To be fair to the staff we turned up at Raphael's just after 2.00 pm without a reservation and after checking with the kitchen were shown to a table on the balcony. In-line with the South African aversion to the sun, the balcony is under cover - so shady (and windy), even though the view was great. Service was attentive and quick without initially seeming rushed. Sparkling water soon appeared and a nice bottle of well-cooled sauvignon blanc followed shortly afterwards. Pea and mint risotto with parmesan crisp was a disappointing starter (certainly not in the same league as Bread & Wine) and while the crisp was good the risotto itself was too uniform in taste and consistency to be interesting. The Caprese tomato and buffalo mozzarella salad with pesto was well presented and tasty. For mains we both chose the deep fried calamari were served with a tasty tartar sauce and seasonal salad. The portion size was good but the batter on the calamari was too heavy and detracted from the taste of the seafood. By the time the calamari arrived, we were the only diners left on the balcony so service was over attentive to the point that we felt we were being rushed so staff (there seemed to be plenty of them) could finish their shift. The bill arrived in double quick time and we moved to the deli for coffee - this was brilliant; sheltered from the wind, some warm sunshine, amazing carrot cake to accompany my espresso and as much time as we wanted. Needless to say, we lingered for some time.
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