Galangal, lemon grass, chilli and fish sauce make for a pungent and exciting eating. It’s exhilirating to taste a new cuisine and I urge you to act fast to try London’s first Laotian pop-up in Victoria created by Saiphan Moore, chef/owner of Rosa’s Thai Cafes whose family roots are in Laos. After grazing on tiny well-spiced isaan spicy sausages, we shared an extraordinary salmon dish “pickled” in rice and fragrant yet earthy with herbs (dill and mint are favourites) besides lemon and fish sauce. Must-trys include seabass chargrilled in the tiny kitchen with a herby umami potent dipping sauce, and both Laotian egg plant and green papaya salad. All are fairly fiery yet with pleasingly zingy clean finish and I like that fresh raw greens and herbs are served on the side, undressed. Sticky rice in a banana leaf should be eaten by hand. Though the place is very simple and basic, the welcome is warm and the food a revelation. Hurry, it’s only open until 26 February when it becomes a regular Rosa’s Thai Cafe retaining several Laotian specials on the menu.
25 Gillingham Street SW1V 1HN 0203 813 6773 www.rosasthaicafe.com