Rosa’s Thai Cafe – Revisited

The original Rosa’s Thai Cafe opened in east London around ten years ago. Over time a few more branches opened and in March last year we went along to the opening night of Rosas Thai Cafe in Brixton. Since then Rosa’s has gone from strength to strength and now comprises fifteen branches around London, including two others in south London at Tower Bridge and Tooting.

Pork skewers

We were invited along to the Brixton cafe again to taste some of the new dishes that are being trialled for their menu. We kicked off with a mini-bucket of prawn crackers with peanut dipping sauce; they are among the best I’ve had, light and crispy and not at all oily. We continued with larb chicken patties – a new dish, along with an old favourite, pork skewers. I’m sure the pork will continue to please palates for many years, while the patties were OK but lacked the crowd-pleasing effect.  However, they were rescued by the fiery tamarind sauce which accompanied them – it was well up the Scoville scale, too hot for Mrs.D but certainly right up my street!

Larb chicken patties with tamarind sauce

Two more new dishes followed, beef in black pepper sauce and red curry with chicken and pineapple. The beef was tender and perfectly cooked, but in our opinion there was too much black pepper which didn’t allow the flavour of the lovely beef to come through. A little tweak here would make this a very popular dish. As for the red curry, I’m always a bit sceptical about pineapple in savoury dishes. However, it really did work; the curry sauce was brilliant and the flavours went well together – this dish will be a winner for Rosa’s!

Red curry with chicken & pineapple

It was a Wednesday evening and the place was packed – if you can fill a restaurant on those weekday evenings you’re definitely on the road to success. So what is the secret to Rosa’s success at a time when many well-known names on the High Street are in difficulties? The warm welcome and friendly, efficient service is a very good start and the cosy yet vibrant atmosphere is another plus point, while attractively presented and tasty dishes at reasonable prices are the most important part of their winning formula. Rosa’s are obviously not afraid to innovate and experiment with their menu and I’m sure they will be around for many years to come, bringing us delicious Thai food.

Beef in black pepper sauce

Rosa’s Thai Cafe, 36 Atlantic Road Brixton SW9 8JW – see website for other locations

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