With music by Cyndi Lauper, several Tonys and a Laurence Olivier Award
Raya Kitchen at Mandela Rhodes Place
Dine like royalty at this stylish CBD hotspot
The word ‘Raya’ denotes ‘king’ in Thai. And the moment you set your eyes on the gold, black, grey and white laden interior at the newly opened Raya Kitchen in Cape Town’s city centre, you’ll know that this is the kind of restaurant where opulence and extravagance meet – a place truly fit for a rather royal experience.
Raya Kitchen was launched officially in February 2016 and sits pretty at the Mandela Rhodes Building in St George’s Mall – a strategic location (more on that later). The meals offered here have the traditional Thai style of sharing and tasting as many dishes as possible, something restaurant manager Felix Tellmann says is his favourite aspect of Thai cuisine, besides the food itself.
Speaking of which, when it comes to the culinary offering, there is nothing Raya Kitchen has not thought of. The menu is incredibly detailed, most items bearing a Thai name to reiterate the fact that besides going to Thailand itself, this is one of the most authentic Asian cuisine experiences you can get (this is also due to the fact that Kitima has flown in traditional Thai chefs to work at her restaurants). Seasoned Thai lovers can dive right into hearty and flavourful specialty dishes like the Pla Neng Ma Nao, which consists of a delicately steamed fillets of kingklip or salmon (patrons choose what they’re in the mood for) on Chinese cabbage with fresh chilli and lime broth; the crispy duck, which is de-boned and sliced and served with homemade duck sauce, pancakes, julienne spring onions, cucumber and carrots; or dim sum options like the Sui Mai, traditional Chinese dumplings of seasoned minced prawn and pork topped with salmon trout caviar.
Those trying Thai for the first time can ease into this unique and flavourful gastronomic world by choosing items in the appetisers section. This includes eats like spring rolls, prawns, calamari and more. It doesn’t even end there. The menu in general is seemingly endless with whole sections dedicated to noodles, soups, stir-fry’s, curries and vegetables – meaning that the opportunity to explore different eats goes far and wide.
And if that’s not enough, Raya Kitchen goes all out in the drinks section too. Reds and whites in the wine section have been selected based on their ability to pair with the zesty flavour of Thai cuisine. The menu even guides patrons by recommending a few pairings. And according to Felix, champagne is a great beverage to pair with Thai as “the bubbles cut through the infused oils of the chilli, leaving a refreshing finish on the palate” The cocktail offering also features must-tries like the Strawberry Rose Martini and the Sparkling Mojito ( you won’t regret if you are already a lover of the classic mojito and are accustomed to sweet drinks).
But the eye-catcher, the crème-de-la-crème, of the show other than the food itself is the décor. The gold, black, white and grey work beautifully together to create an incredibly sophisticated feel (meaning there’s also a smart-casual dress code to adhere to). The design is Thai-based, and there are even statues that have been imported from Thailand to give it a bespoke Asian feel. The layout of the restaurant features three different ‘zones’; the lounge area (great for business meetings, and cocktails after work to wait off traffic - great location), the upstairs and downstairs dining areas, and the bar – all coming together to create a distinct, enigmatic and charming ambience that will have you linger at the restaurant long after you’ve finished your meal.
And it seems that the future of the eatery is going to incorporate other exciting features that we can’t yet mention, meaning that you’ll just have to keep your eye on Raya Kitchen. More than that, though, why not experience the restaurant for yourself to see whether the elegance of the name itself in fact holds true.
Tip: The excellent waiters at Raya Kitchen know the menu inside out, so chat to them, ask them for recommendations and tips and they will be more than willing to assist.
The stunning venue is also available for hire. For bookings and more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call +27 (0)21 422 2266 or sms sms +27(0)60 944 5736.
The Bill: Food items range from R42 to R170. Cocktails range from R59 to R99 and wines are charged at various prices. For a detailed menu listing contact Raya Kitchen directly.
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday; 5pm – 10.30pm (kitchen only). Note that Raya Kitchen will soon open for lunch too. The reservation line is open from 11am daily.
Mandela Rhodes Building | 24 Wale Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 422 2266.
by Dudu Luthuli
#CapeTownMagNew is a long-standing project that is dedicated to discovering exciting new places in and around our pretty city. We tell their stories, find out what they offer, and delve into what makes them unique. From cafés and restaurants to trampoline parks and dog hotels, there is always one new place in the city that we uncover each week. You can follow #CapeTownMagNew on Twitter and Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter to track recent features or read more here about more Hot Spots and New Restaurants in Cape Town and Surrounds.
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