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.