Weekend Dining: A London Thai Experience Comes To York
Have you eaten yet? That’s the message on the A Board outside York’s newest restaurant. And, anyone standing in St Helen’s Square, where Coney Street meets Lendal, with a penchant for Thai food should certainly not rule out Rosa’s Thai. It is in a nice 18th century building next to York’s historic Mansion House. The lovely timber framing and exposed brick walls mixed with contemporary touches of plush banquettes and lacquered tile detailing doesn't detract from the impression of the Thai café/ street food concept. Husband and wife duo GM Mumu and head chef Moi are heading up the York site having been part of the launch of the Leeds restaurant since 2019.
Several diners had responded to the question posed outside and chosen Rosa for lunch. A group of ladies were enjoying a selection of dishes and the foot fall from the shops meant the 80-cover restaurant had a buzz.
Photo Credit: Eduard Paul Schiopu
Rosa’s Thai started as a market stall on London’s Brick Lane in 2007, where Thai chef Saiphin Moore served up her time-honoured family recipes to hungry lunchtime crowds. A year later, Saiphin and her entrepreneur husband Alex opened the first Rosa’s Thai restaurant in Spitalfields, just around the corner from the market stall.
The launch of Rosa’s Thai York marks the 29th opening for the group, which currently serves Saiphin’s vibrant and fresh Thai dishes to diners in London, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, and Liverpool.
The front of house team were warm and welcoming.
We chose Rosa’s homemade spring rolls (Por pia tod) hand rolled with crunchy vegetables, celery, mushroom, and glass noodles, crisp-fried and served with sweet chilli sauce. They oozed flavour with one bite, the vegetables had crunch and cooked to perfection, so much so, that the accompanying sauce although a nice addition wasn’t needed. As to the Crispy Prawns (Goong tod) fired breadcrumbed prawns with the same sauce was another story. Certainly, fresh but lacked the addition of something to give it a lift; I am not a great advocate of salt but recognise how it can enhance and the breadcrumbs needed something to give them a boost.
As an accompaniment to our meal, we originally chose the Domaine de Campanes Sauvignon Balance from Southwest France only to be disappointed that the restaurant, only been open a week, didn’t have any in stock! Instead, we opted for Tournée du Sud, Picpoul Blanc Picpoul de Pinet, another French standard and good grape but did not live up to expectations.
The wine began to disappear as we waited for our main course to arrive, but the slow service was, hopefully, just a teething problem.
Rosa’s Thai signature dishes are made using the best of Thai produce, including chilli pastes from a husband-and-wife team in the Huai Yod district and rice noodles from a third-generation family business that has made noodles for over 80 years.
Opting for the whole fried seabass, Plass Style (£22.50) which apparently serves two, it is Thai harmony, a deep-fried whole seabass served with a refreshing mango, cashew nuts and red onion salad in roasted chilli oil, lemon grass, ginger, and coconut milk. It contained a garland of colourful ingredients. It would have been nice to have the sauce in a serving dish to pour over the fish as per the photograph on the menu. Unfortunately, the chef had forgotten to add the cashew nuts. That said the combination of flavours and textures came together extremely well. The mango complemented the heat from the chilli and the coriander and other herbs balanced this vibrant and colourful dish although the nuts would have enhanced the textures. This authentic Thai dish was hot and the chef had obviously got the right oil temperature as the fish was tasty and fluffy on its own and, like the spring rolls, was deep fried so if any of the wonderful Thai ingredients were absent, the sea bass was delicious on its own. However it was not bones to be aware of but the hard crispy edges on the outside. For lovers of fish and Thai food a dish to try.
Rosa’s signature Red Pineapple Chicken Curry (Gaeng Supparod) was spicy and slightly sweet curry, the pineapple was tangy, offsetting the heat of the curry and the addition of sweet basil boosted the dish. It had everything to expect from a Thai curry and more. Perfectly cooked Jasmine Rice accompanied both dishes. The two dishes were well constructed.
Other additions on the menu include familiar Thai dishes including fan-favourite pad Thai and comforting green curry, as well as Rosa’s cult favourites from drunken noodles to stir-fried aubergine with yellow bean sauce, chilli, soy sauce & sweet basil.
The menu also offers plenty of meat-free options for vegetarian and vegan diners, from fluffy sweetcorn cakes with kaffir lime to rich butternut red curry with sweet basil.
It is a nice spot to enjoy lunch and the Museum Gardens is a short walk away along with the City Walls for a pleasant walk at the end of lunch.
Rosa's Thai summer rolls
Photo credit: @charliemckay
Rosa’s Thai is at 1-3 Coney Street, York on 1 June 2022. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made via the Rosa’s Thai website.
Rosa’s Thai 1-3 Coney Street York YO1 9NA