Rosa’s Thai Cafe

rosa01

address: 36 Atlantic Road, Brixton SW9 8JW

telephone: 020 3393 8562

http://rosasthaicafe.com/brixton/

This is the ninth in the chain of Rosa’s Thai restaurants and the first to venture south of the river. This was a brave move as Brixton already has two good Thai restaurants, see Yum-D and Kaosarn, as well as others such as Satay Bar serving up decent Thai dishes, so this new one has strong competition. It is on Atlantic Road with a wide view of the street and small tables for two or booths for up to six. Continue reading

Tem Ban at The Lido Café

tamban01

Address: Brockwell Lido, Dulwich Road, SE24 0PA

Phone: 0207 737 8183/07969 534 218

Email: info@thelidocafe.co.uk

http://www.tembanthai.co.uk/

Pop-ups keep appearing, with many not living up to the hype, but this one sounded too interesting not to try.  A reported connection to trendy Smoking Goat made it a must try. The first thing we need to tell all our readers is to book, as on our visit every table was full. While the run of this pop-up has been extended, it’s only open in the evening on Thursdays and Fridays (and possibly Saturdays) until 5th March.

You can find a description of the normally daytime only Lido Café here. There was little change with the pop-up, although we did think it looked smarter with the fairy lights.  The menu, which is on the website, isn’t too taxing, although there are specials as well as the list. It comes as small or large plates. For small plates we chose the deep fried grey mullet & star fruit salad and the nam prik pao (Deep fried shredded pigs’ ears & puffed pig skin served with burnt sour red chilli sauce). Well who can resist a shredded pig’s ear. From the large plates we chose hang lae, (Chang Mai curry of pork belly, served with ginger & peanuts) which came with yellow sticky rice and a khao soi gai (free range chicken, curried noodles served with crispy noodles). We ordered a side of stir fried morning glory with oyster mushrooms and yellow beans.

tamban04tamban03

We were a bit disappointed with the pig’s ear, as some of the crispy skin was pretty chewy, but the mullet and salad was fantastic. For the mains we thought both dishes were intricate and delicately flavoured (although I did need a tissue for the runny nose). We could have done without the side dish which was disappointing and didn’t stand up to the flavours in the other dishes, although was a bit of a relaxation from the chilli.

tamban02tamban05

We ended the meal with a dessert of sticky coconut rice and mango. We were warned we could share and that would definitely be our advice. It is a large heap of carbohydrate and the sweetest mango with coconut milk sauce  – delicious but if you want to stay in the same waist size, don’t order two.

We turned down cocktails (e.g. Watermelon Bellini and Tamarind Whiskey Sour) in favour of a glass of Salantino red wine and glasses of tap water (after failing dry January one of us is attempting Free-from-February). Service was fine and, while a bit slow, this suited us as we were looking for a relaxing  occasion. The only problem was that the dishes came from the kitchen in no particular order and so dinner for two meant one person watching while the other ate. They probably need more help in the kitchen, so that dishes come out in twos and threes and not one at a time. Pop-ups are inevitably work in progress and we are sure things will improve with practice.

The whole meal cost £56.05 including service but if you want to try this pop-up you’ll need to move fast.

 

Kaosarn

KaosarnAddress: Granville Arcade (Brixton Village), Coldharbour Lane Brixton, London

Telephone: 020 7095 8922

This is a new Thai restaurant named after the bustling street in Bangkok and it has made a name for itself in Brixton Village with reviews by Jay Rayner in the  Observer (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/may/01/jay-rayner-restaurant-review-kaosan) and Time Out (http://www.timeout.com/london/restaurants/venue/2:30398/kaosarn).  This is a tiny family run restaurant and with all this attention is full every evening and mostly during the day so book well in advance.  When we say tiny we really mean – only a few tables inside supplemented by five to seven outside. With autumn soon making it chilly these outside tables are likely to be difficult to fill unless they come with a blanket and hot water bottle.

The menu is short and cheap (about £15.00 per person for a full meal) with most main dishes costing less than £8. They serve all the usual Thai specialities – curries, salads and pastries filled with varieties of prawn or minced meat. There are not many vegetarian meals but the staff are willing to cook some up on request with tofu and vegetables. We used this restaurant before the Observer review. It is good but it isn’t great  – the Phad Thai was tasty with all the different flavours and with chunky prawns and a good blast of lime.  It is unlicensed so bring your own alcohol – remember this in advance as the options for buying it near to the restaurant are not that varied unless you just want beer. We would return there – if only we could get a table.

Under £20.00 for dinner and the portions are good so probably much less if you are not too greedy.