The name Purple Rayn strikes a different chord for different people. The famous song, ‘Purple Rain’, is synonymous with strength and power. Princes’ ballad, released in 1984, was a combination of several genres: rock, R&B, gospel, and orchestral music. It was unexpected and utterly glorious. It was both ahead of its time, and exactly at the right time.
And those similarities can be drawn at the newly-opened Purple Rayn Boutique Guest House in Constantia.
Purple Rayn is an expansive property, a rare find in Cape Town that offers a whole host of dining genres. There are three restaurants to choose from, Opera Cafè, Phantom @Purple Rayn and the Rooftop bar, each offering guests a different experience. And there’s a guest house to stay at if you so wish. Eat, drink, play, and sleep, the best of all worlds.
The three-storey building sits at the end of a long driveway. Oversized chandeliers, bright furniture offset with a dark mix sits against stark white walls. The interior is design-heavy. The views are incomparable, and with Cecilia Forest as the backyard, how can they not be?
Dinner is served up tapas-style at Phantom. The first course was a perfectly-toasted brioche slice of bread with an egg, truffle and parmesan dip with micro greens for dredging and dipping. It was magnificent, and priced at R45, well-worth the unusual taste. The bright, fresh and crisp flavours are all present and accounted for.
Judging from the next starter, the Diwali Oyster, the Executive Chef Warren Carney is big on intertwining Asian flavours, I was excited to see his techniques play out on my plate. The dishes are playful and well-thought-out and the chef is clearly focused on meshing unheard-of flavours. Carney was previously the chef at at Madame Zingara, Kloof Street House and Asoka.
Next up on the menu is the sweet and sour chickpea dhal paratha (priced at R55). The chickpea curry is lightly spiced – Carney definitely knows how to throw down a good curry. The paratha, however, was a little hard, which made it difficult to break and scoop the curry.
The miso dashi with ramen and shitake mushrooms (R75) was a boisterous mouthful of delicate flavours, the only problem was having to share one bowl of noodles in a broth between two people – with only a fork and a saucer. Teething problems can be expected, however, and I have no doubt they will get it right.
Dessert was a trio tasting plate of white chocolate, miso and sesame orange, coconut, passion fruit, farelum, mango and raspberry, and lastly ginger, honeycomb, cheesecake, ginger bush and cinnamon (each priced at R65). Unfortunately, the dessert didn’t impress me as much as the other dishes; there were too many flavour contrasts and not enough sweetness. There are also too many spices incorporated into these dishes, and they tend to fall on the more savoury sensory profile.
I am excited about the sushi offering that will also be served at Phantom; with Carney’s play on ingredients, it will be interesting to see him get creative with fish. The menu is great value for money, the restaurants offer an intimate dining experience and it is a polished stone’s throw away from the M63 – which is convenient for suburb dining.
Pictures: Nidha Narrandes