Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Restaurant Week dinner at Raya Kitchen, Nelson Mandela Square

Restaurant Week now happens nationally twice a year, April and October. Selected restaurants enter and often they are new venues needing exposure. For 10 days you can have a 2 course lunch starting from R150 and a three course dinner for R250 Better restaurants add stars and that means they can add R50 in increments or stars, according to how good they think they are. You can view the limited menu on offer on line and if you register early as a VIP you can book before others. One thing we don't like is when restaurants don't publish a menu and just say, "We will surprise you". We won't go to those. What if they served only something we don't eat, we dislike or are allergic to? Try harder, it is all about attracting customers to what your style of food; often we have no idea what you serve. You will get more guests
We are generally so busy doing media functions that we don't often get a chance to eat out at newer restaurants and as we had a bit of a window between events, we grabbed the chance to visit two that attracted us this time. Raya was originally an extension of Kitima, the very popular Thai/Asian Restaurant in Hout Bay, but is now independently owned. Now you can eat the same style of food in the centre of Cape Town, as they are in the Mandela Rhodes Building on Wale Street
Glass and steel outside and inside
Comfortable chairs and small tables make it a versatile space upstairs
We were sent two amuses bouche of a noodle and chicken dish, which were extra to the four courses on offer for R300, which should have included a free glass of house wine
Asian touches are purely in the ornaments and some lights
There were three choices of starter. Lynne chose the dim sum option, which had one Ho Jaw Goong (tofu skin dumplings filled with minced prawns, water chestnut, spring onions and glass noodles), a open minced lamb and ginger sui mai and a pork sui mai. The dipping sauce was rice vinegar based and there was something crunchy. Luckily, John had a soy based dark sauce which she borrowed for the dumplings. John had a Duck spring roll, a beef satay and a golden money bag
We both chose the same entrée, the Prawn Tom Yum Goong soup, redolent and spicy, made with a good tom yum paste, lots of fish sauce, galangal, lemongrass and lime. Lynne's came with mushrooms. We always choose the medium chilli option
We had been give a bottle of Springfield 2015 Miss Lucy, a blend of a blend of Sauvignon, Semillon and Pinot Gris to try and were happy to pay the R50 corkage. It's a lively, refreshing wine, good to drink on its own and also great with the spicy food
The downstairs area from above! Small ponds filled with floating plants
Main course of Phad Ka Phrao Ped - stir fried duck with green beans, sweet peppers, onions basil tossed with fresh red chilli and lots of garlic was Lynne's choice. Good vegetables and plentiful duck underneath
John stayed with prawns for his main course, the Gaeng Phed Goong - a red curry with prawns coconut milk, courgette, carrots lime leaves basil and bamboo shoots. We like the traditional serving bowls with lids, We both ordered egg fried rice and really would have been happy to share one, the portions are large.
A serving of John's dish
A serving of Lynne's dish, there was lots more. We did share
Dessert was Lynne's first experience of a crème brulée made with coconut cream. It was good, lighter in texture than one made with cream and the coconut flavour was almost not there
John just had an excellent double espresso
The bill

© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016

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