Rosa’s Thai Cafe: From street stall to restaurant

PUBLISHED: 15:26 13 May 2013 | UPDATED: 15:26 13 May 2013

Interiors of the refurnished Rosas Thai Restaurant in Spitalfields, London.

Interiors of the refurnished Rosas Thai Restaurant in Spitalfields, London.


Rosa’s started life as a humble street stall in Brick Lane seven years ago where its reputation for authentic, fresh and punchy Thai food grew to such an extent it allowed the husband and wife team to go on to open three restaurants in the capital.

Rosa’s facts

12 Hanbury Street, E1 6QR

Phone: 020 7247 1093


Mains: from £7.49

Wine: from £15.99 a bottle

Children welcome: Yes

Disabled access: No

Marketing itself as a ‘Thai café born in the East and raised in the East End,’ its first restaurant – and recently refurbished – in Spitalfields still reflects the street stall roots with its brightly lit interior, warm wood panelling and contrasting red stool, while the downstairs area is a more upmarket affair with dark wood and dim lights.

The sheer amount of choice on the menu – from curries, to stir fries and chargrilled steaks and more delicate meat and fish dishes – left us struggling to decide our options over a crisp, cold bottle of the house white wine – a Trebbiano.

To start with my friend and I opted to share helpings of deep fried squid and prawn tempura – both of which were served with a tangy plum sauce.

The squid was delicious, with the coating crispy – but not at all greasy.

The prawns formed the highlight of the entire meal for me, with the crunchy and light batter making way for huge, juicy king prawns bursting with fresh flavour.

For the main course, I opted for scallops and vegetables which was served in a fried garlic dressing.

It’s perhaps the nature of the dish, but the scallops did arrive looking somewhat on the anaemic side – a little garnish would have helped.

But this dish was all about simplicity – and the shellfish was cooked to perfection, with the sauce having subtle hints of garlic to showcase the fresh taste of the scallops.

Meanwhile, my friend’s dish of seabass cooked in a sweet and sour sauce was bursting with flavour and colour. The fish was delicate and flaked to the touch while the light batter covered in sticky sauce was oozing fruity and tangy tastes.

The food felt authentic, and the varied menu offers something for everyone.

Aimee Brannen

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