Purple Rain serves, from left, barriga, avocado cloud, Spanish “famous” Padrón peppers and biryani in tapas form.
Purple Rain Restaurant and Lounge
3550 Mall Blvd., Duluth
• Open since: January
• Location: Purple Rain is off Pleasant Hill Road and Mall Boulevard near Gwinnett Place Mall.
• Hours: 11:30 a.m. to midnight Sundays through Thursdays and 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays
• Owner: Rachel Tran Lam
• Atmosphere: Walk in the door and you will channel your inner Prince — but don’t expect to hear that soundtrack played here. The color purple floods the lights, carpets and linens, but doesn’t overpower your senses.
ON THE MENU
• Calamar la plancha — Seared squid, Bibb and red leaf lettuce, pea shoots and sultana Vinaigrette, $6
• Bistec piperade — Seared hanger steak, slow cooked sweet pepper-onion and celery root salad, $9
•Risotto fritti — Risotto croquets, mozzarella and romesco sauce, $7
• Paella for two — Saffron paella rice, crab, shrimp, clam, calamari, chicken and Spanish chorizo served in paella pan, $26
The bar lights up with a grand display of liquors, the lounge is off-white and open while the dining room is intimate with a darker paint scheme. They like to call it “comfortable chic.”
“We’re not pretentious or over the top, but we’re still nice,” General Manager Amyn Bana said. “Comfortable is the main idea. We want people to enjoy themselves while they’re here.”
Some may feel slightly out of place at Purple Rain, but they shouldn’t. Children on their best behavior are welcome. There are high chairs available for tots and the staff recommends sharing paella with younger guests. It’s mild enough for them and equally tasty for the adults.
• Menu: Purple Rain serves a selection of tapas ranging from vegetarian to shellfish to meat and dessert. Although tapas is of Spanish origin, the restaurant also pulls influences from Thailand, Mexico and Greece for a tasty trip on your palate.
Many of the plates have fun stories behind them, like the Spanish “famous” Padrón peppers, which is named for a city in Spain. In this Latin country, friends gather in bars or restaurants and order a platter of these peppers. They are pan roasted and lightly coated with olive oil and sea salt. Every one in the group eats a pepper and whoever bites the hottest one buys the next round of drinks.
As they say in Spain, “Os pementos de Padrón, uns pican e outros non,” or Padrón peppers, some are hot and some are not.
The menu is made with the freshest ingredients and every plate is made in house. It changes five times a year: early summer, late summer, fall, winter and spring. Executive chef Michael Persichetti strives to cook with the best produce available.
• Things you might not know: Purple Rain offers a dessert called the Purple Rainmaker that costs $1,000. It is made of Crillo chocolate soufflé, chocolate truffle, gold nugget streusel and is served with a seven carat amethyst necklace. They have sold three since opening.