I must confess we were not going to Rosa’s if it was not because Koya had a 30 minute wait. (I hate queuing!) We decided to be adventurous and wondered around SOHO to see if there was anywhere interesting to try. (Now that I have tried both, I actually prefer Rosa’s!)
My favourite is Rib-eye Yang (char-grilled rib-eye beef served with spicy dry chilli sauce and cooled steamed vegetables). I had a good feeling about it when the waiter asked us how we wanted the beef when we ordered. (It is rare for diners to be asked such a question in Oriental restaurants!) The medium rare beef is well seasoned with a nice smoky flavour. It is so tasty on its own that I prefer to have it without the sauce. The cool and lightly pickled vegetables complements the meat well. We had this dish with steamed coconut rice, which was fragrant and soft. >>
We also had Yam Poo Ni (deep fried soft shell crab salad topped with spiced mint, chilli sauce and fresh vegetables). The crab was crispy and crunchy. It is a great balance with the sweet and spicy sauce.
Since it is a modern Thai restaurant, we ordered a dish that sounds ‘modern’. Spaghetti Khee Maow Ta Lae (stir-fried spaghetti with seafood, chilli, garlic and basil, £10.50) could have been a special fusion dish for some. Though I forgot that I actually made a dish similar to this before- when I was a student, trying to make a stir-fry but ran out of noodles!
As for drinks, my friend loved his iced ginger and lemon grass. I had the Thai black tea, which is strange but worth a try!
Rosa’s interior is simple, contemporary but nice. It is decorated with long pieces of timber which are originally architraves but used in a creative manner. They turn from wall cladding to clothing hooks to seating to table.
Generally speaking, I resent restaurants with a 2-hour seating rule. When the lady at the door told us that we could have a table for just over an hour, I was about to turn it down. But then, she was only trying to help to fit us in their busy schedule. There is no time limit for diners who book actually. It is a restaurant I would go back with my friends (and remember to book!). Its food is better than other popular modern Thai restaurants in a similar price range, like Busaba Eathai. Did I mention Khao Pad pineapple (pineapple and seafood fried Thai jasmine rice with raisins and cashew nuts)? Well, I did not eat it but I saw it on the next table. It looks just like how my family would like it-served in fresh half pineapple! I cannot wait to see if they use fresh pineapple to cook (its makes a big difference!) next time.
A meal for two including non-alcoholic drinks, £40 incl. service
48 Dean Street, London W1D 5BF
Tel: 020 7494 1638