What: The latest restaurant to go green is Rosa’s Thai in Soho, which has removed all meat and fish from its menu (including fish sauce) for a trial period of three months. The move is a response to an increase in demand for vegetarian dishes across the group’s other ten sites, and could go permanent if it’s successful
Who: Thai born Saiphin Moore, and her Surrey-born partner, Alex met in Hong Kong in 2001 and opened their inaugural Rosa’s Thai in 2007. It’s now a 11-strong brand, with Saiphin taking the role of F&B director whilst Alex runs the wider business as chief executive.
The vibe: Located on Soho’s Dean Street the restaurant’s interior hasn’t changed. The site is small, with pale plywood tables, stools, benches and corrugated effect panelling. It’s a casual affair with people packed in elbow-to-elbow, although the basement has slightly bigger tables, and there are two upstairs booths.
The food: The menu features vegetarian versions of Rosa’s existing dishes like papaya salad and pad Thai alongside a selection of new dishes that are exclusive to the site. Vegan dishes, of which there are plenty, are clearly marked on the menu. New dishes include a spicy mushroom ‘salad’ topped with toasted rice, presented as a twist on the classic minced meat Larb salad; fried tofu dressed with tamarind; a spicy ‘tom zaap’ soup with mushrooms and dried roasted chillies; spicy stir fried minced tofu and peas; and a grapefruit salad with roasted chilli paste and evaporated milk dressing. “I’m really excited to offer my customers a restaurant dedicated to vegetarian principles,” says owner Saiphin Moore. “It’s a great way to showcase the versatility and exciting dishes possible in Thai food using only vegetables.”
The drinks: A list of Thai-inspired cocktails includes the likes of a ‘co pi pi’, made with blue ginger vodka, coconut, lime and sea salt, topped up with coconut water, and a blackberry and tamarind rum punch. The rest of the drinks menu includes a handful of vegan wines, Thai whisky, and Thai iced tea.
And another thing: London’s vegan community were upset when vegan brand Club Mexicana left its residency at Pamela to open a fully-vegan pub. Their spot has been filled, however, by a new vegan operator, Mao Chow, which serves meat free Asian cuisine, and is one of many fully vegan brands opening across the UK. Brighton’s vegan pizzeria Purezza is making its London debut soon, and US vegan fast food brand By Chloe is making its long-awaited UK debut in early February.