Phantom Restaurant at Purple Rayn, Constantia
Purple Rayn Boutique Guest House is a relatively new addition to the Constantia valley and offers a secluded and exclusive stayover and dining experience. The property, part of the Fortis Hotels group, is nestled high up on Bellevue Avenue, off Belle Ombre Drive. Once ensconced inside, you will find yourself overlooking the treetops of the valley and beyond.
Phantom Restaurant at Purple Rayn
The guest house has 12 luxury suites, however, on this occasion, we were visiting to experience one of the three eateries located onsite. Phantom is the Asian-inspired main restaurant and is led by head chef, Warren Carney.
Warren, a Silwood graduate, has worked at Kloof Street House and Madame Zingara now leads the team at Purple Rayn. The menu has a definite Asian feel to it but is peppered with interesting combinations and global influence.
Phantom restaurant is located at the top of the stairs once you have entered the guesthouse through the reception area. This positioning affords it the aforementioned views over the valley from the balcony area.
The dining space is minimalist with sleek glass-topped tables and black and white accents. The monochrome backdrop sets a chic atmosphere, with Euro-centric accents of plush velvet furnishings, pops of bright colours and patterns creating points of interest.
The menu is divided into Cold, Hot and Sweet and the idea is to choose a few from each and share.
From the cold menu, we started with a dish simply entitled Bread & Mayo – the dish resembled a ‘deconstructed’ mayo, all the elements on the plate, just not emulsified together. The result of egg yolk, truffle oil, a light shaving of Parmesan and a dot of mustard scooped up with crispy toasted milk bread was utterly sublime.
Indulgent, rich and quite simply, delicious.
Following this were various other bites from the cold menu; it would be tough to single dishes out as favourites, as we found everything to be equally delicious and exciting, an unusual occurrence, with a lot of menus providing hits and misses along the way.
The Diwali oysters, with crunchy accoutrements, were explosive with texture and flavour; the ostrich tataki was tender and accentuated by coffee, carrot and ginger pureés.
From the hot courses, we loved the juicy, tender Yakitori quail with a salmon roe and ginger side that you created yourself using a mortar and pestle. The miso dashi dish also delivered, with pops of bright sweetness from charred corn and silky smooth ramen noodles.
Asian desserts can often be polarising but these did not disappoint. We sampled small bites of all three of the desserts on offer and decided that the cheesecake with ginger, honeycomb and cinnamon was the overall favourite, with both of the other two choices running close seconds.
It is rare to sit down and enjoy a menu course for course but Warren Carney and his team have put together a very considered and thoughtful dining experience.
While things are plated beautifully this does not detract at all from the focus on flavour.
Seasonings were on point and flavour combinations were exciting without being overly ambitious (in a way that can sometimes have them bordering on curious).
Each dish had a balance of subtlety and elegance about it. It shows that they have been conceptualised and cooked by someone who is completely confident in their ability and comfortable in their chef’s whites.
Purple Rayn Boutique Guesthouse
9 Bellevue Avenue, Constantia, 7800
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