For Thai food lovers, Rosa’s Thai Cafe needs no introduction. Launched in 2006 by husband and wife team, Alex and Saiphin Moore, in the heart of the East End with a market stall in Brick Lane, Rosa’s Thai Café now boasts 10 locations across London in Spitalfields, Soho, Carnaby, Chelsea, Angel, Stratford, Victoria, Brixton, West Hampstead and Seven Dials.
Always keen on finding new meat-free places to eat out, I was very excited to learn that Rosa’s Thai Cafe in Soho has been turned into a veggie pop up and headed up to London to try it out.
The vegetarian takeover is a response to the huge uplift in demand for vegetarian dishes across the group. As Saiphin Moore explained, on creating this exclusive menu: “I’m really excited to offer my customers a restaurant dedicated to vegetarian principles. It’s a great way to showcase the versatility and exciting dishes possible in Thai food using only vegetables. Every year I go home for the Thailand Vegetarian Festival which is celebrated across all parts of Thailand and it inspires me to bring more vegetarian options to Rosa’s Thai Cafes.”
Conveniently located on Dean Street, Rosa’s Thai Cafe has a modern canteen décor arranged over two floors. We sat downstairs which felt slightly more crowded than the upper floor but the cosy atmosphere made up for it.
Choosing what to eat took some time as the vegetarian menu is quite extensive with many clearly marked vegan options. Veggie options in thai restaurants are often tofu based so I was glad to find some vegetables only options. Rosa’s Thai Cafe had so many tempting dishes from noodles, currys, soups, stir fries, salads and even street snacks.
Saiphin Moore strives to infuse modern Thai flavours into her food. The pop up menu features some dishes entirely new to the Rosa’s menu, including Tofu Satay, Laab Mushrooms (a twist on the classic minced meat Larb salad) , Panang Tofu and Tom Kha Mushroom Soup. If you are into really spicy food, then try the Southern Stir-fried Minced Tofu & Peas. Apparently it is bound to make your ears pop! We were not bold enough to try it.
We were recommended to pick two dishes each with a rice side dish. We selected a vegan selection of Sweet Corn Patties, Long Bean Salad, Butternut & Cashew Curry as well as a Chilli & Basil Stir Fry accompanied with steamed white and brown rice plus rice crackers. The stir fry was really flavoursome and packed quite a punch. This was nicely offset by the milder curry and the super delicious bean salad. We are big fans of street food, so the patties were also perfect to share.
A good selection of drinks including some vegan red and white wines, as well as the usual Thai beers, was available to complement our meal.
While there were no dessert options, this was not really an issue as the portions were generous enough to leave us completely full.
It is fantastic that more and more places are offering vegetarian and vegan food and Rosa’s Thai Cafe definitely hit the spot with its tasty and flavoursome veggie menu.
Drinks and two courses for two people came to £50 for a true explosion of Eastern flavours.
The Soho pop up runs from Monday 15th January – Sunday 15th April 2018, so make sure you catch it before it’s too late!
Address: Rosa’s Thai Cafe, 48 Dean Street, Soho, London, W1D 5BF
Phone: 020 7494 1638
Monday to Thursday, 12pm–10.30pm; Friday to Saturday, 12pm–11pm; Sunday, 12pm–10pm
Instagram: rosasthaicafe / saiphinmoore