Now that you all have Prince’s immortal song in your heads, let’s begin!
When one thinks of the Constantia Valley, one tends to imagine elegant white décor, classic styling, tranquil settings, and a focus on the lush and verdant nature that embraces this location (or is it just me?). Don’t expect that from Purple Rayn Boutique Guesthouse. Here, the décor and vibe is bold and gutsy, glamorous and showy, making it an excellent venue for lavish celebrations and seductive soirees.
Having opened its doors for the first time on 24th December 2018, Purple Rayn offers six full guest suites, a fine dining rooftop restaurant, a fully kitted-out spa and sauna (and champagne) room, comfortable lounge seating and tables surrounding an exclusive sushi bar, a gold marble cocktail bar manned by experienced mixologists, and a rooftop bar.
We took in all of this bold and indulgent glamour as we made our way to Phantom, the guesthouse’s rooftop restaurant and our venue for the night. Our assignment for the evening: to sample Phantom’s carefully curated Asian inspired menu, which has been put together by Executive Chef Warren Carney (previously of Madame Zingara, Asoka, and Kloof Street House) and his team.
A delicious Asian-inspired feast
To begin, we were treated to fresh oysters exuberantly dressed up for Diwali, as well as the interesting concept of milk bread served with do-it-yourself mayonnaise. The latter consisted of a raw egg yolk, mustard, and Parmesan cheese shavings served in a bowl, which guests are supposed to whip up with a fork and then use as a rich dip for the milk bread: a creative idea, yes, but fairly polarising. Some people can’t wrap their minds around eating raw yolk. Luckily, I love a good runny egg and so, while my partner wrinkled her nose at the dish, I was left with the lion’s share.
Next up was a trio of dishes: a colourful, rice-less Poke bowl filled with super fresh greens and thick slices of salmon and tuna; Gohan crackers (deep-fried rice crackers) with white asparagus, truffle, teriyaki, and onion; and an outstanding ostrich tataki, served with ginger, coriander sprouts, coffee jus, and carrot purée.
Five dishes down and they kept coming! The main course featured a sublime quartet: sweet and sour chickpea dahl topped with fresh onion, tomato, and a wonderful dollop of something creamy; soft lamb meat served with fresh flatbread; a plate of assorted sushi; and a hunk of corn prepared with cayenne pepper and Parmesan cheese.
The beautiful limited release wine range from Lourensford accompanied every phase of the meal, from the welcome MCC and first course Chardonnay 2017 to the meaty and decadent SMV 2016 (Shiraz, Mourvedré, Viognier).
Finally, dessert! We were treated to two plates: the white chocolate mousse with miso and sweet sesame seed crackers, served on a bed of jammy orange, and a honeycomb cheesecake with cinnamon, dusted generously with powdered ginger. I imagine that this latter dish could, again, be quite polarising because not everyone is a fan of straight-up ginger, which can be quite pungent. Yet again, however, I fell on the right side of divisive opinion and was able to tuck in while my partner compensated with more Chardonnay.
Over the course of the evening, we explored the length and breadth of Executive Chef Warren Carney’s talents and repertoire, and were wholly satisfied by the restaurant’s promise to deliver an “authentic and mouth-watering Asian feast”.
Décor, views, and ambiance
Purple Rayn’s restaurant, Phantom, is a little more toned down in décor than the guesthouse’s other communal spaces; delivering contemporary African lodge meets trendy industrial eatery, with its robust dark wood features, bare face brick walls, screed concrete flooring, and organic/African themed décor. The ambiance was warm, convivial, and inviting and the service friendly and super efficient.
The view from the rooftop restaurant is a real showstopper… as it should be given the guesthouse’s location in the thick of the Cecilia Forest.
Well worth a visit
Purple Rayn restaurant is well worth a visit if you’re keen for a diversion from Constantia’s usual array of coolly elegant restaurants and historical eateries. Make an evening of it and engage their full offering, starting with welcome cocktails in the cocktail bar and perhaps a starter of sushi prepared fresh and on the spot by their private chef, followed by an extravagant meal at Phantom, overlooking the gorgeous Cecilia Forest (and car park).
Purple Rayn is refreshingly bold and brave in its presentation and we’d definitely go back again for the lovely food, wine, and service!
For bookings and enquiries, please email email@example.com or call +27 (0) 21 110 0756