Rosa’s Thai Café has been on quite a journey since its humble beginnings on Brick Lane. With a new site open on Angel’s Theberton Street, Mark Kebble went along to see if the quality of food still matches up

The rise and rise of Rosa’s Thai Café has been quite a gastronomical journey. Starting life as a food stall on Brick Lane, today there are five restaurant sites including this new opening on Theberton Street, joining the cluster of top notch restaurants on one of the tastiest corners of Angel. There are more than a few nods to its street food beginnings: from the simple, but cosy interior to the fast-paced meal my wife and I had (we were in and out within an hour), although the most important similarity is the fact the food remains absolutely superb.

Seated in a brass-top booth with surprisingly comfortable wood panelling behind our heads, the menu makes for great reading. The starters, in particular, demand your attention and we had to choose three after debating for far too long over the two we should go for. The Thai calamari is a specialty here and the juicy, fat chunks of squid were certainly easy on the palate. The home-made Thai sausage came with the promise of a ‘kick’ – more like a hammer blow, the spiciness of the dish blew me away. The fish cakes didn’t initially materialise – we’ll put that down to early teething issues – but when they did, it was worth the wait, particularly with the addictive crushed peanuts and sweet chilli sauce on the side.

The sea bass is another specialty of Rosa’s, but unfortunately we didn’t have the chance to try it as they were out (I like to think this is due to freshness), so Karen opted for the stir fried prawn with Pad Thai sauce, and I went for the grilled smoked duck breast with tamarind sauce. Both dishes were good, but the surprise was the stir fried aubergine side order. Served up with yellow bean, chilli, garlic, soya sauce and sweet basil, it surpassed anything else we had during the evening (arguably the first time I have picked a vegetable as a winning dish, being a proud meat-eater).

There are no desserts on Rosa’s menu, so it’s left to cocktails if you want to have a sweet end to your meal. This was an intriguing place to review: the food is unquestionably excellent and, if they iron out a few niggles here and there, then the Rosa’s Thai Café story is set to live on happily ever after in Angel.

6 Theberton Street N1 0QX; 020 3393 2482;

4.0Overall Score
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