I’ve had a serious craving for Asian food lately. Specifically, a good Thai curry, so I can’t tell you how excited I was when we headed out to Raya Kitchen in Cape Town to check out their fancy new spot, and to tuck into dish after dish of delicious goodness.
Raya Kitchen is situated in Mandela Rhodes Place and is a beautiful venue. There are two areas to choose from, downstairs for more of a casual vibe and upstairs for those looking for more of a private dining experience. Both areas are inviting and stylish with noticeable attention to detail throughout. I’m sure we dined at the best table in the house – upstairs and with a full view of the busy cocktail bar below and the hustle and bustle of the city outside.
We kicked things off with cocktails (The Kiwi & Passionfruit Kitimarisma will rock your world) and complimentary amuse bouche while we decided what to order. Their menu is a force to be reckoned with and includes every single Asian/Thai dish you can think of. If you’re a tad indecisive, you’ll want to do what we did. We asked our lovely waitress (who knew her menu inside out) to recommend a few top dishes in each section and we narrowed our choices down from there. This worked out incredibly well as it got us ordering dishes we would normally have overlooked.
To start, we decided on 3 small plates to share with the idea of trying something from each section. Let me tell you, it’s not hard to get carried away and order more than your weight in dim-sums and dumplings but we managed to control ourselves and got a good variety of Asian tasters.
We ordered the Duck Spring Rolls (R58) which were perfectly light, crispy and packed with duck & veggies… with the best duck sauce we’ve tasted. We had to hold ourselves back from licking the bowl clean. The Chor Muang (R45) which are steamed purple flower dumplings filled with chicken, garlic, coriander, carrots and onion. Beautiful to look at and eat. The spinach and cream cheese Gau (R47) wrapped in clear wheat and rice flour paper and steamed. All three were full of flavour and enough to get our appetites good and ready for mains.
For mains, we went for the Gaeng Phed Ped Yang – Red Duck Curry (R135) which was out of this world good. Tender duck breast cooked in coconut milk with red curry paste, cherry tomatoes, grapes, pineapple, bamboo shoots, baby marrow and basil… it sounds like a strange combination for a curry but everything worked together perfectly. Definitely a dish I would order again and again. And the Phad Kee Mao – Beef, spicy noodles and Thai herbs (R110) which was packed with freshness and flavour… something Raya Kitchen know a thing or two about. The only thing I would do differently next time is up the chilli-factor. We went for mild on both dishes and felt we could have handled a bit more heat.
And to end, chocolate springrolls, warm chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream (R55).
All in all Raya Kitchen serves up authentic fine Asian food that you’ll keep coming back for. They are all about creating exciting flavour combinations whilst still serving up their signature dishes such as traditional curries and stir-fry’s. A great Asian find for sure.
Mandela Rhodes Place, Wale Street, Cape Town
Tel: +27 21 422 2266