly, there was barely any pepper, not justifying the dish’s name. So I ate the chicken with the dipping sauces — Red Chilli, Green Chilli and Sweet Chilli — and the result was smashingly good, especially the Red and Green Chilli sauce that delivered a spicy, tangy punch in my mouth. I began foodgasming. The Sweet Chilli sauce true to it’s name with a star anise flavour, was my least favourite.

The Red Chilli, Green Chilli and Sweet Chilli sauces are bottled and sold at a price of Rs 65 each.

Second to arrive was the Goi Cuon i.e. Vietnamese cold spring rolls that contained tofu, cabbage, julienned and pickled carrots, radish, and lettuce. Hard core non-vegetarians might turn up their nose at this “ghaas-phoos” dish, but I guess it’s their loss. Each bite was refreshing with the crunchy textures of the veggies accompanied with a hint of sweet and sour. The rolls are good to eat by themselves, however, when eaten with the dipping sauces, the rolls took on a whole new avatar.

The Tibetan Momos Vegetables were good — a little sweet, sour and crunchy from the tiny diced cabbage, carrots and other veggies.

My expectations began to soar by a few notches from the dishes to come and I was excited to have the Yam Wun Sen i.e. Thai glass noodle salad with tofu, cherry tomatoes, finely sliced onions, fresh red chillies, red, green and yellow bell peppers, lettuce, and leaves of holy basil aka Tulsi, instead of Thai basil. All the ingredients were as fresh as can be. Unfortunately, all the goodness of this would-be stellar salad was completely ruined by a copious amount of lime juice in it. Simply said, the salad OD-ed on the lime juice. I struggled to eat the salad, whereas my friend couldn’t eat beyond a couple of spoons.

The Tibetan Momos Prawns was hands down our favourite dish on their Wednesday menu and we asked for a second helping. The prawns were cooked just right and it making the momos irresistibly good. I refrained from using any dipping sauce while having these momos, so as not to interfere with the prawn flavour. Also, these momos salvaged our tastebuds from the Yam Wun Sen i.e. Thai glass noodle salad debacle.

The Mushroom Laab turned out to be a salad-like preparation than what I thought it would be — stir fried mushrooms. Finely chopped button mushrooms, onions, fresh red chillies, garlic, mint leaves and lime juice (phew! Thankfully no overdose this time!). Taste-wise, the Mushroom Laab was refreshingly different.

The waiters kept on bringing new dishes and tried to serve us while we were still eating previous dishes. I had to request the manager and the waiter to serve us the new dishes, only when we were done with the food already on our plates. I didn’t understand the reason for their hurry, it’s not like they were juggling hundreds of orders from just four dining customers.

Now for the main dishes that I was eagerly waiting to tuck into. The Gaeng Khiao Wan i.e. Thai Green Curry with coconut milk, button mushrooms, veggies like carrots, babycorn, cauliflower, zucchini and pea brinjals. Despite it being a vegetarian dish, it was exceptionally good. The gravy was creamy, a bit sweet and flavoursome due to the basil leaves and lemongrass. I immensely enjoyed eating this with rice, and highly recommend this dish.

The Penang Curry Chicken was a delicious orange-coloured gravy with chunky chicken pieces. Two problems here – the curry was salty and the chicken was overcooked and chewy. Having said that, I still loved it. So engrossed was I eating it that I forgot to take a picture.

I had been to Busaba a year ago, and was completely blown away by their Kaukswe. However, this time, they clearly seemed to have lost their midas touch. I added garnish of chopped boiled eggs, crispy fried onions and garlic, chopped celery, spring onions, coriander, a sprinkle of red chilli flakes and lastly, a squeeze of fresh lime to the bed of noodles and mustard-coloured gravy in a bowl. Sadly, it only looked scrumptious and I was quite disappointed as I took a few bites. The gravy wasn’t creamy, and the sweet deliciousness of the coconut milk was lost due to the excess Turmeric powder. Also, the chicken pieces were overcooked and a bit chewy, which now seems like a tradition they practise. Like I said earlier, I opted for the Wednesday lunch only because of the Kaukswe and it was a big let-down.

For desserts, they served us Chocolate Mousse in shot glasses with a twirl of whipped cream on top. I love chocolate but somehow I appreciate non-chocolate-based desserts more. And though Chocolate Mousse is considered a classic chocolate dessert, I find the idea boring and unexciting. But I had a change of heart when I ate it. Neither too sweet nor gooey-heavy, it was perfectly yummy and I asked for another one.

Despite the tragic overdose of lime juice in their Yam Wun Sen i.e. Thai glass noodle salad, the disappointing Kaukswe, their style of overcooking the chicken, and high-handedness of their staff, I had a good time eating there. I still look forward to visiting Busaba again hoping to find improvements in these areas.

Favorite Dishes / Drinks: Tibetan Momos Prawns, Gaeng Khiao Wan

  • Food: 4 5
  • Service: 2.5
  • Decor: 3

Review posted more than a year ago

Tried their fixed lunch menu which is both great in taste and value for money

Busaba is a Vietnamese Restaurant best known for Vietnamese food and is located at 4, Mandlik Road, Colaba, Mumbai, 400001. Busaba (Vietnamese Restaurant) also serves Burmese, Drinks, Korean, Seafood and Thai. Get reviews, Rating, Menu and Address of Busaba Vietnamese Restaurant at Timescity. Busaba offers facilities such as Buffet, Order online.

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