Today is the soft launch of Rosa’s Thai on George Street so we talked to founder Saiphin Moore about how she made it in a man’s world, her influences, passion, success and her affinity with Oxford.
Now with over 30 Rosa’s Thai’s to her name, it’s incredible to think that the concept started out as a market stall in London’s East End back in 2007, becoming so popular that she opened the first restaurant a year later.
‘I wanted people to know that Thai food is so much more dynamic and adventurous than what was on offer’
But having grown up on a vegetable farm in North Thailand, Saiphin wanted to cook food from her homeland, and saw a gap in the market.
“Growing up on a farm in the hills of Thailand gave me something incredibly unique, I owe a lot of my success to that upbringing, because food was a central part of my family’s livelihood, which trickled down to me,” she explains.
“We grew food to make money and I made food to feel happy, it worked hand in hand and a lot of my recipes have been passed down.
‘there was a lack of authentic Thai food in the uk, without chips, on the menu’
“But mainly I wanted to bring a taste of home to the area I moved to and loved. I was feeling very nostalgic and wanted people to know that Thai food is so much more dynamic and adventurous than what was on offer.
“And Thai food in the UK had fallen into the same sort of vein as British Chinese food. There were flashes of great Thai food, but a lack of authentic Thai food without chips on the menu. So I guess there was a gap there.”
But still, a big endeavour? “We grew very slowly to be honest, it kind of just crept up on me, and one day, we looked back at all we had created and were like “wow” this is impressive. My team drives the business and are a family so we were all in it together.
“being a woman has pushed me forward”
If anything, being a woman has pushed me forward, as we all know, you have to be very strong, especially as a woman back in the day.
So what can we expect? “Simple, tasty, passionate and wholesome Thai food,” smiles, shrugging. “I love food and cooking. I’ll never stop. So I always find the time, especially at the weekends with my sons and daughter, and the odd dinner party with friends!” she adds.
And with Oxford the latest string to Saiphin’s bow, she is delighted “Apart from it being one of the UK’s prettiest cities, I used to visit Oxford every month, because a very close friend of mine used to live there. So, I definitely feel a connection with the city,” she says.
Rosa’s Thai opens officially on Saturday. Bookings for Rosa’s Thai Oxford are now live and bookable here. Guests can enjoy 50% off their food bill during its soft launch until Friday 4th August.