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A local legend, the original Rosa’s started out in Spitalfields when Thai-born chef Saiphin and her husband Alex Moore moved into the premises of Rosa’s, a closed-down English café on Hanway Street. Having originally met in Hong Kong and married in Thailand, the couple had recently moved to London and had set up a couple of successful street stalls on Brick Lane selling home cooked Thai curries and stir fries, and saw the opportunity to expand.
Now, there aren’t that many food lovers that don’t know about Rosa’s. They expanded to Soho, and then to Stratford’s Westfield shopping mall. We haven’t visited the Stratford location, but the two originals have buckets of charm and a cosy atmosphere, all packed café-style tables, flowers and blushing shades of red and pink. There’s some casual romance and pad thai to be had here.
As for the food itself, it’s simple, unfussy and inexpensive. For the speed of service and the prices, the quality of food goes above and beyond. The menu of familiar Thai dishes is pepped up by a set of excellent chargrilled meat and fish dishes to accompany the delicious curries, stir fries, fried rice and noodle dishes. The som tam here is a standout, delightfully crunchy long beans melding well with a pungent, spicy-sweet dressing and savoury prawns while the jungle curry is an intense hit of heat, herbs and delightfully salty flavours. Go for food, stay for the atmosphere.
Opening times: Monday - Thursday: 12:00 – 22:30, Friday – Saturday: 12:00 – 23:00, Sunday: 13:00 – 22:30