A universe of taste

2011-05-13 15:08

The venerable old ­restaurant at the Mount Nelson, the Cape Colony, has ­undergone a major facelift to become The Planet.

Nice and fresh, sparkling with interplanetary symbols and carrying the theme of the popular Planet Bar to its natural conclusion, it is still a big space when crowded.

Chef Rudi Liebenberg, who until recently plied his trade at the Saxon in Johannesburg, is tempting jaded palates with his innovative cuisine.
The glitterati has flocked to the new space (if you will excuse the expression) and is fitting right in.

You can order à la carte, starting with something like a slow-cooked free-range egg – which Chef Liebenberg swears brings out the most concentrated eggy flavour – with local cured ham, matured gouda and pinotage reduction.

If you want something different, try a fresh play on tomatoes, exploring the versatility of this most popular ingredient ingeniously jellied, pickled and irresistible.

Smoked salmon has been given a fillip in different guises such as confit, tartare and parfait, all in the quest to open the taste buds to the pleasures yet to come.

Mains could be flame-grilled fillet of beef, with sautéed exotic mushrooms and potato foam, or pan-fried kingklip, with a rich pea risotto. Finish off with a palate-cleansing dish called Textures of Strawberry, with five different ways of satisfying the sweet fruit tooth.

Starters range from R65 to R195 (crayfish), mains from R150 to R295 (again crayfish, with abalone) and desserts around R70.

The degustation menu, aptly called The Journey, will take you wandering delightfully through five bite-size courses with coffee and friandises at a cost of R380 a head, and can be paired, should you wish, with specially selected wines at an extra R250.

A hefty price, but then this is, after all, of the best dining to be had in the Mother City.

The wine list is spectacular, with some really special treasures like a bottle of Vin De Constance 1988 at R22 500 – you will need to find treasure to buy it.

The service is slick and professional, low-key and friendly, as befits a place with this kind of clientele.

All in all, a great way to dine for the well-heeled, and for the rest of us when we really want to treat ourselves to something special.

Call 021 483 1000 to book

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