The Raptor Room

Private Property South Africa
Molly Fitz-Patrick

A charming and quirky little restaurant has opened in the east side of central Cape Town, serving fun and interesting food.

Even in the daytime when its pink neon sign isn’t really visible, The Raptor Room still jumps out. While it may be cosy in terms of its physical space, it more than makes up for this in its sweet, eccentric, yet laid-back personality. Located on Roeland Street, it adds to the growing popularity of the east side of the city.

An outside image of the Raptor RoomThe quirky and stylish Raptor Room restaurant

The Raptor Room is the brainchild of Amy Lilley & Co. Amy Lilley knows food, and it has always been her dream to open her own place and serve her own dishes. She saved for about five years to make this dream a reality.

The Raptor Room is set up in the style of a diner, making good use of the space available. The windows that look out onto Roeland Street stretch from floor to ceiling and are all have bar-style seating. On a hot summer’s day the windows can be opened wide, allowing the light breeze and city sounds to drift in.

The decor is sweet and unusual. Each table has its own dinosaur-statue-cum-pot-plant, and cutlery and serviettes sit in a wide, paint-dipped glass jar. But the most striking look from the Raptor Room is an embroidered piece that hangs over its booth, complete with velociraptor heads and delicious monster leaves in embroidered florals and rich green fabrics.

dinosaur-statue-cum-pot-plant on a table at the Raptor RoomThe Raptor Room's unique dinosaur-statue-cum-pot-plant

While the unique and cool style of The Raptor Room may be the first thing you notice, it’s the food that’s the real winner. Initially, the menu appears small but there is such variety that it is in no way restricting. My friend and I ordered the House Ice Tea, both flavours were refreshing and, most interestingly, nostalgia-invoking. As someone who is almost always hungry, I decided to order the baba ganoush, the popcorn chicken with garlic and herb salt, and the sweet potato fries with aioli. The baba ganoush arrived first. It was served on a slim wooden board with baby carrots, sugar snap peas, mini mielies and home-made lavash (Middle Eastern flatbread). The dish was crisp and full of flavour. The popcorn chicken was crunchy yet tender, and the flavoured salt added something extra to the American classic. The sweet potato fries were soft and crispy, and the aioli was deliciously garlicky. My friend ordered the F*ck Bread; mielie fritters with a rocket and heirloom tomato salad, smoked jalapeno butter and mint salsa. When I tried it I immediately got food envy.

The Raptor Room is open from 11am (and has a brunch menu) until late and has something for everyone.

With its unique flair, fresh tasty food at reasonable prices and relaxed mood, The Raptor Room is definitely worth a visit.

Experience it for yourself:

  • The Raptor Room | facebook.com/theraptorroom | 79 Roeland Street, Cape Town | 087 625 0630

This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.

View more of the neighbourhood here:

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