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New to Leeds: Rosa’s Thai Cafe

· Joseph Sheerin · Food and Drink

There's a new Bangkok-style cafe in Trinity Leeds.

Rosa's Thai Cafe

Now you can try one of London’s most popular restaurants because Rosa’s Thai Cafe has arrived in Trinity Leeds.

Rosa’s Thai Cafe has opened just its second restaurant outside of London in Leeds. It’s taken the place of the former Cielo Blanco in Trinity and it promises authentic Thai flavours, made using recipes handed down through the generations.

Owner Saiphin Moore and her partner Alex started Rosa’s in the mid-2000s with just a stall on Brick Lane. They sourced key ingredients from Thailand to create tasty street food dishes – it became so popular that they were soon looking for their first permanent home. They found a site in the East End called Rosa’s – and out of respect for the old owner (plus the fact that they didn’t have enough money for new signs) they decided to keep the name.

Rosa's Thai Cafe

From those humble beginnings, they have 15 restaurants in London, another in Liverpool and now one in Leeds. It’s a light and airy restaurant with a stripped back decor – think turquoise-painted windows, exposed wooden pillars, bright red chairs and colourful booths.

“Rosa’s is like a new generation of Thai,” Saiphin told us. “It’s a modern Thai café like something you’d find in Bangkok. We want to offer something a bit different to the traditional waterfalls, elephants and big Buddhas (except our small one in the corner, which has been blessed for good luck!), as we believe in our menu to provide a real experience of Thai food.”

Rosa's Thai Cafe

It’s split into street food-style small plates that double as starters and mains like salads, soups, noodles, curries and grills. They encourage you to dine Thai-style, which means ordering a bunch of starters, mains and sides altogether so they can be enjoyed all at once, but you can keep it traditional and enjoy it course-by-course if you like.

Rosa’s promises an exciting blend of familiar favourites like Green Curry, Pad Thai and Tom Yum, with a few dishes you might not have come across before. The Grilled Northern Sausage is one of their standouts. Saiphin hand picks the herbs and spices that go into making these special bangers and they pack one hell of a spicy punch.

Rosa's Thai Cafe

Or you can try the Papaya Salad, which combines exotic fruit with fine beans, tomatoes, dried shrimp, cashew nuts and a tangy tamarind dressing. Their famous Drunken Noodles are on the menu too – they’re not named after their boozy qualities, but because of their fieriness, which means they’re the perfect pre or post-drink meal.

“Our Larb Chicken salad isn’t the kind of salad you’re used to. It’s made up of minced chicken and fresh herbs, which you then wrap in lettuce. It’s super healthy and combines the main three flavours of Thai food, salty, sour and spicy. It’s one of my favourites to cook at home as it’s fairly easy and light,” Saiphin explained. “The fresh summer rolls are a healthy starter that everyone can enjoy as they are vegan and gluten-free. It’s also my own personal recipe for the special tamarind peanut dipping sauce.”

Rosa's Thai Cafe

To wash it down, you can enjoy a Chang beer, a bottle from their extensive wine menu or a Mekong Thai Whiskey, which you won’t find anywhere else in Leeds. They also have a cocktail menu inspired by Thai concoctions, like the Mango and Lychee Iced Tea infused with Ketel One vodka and Asian botanical sours. If you don’t want alcohol, there are plenty of exciting soft drinks like the Thai Milk Iced Tea.

Right in the heart of Leeds city centre, Rosa’s is an exciting new addition where you can get a taste of proper Thai cuisine using authentic family recipes.

Rosa’s Thai Cafe, 21 Albion Street, Trinity Leeds, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5AT. It’s open 11.30am to 10pm Monday to Sunday.