Restaurant Review: Rosa’s Thai Cafe, Brixton in south London
It’s opening night at Rosa’s Thai in Brixton. As we arrive the team are gathered together in front of the new entrance, grinning at the camera for their group shot. With an excited buzz bouncing between the floor staff; with anticipation my guest and I are first through the door and seated within one of the colourful, sleek bench tables.
Run by husband and wife team, Alex and Saiphin Moore, this new Thai eatery is located on Atlantic Road – steps from the popular Village Market. A smart exterior with colourful touches within, despite their Thai USP, the design concept inside does vaguely attempt to tackle and reflect the vibrant urban culture of Brixton; this with an heartfelt conscious effort to collaborate with local artists. This attitude even stems into the drinks menu, with the introduction of exclusive local beers.
Where the identity really shines through is Rosa’s new seasonal dishes that have been thoughtfully influenced by co-founder Saiphin Moore’s family recipes. A lengthy selection of dishes with everything you would expect and hope for, we start with starters of Thai calamari with herbs and their in-house sweet chilli sauce. A small dish suitable for sharing, this joyfully avoided the classic chewy mistake. Three large fresh rolls are also selected wrapped in rice paper. These are filled with fragrant herbs and peanuts and again with their chilli sauce and were generously wrapped but the dry side. Lastly we also pull apart some tasty char grilled soy and honey pork skewers with tamarind dipping sauce.
Bouncing between beef mussaman curry (‘mussaman nuar’) – a smooth and yellow curry with silk road spices, or the thick red chicken curry (‘penang gai’); despite being her first night on the job, I ask our waitress to recommend one over the other; she recommends the red chicken. This is described as rich and flavoursome although on the safer and cooler side than its true Thai counterpart would be. My guest selects the drunken noodles (‘guay tiew pad kee mao’). Described as delightfully spicy, these large, fat noodles are fried in a holy basil sauce and can be ordered with vegetables & tofu, chicken, beef or prawns. Other dishes on this new menu include a baked seafood red curry (baked and served in a hollowed out butternut squash); stir fried mussels in a spicy mixed herb sauce as well as an heirloom tomato salad with red onion, spring onion and coriander.
Having launched in the heart of the East End with a market stall in Brick Lane back in 2006, Rosa’s Thai Cafe has come a long way and now boasts permanent sites in Spitalfields, Soho, Westfield Stratford, Carnaby, Chelsea, Angel and Victoria. Despite featuring this chain across the city – the devotion behind this Brixton branch offers this latest opening an independent attitude with personally inspired dishes.
Address: Rosa’s Thai Brixton: 36 Atlantic Road, London, SW9 8JW Phone: 020 3393 8562
Opening hours: Monday–Saturday – 12pm – 11.30pm, Sunday – 12pm – 10.30pm