Roeland Street has a new kid on the block, and it’s pleasing crowds with fun, freshly prepared and tasty food. Linda Scarborough visits The Raptor Room for lunch.
Parking: Find a paid-for bay spot on Roeland Street or around the corner on Harrington Serves: Diner-style food with some South African twists and healthy options Best for: Casual, sociable meals with friends Star ratings: Food 4, service 3, ambience 4
The menu is up behind the counter, where you place your order before finding a seat. Pretty short and well-organised, it’s a gas to read through, filled with appealing small plates, sides and ditch-the-diet dishes like fried chicken and mac ’n cheese.
For a highly recommended lighter option, try F**k Bread, which is a beautifully plated dish of corn fritters with smoked jalapeño butter, heirloom-tomato salad, avo, coriander and mint salsa. It sounds simple and it is, but flavours abound in the great ingredients, beautiful salad dressing and zingy accompaniments. If you’re at a table with friends, why not share exemplary sweet-potato fries with aioli or go big with fries loaded with pork, jalapeños, gruyère and chipotle mayo. The titbits of popcorn chicken are tasty and moreish by the forkful (or handful), too.
Those more keen on the carb-laden diner fare might be pleased with the gatsby (foot or half) loaded with Jurassic pork, cauliflower atchar, hand-cut chips and all the trimmings, or the mac ’n cheese, which enjoys a good reputation, covered in golden breadcrumbs and served with your choice of lobster, smoked bacon or rooibos-smoked tomatoes. Get squirts of sauces (including aioli – yes, please) from the selection in the caddy against the wall. For dessert, The Doughnut is, sadly, not as successful as it sounds. The main event is good, light and cloudy and sprinkled with cardamom sugar, but the amasi custard and naartjie sorbet don’t play together well. The Sundae, with Peppermint Crisp, almond crumble, chocolate ice cream and burned butter toffee sounds good, and you might catch yourself smiling at the description of The G, a 72%-cocoa chocolate torte that comes with ‘builder’s tea’ ice cream.
The Raptor Room will, no doubt, pump for after-work drinks once the liquor licence is in place, but in the meantime you won’t be disappointed by the fun floats. The Beyoncé is pretty and pink and lusciously fresh, made with cold-pressed sparkling watermelon juice (heaven) and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. There’s also the very tempting Lola, with cherry cola and cherry ice cream, and Frank, made with orange sorbet and lemonade. Help yourself to water from the decanter on the counter.
Staff are cute and quirky, and friendly enough. The place is new, so perhaps things will feel more sleek and professional in time.
It’s a very small, glass-fronted space, with gorgeous leafy wallpaper and plastic ferns reminiscent of Jurassic Park to bring home the raptor theme. Lumo pink lighting writing adds a diner feel.
The Raptor Room serves a pretty mean brunch, too, offering eggs, bagels and bowls like the J-Bay, filled with peanut butter, honey and soy milk and topped with banana, sesame seeds, peanuts and blueberries.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.