With 7 restaurants and a cookbook under her belt, there is no stopping the hardworking entrepreneur that is Saiphin Moore. At the newest branch of Rosa’s Thai Cafe in Victoria, we went to find out what makes this restaurant tick all the right boxes for the fickled London foodie crowd.
True to its original East London heritage from Brick Lane. It is an understated, clean, minimalist design; Saiphin had promised no wooden veneer panelling and photos of the floating markets. It is the kind of design that won’t put customers off entering an Asian restaurant and fearing complex, unfamiliar menus that will put them out of their comfort zone.
In fact, the menu is a best of Thailand offering along with a familiar London touch. We went for the classics for the starters in the form of chicken satay and fresh soft rolls. The chicken meat was indeed succulent as described on the menu, although the lemongrass marinade was slightly on the light side. The soft rolls were fragrant and filled with lively herbs, although tricky to handy, as they tended to stick together. Both starters had great accompanying sauces in peanut sauce and sweet chilli sauce; my only suggestion would be they provided slightly more sauce, as it ran out quite quickly.
The main dishes were the stars of the show here. The spicy seafood hot plate isn’t necessarily offered in most Thai restaurants, but the version here is sizzling hot on arrival. The ingredients used were top quality, plump king-sized prawns, squid that had a healthy chew to its texture and flavoured with mixed spices, black pepper and galangal.
The grilled pork was equally well-marinated and surprisingly tender; the spicy dipping sauce really helped to build up the appetite even more. However, these 2 dishes were really crying out for some steamed jasmine rice or noodles to soak up the flavoursome sauces. As they didn’t offer any desserts, we felt it was acceptable to push the boat out and order a pad thai as well. The noodles had a welcoming “al dente” chew and a very pleasant taste from the tamarind sauce mixed with egg and crushed peanuts.
They have an excellent selection of Thai speciality drinks. We tried a very strong-tasting Mekhong, which was incorrectly labelled as Thai whisky (it is a Thai spirit, which is more like a coloured rum) and also traditional Thai black and milk iced tea.
Rosa’s Thai Cafe might not offer groundbreaking dishes, but a reassuringly familiar menu that all Londoners will easily fall in love with.