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48 Dean Street
The various branches of this casual and affordably priced Thai café offer a warm welcome and a good mixture of the Thai top 10, plus some specialities you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere on the high street. Staples such as pad thai, som tam salad, stir-fries and green curries are carefully prepared and niftily spiced (for western palates, naturally), while more inventive options range from melt-in-the-mouth venison in a punchy pepper sauce to baked butternut squash filled with fragrant seafood mousse. The atmosphere is breezy and accommodating, with friendly staff, light modern furnishings and a boppy soundtrack helping to keep things upbeat. As for drinks, hot or iced teas and tropical juices have the edge over various boozy beverages. Rosa's also does a good line in lunchtime snacks, from satay wraps to hot-and-sour soup – ideal if you’re eating alone.
Best Private Rooms: <10
48 Dean Street
Leicester Square Tube Station 248m
Tottenham Court Road Tube Station 316m
Dean Street 31m
Old Compton Street 56m
Mon-Sun 12N-3pm 6-10.30pm (Fri-Sat -11pm Sun -10pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
I haven't been here in a few years and maybe it was the visit to Thailand in between that's spoilt it for me but I feel Rosa's has lost it's touch. You can get better Thai curries for cheaper elsewhere - try Kaosarn in Brixton or Clapham Junction. Most disappointing was that I had the choice of only 2 starters as I have a peanut allergy and they cook the rest in groundnut oil. This isn't the norm in most Thai places in the UK and not in Thailand either.
Food + drink: 4
Longtime a hit in my book, Thai food celebrates a variety of spices and intense flavours, adding a thrilling dimension to the dining scene. If you are looking for bland, you have entered the wrong kitchen. After backpacking through Thailand a few years ago, I often crave Bangkok's street food. When dining on a budget this is the clear winner. You rarely go wrong when you go Thai.
For my sister’s visit to London, I booked a table at Rosa’s in Soho. This small restaurant has more of a lunch-look than an intimate candlelit evening vibe. Has potential for a casual first date if both parties like their spice. Arguably cosy…but tables are all so close together you must be careful not to accidentally pick up a noodle off your neighbour’s plate. Somewhat worse, we were seated next to three lively women drinking wine, making their nose levels increase drastically as dinner progressed. Indoor voices ladies.
Drawback of most Asian inspired restaurants, the extensively long menus! Rosa’s is no different. Two pages full of appetisers, soups, salads, noodles, char grilled, stir fries, curries, vegetables, rice dishes, sides and extras. Narrowing down to a few favourites we were surprised to see how quickly our food arrived.
One of my Thai favourites is Papaya Salad and if it’s on a menu I’m ordering it. If you have not had Papaya Salad, you have not lived! This time, made the Rosa’s way with dried shrimp, chilli, long beans, cherry tomatoes & cashew nuts. Is it disrespectful to say I was glad my sister has a nut allergy and could not share this dish with me? Beautiful presentation, generous portion and fresh flavours making this a perfect appetiser or side dish. Being both a spice and seafood enthusiast, clear choice was the Spicy Seafood Hotplate – squid, tiger prawns, mussels & scallops stir-fried with mixed spices, chilli, black pepper & galangal. Great heat to this dish and the seafood was perfect, lying in a light yet fragrant marinade of the different spices. Mouth was on fire after scraping this plate clean, just the way I like it.
My sister loves Thai style curries so it was no surprise she ordered Rosa’s Green Curry with beef – aubergine, bamboo shoots & sweet basil in a spiced coconut broth made the traditional way, easy on the coconut for a lighter, more fragrant curry. Side of Steamed Sticky Rice came out in a cute little steamer basket and quickly onto my hungry sister’s plate. In a hurry to finish her curry, I dove in to taste before it was all gone. There was not an overload of rich coconut milk, pleasant as it does not leave you overly stuffed. Mild hint of heat here as well and the tender aubergine paired well with the strips of beef.
All in all, Rosa’s met my expectations of the Thai cuisine. Highly recommend if you are ever nearby and don’t want to spend a fortune. Great for groups as even the pickiest eaters can order a plate of Plain Noodles, but with Rosa’s flair to it of course. Unless I discover another Thai place as good as this, I will be back soon for my dose of spice.
Food + drink: 0
Dreadful experience, having travelled extensively in Thailand this was one of the worst restaurants I've been to in the UK. Disinterested staff, wrong dishes delivered to our table and no apology. The chilli sauce was not Thai chilli sauce, it was a bottled Chinese variety – we also had to ask for fish sauce which is a Thai staple. We will not be going back. My local takeaway is far superior!
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