Yau adds Thai flavour to restaurant concept

Wagamama founder Alan Yau is set to open his first modern Thai restaurant, Busaba Eathai, in London’s Wardour Street next month.

Together with Soho Spice and Red Fort owner Amin Ali, Yau wants to create an affordable “modern ethnic” restaurant which advances the “affordable quality” concepts of his Japanese noodle bars. If successful, he suggests the concept may be rolled out.

Interiors by French designer Christian Liaigré feature large square tables seating mixed groups of up to 12 people. Yau says the designs retain authentic ethnicity, using dark African wood and bronze metal, breaking the stereotypical Thai interior. Grey charcoal slate tiles, etched glass and bamboo panels, fitted by Beck Interiors, will also add to the effect.

Tomato is creating a multimedia installation in the form of a touchscreen plasma menu for the outside of Busaba, and the restaurant’s branded website. Graphics and the identity are by London consultancy North.

“This is my first project since Wagamama and I want it to be different. The interiors are a reaction against the minimalist/ modern era of the 1990s. I like the term ‘modern’, but its application to retail and restaurants has become clichéd,” he says, having seen Wagamama designs duplicated in the extreme.

The restaurant’s large, wooden-framed windows front a high bar overlooking the street. This bar has been designed for people dining alone. Busaba, named after a Thai flower, opens on 4 October.

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