Food & Drink: Rosa’s Thai Café, Clapham Junction SW11

BY PALOMA LACY

Eating out as a family isn’t always easy once you get past 6pm.

I often get the distinct impression that restaurateurs aren’t wild about mini diners that probably won’t spend as much as wine-drinking adults.

Then there’s your co-diners, noisy children aren’t usually popular. So we try and go for an early evening booking, get in, eat up quickly and leave before the peace has been shattered. You know what they say about best-laid plans?

Rosa’s Thai Café Clapham Junction is the small chain’s newest opening and we – me, my husband and toddler – arrived at 6.30pm to find the place already half full, which is pretty good going in a pre-Christmas climate that sees people staying home until the festive month is upon us.

Adding the word café is misleading as this isn’t casual dining, more mid-range, we decided.

Rosa’s Thai Café Clapham Junction

Located in Northcote Road, it’s technically Battersea but I guess adding Clapham
Junction was done to attract people coming into the station by the same name. It’s no more than a 10-minute walk from the station.

Rosa’s succeeds where so many continually fail, to roll out a chain of restaurants, giving customers convenience of finding one wherever in London they may be, but most important of all, maintaining high quality standards throughout.

I’m not sure quite how they manage it but having eaten at four so far, I’m yet to have
anything other than a truly wonderful meal.

The key to this, I’m sure is owner Saiphin’s hand firmly on the tiller, masterminding the restaurant’s growth from East End café to the more upscale multi-offering it’s become.
Our request to order the toddler’s food as we took our time to decide what we were eating was met with a smiling face that said our waitress understood our need to start the dinner process quickly.

We ordered chicken satay and vegetable fried rice, which arrived in five minutes but while we waited, a mixed basket of prawn crackers and vegan-friendly pumpkin crackers kept us going.

Two courses are £6.50, which is reasonable as kids meals go. Both were met with great approval and my husband and I had to hold ourselves back from eating the little one’s dinner before our own arrived.

We shared some starters – probably more than we needed to but it was difficult to
whittle it down to two.

Rosa’s Thai Café Clapham Junction

Honey-marinated pork skewers, summer rolls and Thai calamari. Char-grilled pork, tenderised with honey, soy sauce and roasted coriander seeds and served with homemade tamarind dipping sauce.

I found them a little on the fatty side so left them but my husband polished off the lot.

Summer rolls got the thumbs up from us – such a nice way to eat so many vegetables in one sitting – as did squid, lightly cooked to ensure it remained juicy and scattered with fresh chilli.

Phad Thai is my go-to dish so I decided to try something new. Char-grilled sirloin steak marinated in oyster sauce, soy sauce and rice wine, cooked to medium and served with mixed steamed vegetables and a sweet and tangy tamarind dipping sauce.

Definitely a nice change but is so love phad Thai and expect that’ll be the way I go next time. I somehow don’t feel I’ve eaten Thai food, without consuming rice or noodles.

My husband’s green curry was so hot he remained pretty much silent throughout dinner. I assumed he’d asked for additional chilli to be added but he hadn’t.

Perhaps there was a slip up in the kitchen? Dinner was a success until someone became over tired and it was time to make a quick departure.

Paloma was a guest of Rosa’s Thai Café. 54 Northcote Road, SW11. Tel: 020 3051 4267

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