Rosa’s Thai Cafe is yet another London restaurant crossing over to the North and opening in Birmingham, we are the second city after all and causing quite a stir on the culinary scene. Rosa’s was founded by Chef Saiphin and serves up ‘award-winning authentic Thai food that is bold on flavour’. I adore Thai cuisine so of course, I was very excited to try this out.
Please note that this experience was gifted, and this is my honest opinion.
Located in the heart of the new Paradise Circus, this is the first Rosa’s Cafe to open in the Midlands. First impressions were at odds with every other Thai restaurant I’ve been too. The decor was understated, the atmosphere pretty vacant – but then again it was a Tuesday night in the cafe’s second week of opening.
My sister and I decided to order several starter plates: crispy prawns, summer rolls, honey-marinated pork skewers, sweetcorn cakes and the obligatory prawn crackers. The portion sizes were decent, the colours were vibrant, and everything looked appealing to the eye. Lets start with what we did like: the crispy prawns were fresh and fragrant and the sweet chilli dip provided a welcome zing. The honey-marinated pork skewers were tender and juicy – a plate I would definitely recommend. Unfortunately, the rest of the dishes were disappointing. There was way too much sweetcorn than cake in the patties and virtually no seasoning. Now I know summer rolls are supposed to be served cold but are summer rolls supposed to give you brain freeze? Biting into one of these was like biting into a choc ice that’s been sitting in your mum’s freezer since 2005. Refreshing maybe but again, bland as fuck.
Luckily the mains were a bigger hit. I ordered the stir-fried beef with black pepper sauce and sticky rice. The beef was full of flavour albeit it a little on the chewy side and the sauce was just glorious drizzled over the sticky rice and scooped up with a prawn cracker. My sister ordered the fried aubergine and confirmed it was sweet, salty and moreish. It was probably the most authentic dish we picked.
The staff were very friendly and attentive, our server was fantastic and I couldn’t help but feel bad when he asked us about the half-eaten plates on our table. Admittedly my sister and I messed up by ordering mostly deep-fried dishes to start. By the time the mains came we were rubbing our tummies and exhaling like labouring women.
Unfortunately for me, Rosa’s Thai Cafe was disappointing. I felt it was lacking the flavours and spice Thai food is famous for. Where was the spice?! I felt I could have gone to another chain such as Sabai Sabai and experienced bolder flavours. After visiting Thailand and tasting authentic Thai cuisine I don’t think Rosa’s comes close. For a quick working lunch maybe – as I said, the service was excellent – but for an evening meal with friends or family it’s a strong no. I understand there can be teething problems in the first couple of weeks so I might try it later in the year, but I’m definitely not in a rush.
I’ll be honest I wanted to love it. It’s in a great spot and the cafe itself is light, breezy and welcoming. But the absence of flavour in its dishes means that Rosa’s might well be overshadowed by others in the city centre who deliver a more authentic Thai experience
BAB ABOUT TOWN