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Rosa

48 Dean Street, London, England, W1D 5BF, United Kingdom

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Rosa’s is one of two linked venues, the other being in Spitalfields. The Soho version has simple décor with a red theme, plain wooden tables and bench seating. A peculiar assortment of muzak was played tonight, from jazz through to disco to techno and some music it would take a younger person than me to identify.

The menu is fairly standard Thai, with just a cursory wine list with around a dozen offerings, with growers listed but no vintages. I stuck to Singha beer, but in the event that you want wine with your spicy food then the Leon Beyer Pinot Gris at £31 for a wine that costs around £12 retail would be your best bet from the list here.

The first dish tried turned out to be the star of the show. Tom yum goong (£6.65) is a classic thai soup made with prawns and mushrooms, the key to which is the complexity of the stock. Poor examples can be watery, with only a few of the standard ingredients, but the one tonight was rich and complex, with nicely balanced and bold spicing (easily 13/20). Fish cakes (£5.45) by contrast were ordinary, slightly greasy and with a tired salad of shredded cabbage and carrot; there was little evidence of the curry flavour advertised with the fishcakes (barley 11/20).

Green curry of prawns (£10.50) was good, the curry sauce again well made, the prawns properly cooked, though the Thai aubergines were a little hard (12/20). Som tam salad (£7.15) had particularly good spicy dressing, which lifted the flavour of the shredded vegetables nicely (12/20). Sea bass (£14.30) was cooked properly but was oddly bland, served with boiled cauliflower and just a little side dish of sweet chilli sauce to add flavour (11/20). Pad thai noodles were decent but no more than that (11/20).

Service was pleasant enough; one dish arrived much later than the others, but the waitress was nice enough about this minor mishap. The bill came to £35 a head before service, and we probably over-ordered. Overall the food fluctuated mostly between 11/20 and 12/20 territory; I am giving it the benefit of the doubt mainly because of the excellent tom yum goong.

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