Rosa’s Thai Cafe review

With 12 locations across London, you’d think that Rosa’s would be a standard Thai experience, focussing more on consistency than authenticity. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and the Spitalfields site on Hanbury Street is no exception.

On tightly packed in tables, the bustling restaurant is a hive of activity, which fills up quickly so if going on a whim head over early.

We started with the prawn crackers and fresh summer rolls, which were delicate yet robust; the vegetables were crisp and when coupled with the peanut sauce (some of the best I’ve ever tasted; I could have easily eaten a bowl of this on it’s own) set the scene for an outstanding meal.

There are a couple of curries on the menu which carry Rosa’s namesake and we tried the Butternut Red Curry (fuktong gaeng dang) accompanied with coconut rice (khao kati). The sauce was everything you want and expect from a red curry: silky, spicy and sweet. The sharpness from the lemongrass cut through the coconut to prevent it being overly saccharine, but this and the chilli were perfectly balanced making it complex yet comforting.

The butternut itself was soft, plentiful and almost creamy in the red sauce, making it hearty and (seemingly) healthy in equal measure. The steamed coconut rice was exceptional: sticky and fragrant and not overpowering at all. The Papaya Salad (som tum) was fresh, crunchy and makes you feel just that little bit better about yourself once you’ve eaten it. The sweet and sour tamarind sauce acts like a palimpsest over the papaya, enriching the fruit and giving it a surprising burst of flavour.

In short, Rosa’s is superb and after tasting the food it’s easy to see why people stand and queue at the door… so if you’re likely to get “hangry”, book in advance.