A review of Rosa’s Thai Café in Dean Street, Soho
Soho isn’t my natural haunt. I frankly find it gritty and grimy and at night it’s impossible to get a cab back to my homeland, SW3. It was with trepidation therefore that I ventured there to a restaurant in Dean Street but in Rosa’s I found something pleasantly surprising.
On the site of an Italian restaurant named “48 Dean Street” that has also been known as the “Velvet Café”, an Englishman named Alex Moore and his Thai wife, Saiphin, have opened a small Thai restaurant named Rosa’s Thai Café.
The couple’s business began as a street stall in Brick Lane in 2006 and soon after moved to a former café in Spitalfields. As that particular premises had been named Rosa’s, that was the name they chose to adopt and thereafter their additional premises in Stratford and Soho have also taken that name.
Decorated in a modern and simple style with colourful stools and modern lighting, Rosa’s in Soho does exactly what it says on the tin. Here you’ll find a place that serves good Thai food for reasonable prices.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a gourmet restaurant for a special occasion, but it is perfect for those looking for a good value and quick meal in Central London. I dined there on a Saturday afternoon with my friend and art expert Christian Huhnt and took the advice of the management and sampled a selection of dishes including “Rosa’s specials” (which are highlighted in red on the menu).
We began with fresh summer herb and vegetable rolls (£6.25). Served with peanut sauce, these were well executed and tasty. Soft shell crab (£8.99) came served with a fresh chilli sauce but sadly this didn’t set the world alight. The sauce did not pack enough punch and as a lover of spicy food, I found myself craving a little extra kick.
We continued with black pepper vension (£11.99) with Thai herbs, onions, black pepper and chilli. Given that this was said to be a “signature dish”, we were disappointed to find the meat overcooked and disappointingly lacking in flavour. A green seafood curry with aubergine, bamboo shoots and sweet basil in a coconut broth (£10.99), however, was enjoyable but the “must try” dish here had to be the pineapple fried rice (£12.49). Cleverly presented in a pineapple boat, this indeed was the highlight of Rosa’s menu.
We concluded the meal with a mixture of green tea and coconut ice cream, drank Pinot Grigio (£24.99) that was perfectly crisp and finished with a good old cup of ginger tea. The service was efficient and the mix of English and Oriental customers was indicative of the wide appeal of Rosa’s as a perfectly simple and welcoming pit stop
Rosa’s Thai Café, 48 Dean Street, London, W1D 5BF. Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7494 1638.
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Love Rosa’s – they have one off Brick Lane too. So glad there is one closer to town.