When we heard that the home of our favourite Thai-style tapas had a new vegetarian menu, we simply had to visit Rosa's Thai Veggie
By Victoria Fell
As everyone knows, a mix of sweet and sour flavours and spice levels that range from mild heat to blow-your-head-off inferno make Thai food a brilliant winter warmer. So, imagine our happiness when we heard about Rosa’s Thai Veggie, the new all-vegetarian venture from the founders of Rosa’s Thai Café. We headed to check out the Dean Street location, which will serve vegetarian versions of Rosa’s favourites, as well as new instant classics, for the next three months. Stomachs growling in anticipation and hands numbs from the wintry evening, we couldn’t wait to sample the best of Thai vegetarian cuisine.
Arriving at the restaurant, the bustling atmosphere and communal seating meant that it was the perfect place to share tapas-style food. With each dish looking more appetising than the last, it took a fair amount of heated discussion within our party before we settled on our starters.
Our first was the tofu in tamarind sauce (£5.50) topped with toasted sesame and coriander. This was substantial but lacked the heaviness that often comes with fried food, whilst the tamarind sauce gave a delicious sticky sweetness. The fried spring rolls (£6.50) were a classic done well, with a good variety of different vegetables encased within crisp flaky pastry.
Selecting sweet corn patties (£6.25) on a whim as our third starter was an inspired decision. The fresh sweetcorn burst with flavour, and the sweet chilli dipping sauce sauce was an excellent partner. Our last choice of grilled butternut salad (£8.95) with its combination of fresh mint and chilli garnish, was just right to cut through some of the fruitiness of the other dishes. Disclaimer: this one is for spice fans only – the garnish certainly packs a kick
The main courses speedily followed, of which the highlight was the stir fried aubergine (£8.95). If you go to Rosa’s Thai Veggie, order this and order more than one portion. Incredibly tender, with a sauce that cleverly combines heat, garlic and tanginess, we were fighting over who got the last piece. An additional main of the basil sauce fried rice (£9.25) added a subtle and fragrant dimension to the meal, whilst the incredibly moreish stir fried flat noodles (£9.25) with a generous helping of crunchy vegetables meant that the quality of our mains more than matched the appetisers.
The drinks at Rosa’s Thai Veggie only added to our enjoyment, with the house cocktails proving the ideal accompaniment. The ginger and lemongrass fizz (£7.50) was light and zingy whilst the fruit syrup blackberry and tamarind rum punch (£7.50) gave the drink an unusual, but very tasty, depth of flavour. We took note of the cardboard straws being used in the drinks: Rosa’s membership of the Sustainable Restaurant Association is well-deserved.
Co-founder Saiphin Moore says that a vegetarian menu is ‘a great way to showcase the versatility and exciting dishes possible in Thai food using only vegetables.’ Seven fabulous dishes later, lips tingling from spice and hunger totally satiated, I couldn’t help but agree with her.
Rosa’s Thai Veggie
Rosa’s Thai Veggie runs from 15th January to 15th April 2018
Address: Rosa’s Thai Cafe, 48 Dean Street, Soho, London, W1D 5BF
Phone: 020 7494 1638
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday, 12pm–10.30pm; Friday to Saturday, 12pm–11pm; Sunday, 12pm–10pm