I don’t know about you, but I don’t eat Thai food enough. My childhood is full of fond memories of my family heading on down to the Manee Thai in Putney and feasting almost weekly on delicious Chicken Satay, Yum Salads, Sesame prawn toast etc… Now that I am grown up my Thai food repertoire has taken a serious hit, consisting of only the occasional visit to Busaba. You can imagine then that I jumped at the chance to head out with my trusty WBLF partner Ben to sample what Rosa’s Thai Cafe in Carnaby street had to offer.
As usual Ben and I met at the pub for a pint before heading down the road to take up our reservation at Rosa’s. As is customary a couple of beers were ordered to quench our thirst while we studied the menu. The first thing I noticed was that this is a menu full of the classics, all of the great Thai dishes that we know and love. This is no bad thing, sometimes you don’t need to try and reinvent the wheel.
Our order was simple but effective, to start crispy Thai prawns, Thai calamari and spicy Thai sausage. For main I had a beef mussaman curry and Ben went for the chilli and basil stir fry with prawns. We accompanied both with portions of egg fried rice.
The Thai calamari were brilliant, sweet pieces of squid nicely cooked with a wonderfully crispy batter on the outside. Ben and I could both taste hints of some demerara sugar in the coating, a wonderful surprise. The least well known of our starters, the spicy Thai sausage was arguably the best. As Asian food often has it was full of delicious herby and aromatic spice, enough to start a party on your tastebuds without having to call a fire engine. Finally there were the crispy prawns which were very good but should always be. These are a staple in any western Thai restaurant and light crispy batter with big meaty prawns and a sweet and spicy dipping sauce is par for the course really.
The main course arrived soon after, a lovely mussaman curry with chunks of beef and vegetables swimming in a lovely rich, salty curry sauce. I transferred some to my plate, added rice and got stuck in. Again the curry was good, which is to be expected so a tick there however in my opinion the egg fried rice was somewhat of a let down, too much bite to the rice and a bit bland in the end.
Reports from Ben were that his dish was lovely and spicy with decent amounts of flavour and aroma, again that Asian kind of spice that hits you at the back of your throat rather than on the tip of your tongue.
Rosa’s Thai does what any good Thai restaurant should do, it serves up the classics well, full of the flavours you expect. Where it stands out is in those few lesser known dishes allowing you to increase your taste vocabulary, so to speak. It is definitely worth a trip if you are in the area.