Rosa’s Thai Cafe review September 2021

A few months ago, I was invited to review Rosa’s Thai Cafe, however life was pretty manic with work and some big DIY projects, so I had to shelve any plans to review.

With things more settled I was lucky enough to take up the offer to lunch at Roasa’s Thai cafe in the new Paradise development near Centenary Square.

Rosa’s Thai Cafe was born out of our founder Saiphin’s passion for authentic Thai food, served in a no-frill and relaxed atmosphere. Their website claims to put genuine hospitality and great recipes at the heart of everything they do and are proud to have been born in Thailand and raised in England (the East End of London), via Hong Kong.

On this occasion, it was a particularly busy and hot, muggy, Saturday day when myself and a friend arrived at Rosa’s.

As we entered this vacuous space, two things that struck me was, it had nicely chilled air-con, and was exceptionally quiet – both a perfect juxtaposition to the madness outside of Birmingham’s Pride weekend, and the September heatwave.

We were quickly seated and ordered a Rosa’s Boozy Thai Iced Tea (double shot of spiced rum + Thai lemon iced tea. A punchy Full Moon Party-style cocktail, in a jam jar) and a Mango-Star Martini (sweet mango puree, double vodka shot & lemon juice, served with a shot of prosecco on the side), which were both a welcome refreshing boost to oil us up ready for the food we were about to sample.

..a city so diverse, which is reinforced by the authenticity of Rosa’s Thai now making Brum its home.

Looking around, the decor is basic but actually quite calming and does feel more like a diner/cafe than a restaurant, which offers an informal relaxed enviornment, but with central booths, to allow some degree of privacy.

We foolishly ordered everything at once, though the staff, cleverly brought the dishes out in good order, smaller plates first.

I began with the Honey-Marinated Pork Skewers (char-grilled pork, tenderised with honey, soy sauce & roasted coriander seeds. Served with Rosa’s homemade tamarind dipping sauce). These were generous and sweet morcels on a stick – the sauce added to the experience and we both agreed, the pork was cooked just right, and tore away from the skewer easily. I would have had these as a main with rice to be honest they were that good.

My companion opted for Papaya Salad (vibrant salad of finely sliced Thai green papaya with green beans, tomatoes & cashew nuts). The taste was immensely good, and a huge portion, brilliant value for money. The sweet, sour, salty, spicy flavours were addictive and we both finished the lot – again, this could easily be a main.

Then came the Massaman Curry (Rosa’s mildest curry, fragrant with gentle Silk Road spices & comes with potatoes & cashew nuts as well as a choice of slow cooked beef, chicken or tofu). To follow on from the pork skewers I chose beef. The beef was fairly lean, not too chewy but I did think the chicken or tofu may have been a better choice here. Beef in curry seems to be less common these days in the UK and there is obviously a reason for that. The sauce was delicious and mild, with helpings of steamed Jasmine rice to help soak it all up. Another huge portion and by this point, i was completely full.

On the opposite side, my mate tucked into the chicken Pad Thai (Thailand’s national dish, a sweet & sour stir-fry based on rice noodles with tamarind, palm sugar, eggs & crushed peanuts with roasted chilli flakes. Can be prawn, chicken, beef, veg or tofu). She was completely sold and asked to fill the last of it in a take-away box for later, which the staff were happy to do. I tried this also and was far superior to previous Pad Thai I have tried locally.

I think it is fair to say, we both agreed the value for money aspect, and the variety of moreish tastes on offer here at Rosa’s makes it a winner in the city. I would definitely return for a solo trip or with others and am now intrigued to try more off the menu,.

By the time we left, the place was filling up nicely, so the initial quietness was maybe just down to everyone’s attention being on Pride going on outside – a great spot to watch the Paradise passers-by, a city so diverse, which is reinforced by the authenticity of Rosa’s Thai now making Brum its home. Try it out and see for yourself.

Words by Nick Byng for Grapevine Birmingham.