On the site of the Thai Bistro, Budsara is owned by a family that used to run a local Thai supermarket. Gone are the canteen benches in favour of simple but tasteful modern decor, the furniture all imported from Thailand. The menu is much simpler than the Thai Bistro, and one chef has been retained, so there is an element of continuity.
Below are notes from my most recent meal.
Fish cakes were poor, greasy and stringy in texture (0/10). Som tam salad was also disappointing, with the shredded papaya tasting none too fresh; it had a decent chilli kick and correctly cooked prawns, but this was a shadow of the som tam that used to be served here in its previous incarnation (0/10). Pad Thai was acceptable (1/10), as was a prawn curry, and here again the prawns were at least properly cooked (1/10). Sea bass with tamarind was deep-fried with no attempt to remove the bones or skin prior to frying (0/10). Service was friendly, though quite why a hot starter came out minutes before a salad is a mystery.
Below are notes from a meal in June 2007.
To begin with, complimentary prawn crackers actually taste of prawns, and are served with a sweet chilli sauce (1/10). Tom yum goong is the classic spicy soup, here made with tender prawns and a broth that is classical enough though not as complex as some (round up). Nam tok goong is a spicy salad featuring more good prawns and bold spicing which worked well (2/10).
A main course fish dish arrived with sea bass rather than the salmon I was expecting, but nonetheless had good red curry paste and again lively spicing (1/10). Pad Thai noodles were just a little chewier than optimal, but still pleasant, as was plain rice. A red curry with vegetables respected the texture of the vegetables (carrots, mange tout etc) and had a reasonable, if fairly simple, curry sauce (1/10). There are some wines but Singha beer is a more obvious accompaniment.
Service was friendly but clearly stretched tonight; Chiswick residents love a new restaurant (even a newish one in this case), and they were turning tables on this Sunday night just a few days after opening. There were quite a few Asian diners, not just Chiswick's usual assortment of luvvies.