Ten years, ten branches. Busaba Eathai has picked up the pace of late, but standards remain high & its regulars loyal. This chain of Thai eateries, conceived by Alan Yau, gets away with things a less sexy outfit could not: hour-long waits for a berth, no starters, no desserts, communal tables. What’s its secret (aside from the Thai calamari which has most readers in rapture)? In short, it’s ‘quick, affordable, informal & open all day’. Chic interiors, low lighting & that all-important ‘buzz’ don’t do it any harm either. There’s a feeling that portions are shrinking, but the menu of stir-fries, curries, noodles & salads still pleases most visitors. The appeal of certain dishes never diminishes – think stargazer monkfish curry, stir-fried morning glory, & pad thai with prawns, not forgetting those delectable calamari.