I've had it out with a halloumi bagel and found darkness in a bowl of cassava fries, but it's Thai food that i'd never really been able to nail down in Brixton, until now. Newly opened on Atlantic Road, Rosa's is an ever growing name in London that just couldn't let the south slide from their grip. Just a stone's throw from my flat, I decided to see if the new Brixton site could live up to the humble modus operandi of their other locations.
The Venue and Atmosphere
Atlantic Road is a wiggle of butchers, independent shops and the odd deli, so from the off it seemed an interesting pick for Rosa's considering the only other restaurant on the road is a cornered Wahaca. That said, it seemingly benefits from the footfall, being packed on a Sunday evening with local families and the mid-20-somethings that now appear to dominate Brixton come 7pm.
Having visited the Spitalfields site before, I was expecting the same muted tones and humble tables, but met with a whole other enterprise for the name. Clearly kicking into the contemporary with this South London site, Rosa's Brixton has upped the interior ante with geometric tiling, warm lighting, shutters laced with graffiti, rose-red booths and a split dining area. While intimate, it's the cutesy space that gave Rosa's its bustling edge that most should come to expect from a good Thai restaurant.
The Food and Drink
Brimming with tart, Thai cocktails the likes of their Blackberry and Tamarind Rum Punch alongside plenty of local beers from names such as Brixton Brewery, we decided to opt for Prosecco, especially with the humble price tag at just £5.
Hailed for hand-made and home-inspired Eastern meals, I can't rate the restaurant enough for their selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes, with nearly everything on the menu offering a tofu or vegetable option. Making our picks both simple and straightforward, we eased into Goong Tod (crispy prawns at £5.50) and their Por Pia Tod (spring rolls at £6.74). With their light batter and sweet chilli dip, the crispy prawns were a fun and hands-on starter that eased into the main perfectly, and while the spring rolls promised classic crunch and glistening glass noodles, the price could have been lowered just a little.
Satisfied and ready for seconds, we moved on to a prawn Pad See Ewe with stir fried flat noodles at £10 alongside a mixed vegetables pad pak alongside steamed jasmine rice. Both were stand out dishes that really promised a plate full of Thai flavour. While my Pad See Ewe's thick noodles, light sauce and tender prawns offered rich and hunking example of a stir fry, the mixed vegetables added a welcome element of bite alongside the perfectly fluffed rice.
After all that? It's not just the vegan and vegetarian options that make Rosa's such a stand-out destination for me. Whether it's the staff, the ease of dining, or the menu of known classics, Rosa's Thai Cafe are growing in numbers because their formula is familiar and unflappable. While the new interiors at Brixton clearly spark a trendy turn for the branch, I don't think they've lost their modest and welcoming mode of play.