|All images courtesy of Mount Nelson Hotel|
Lets for a moment talk "Portion size". When were you last at a place where the portions were just right? Where you could comfortably make your way through three courses without feeling the need to deflate at the end? I can tell you that that was a small but very important part of what made my dinner at Planet so wonderful, but I am skipping ahead to the end and that's not fair for anyone. Especially not you.
It starts with having a brilliant sister, who wows enough staff members into giving her a well-deserved "You make a difference" award, the "Employee of the month" accolade at The Mount Nelson Hotel. The next step for this is a plan for two sisters, whose relationship is a lot like dark chocolate: on a good day smooth and rich and on other days a little too bitter. With age the palette matures and dark chocolate becomes more of a pleasure than anything else. Days like those lead to plans like these. Both on the same page, equally in need of some comfort and pampering, we decided to use The Sister's reward of a "A night at the Nellie".
Luxury in the bedroom, luxury in the bathroom and to crown the whole occasion, luxury on the tongue as we headed downstairs for dinner at the Planet. A short wait for the rest of the guests, Mr Entertainment, Mr Fabulous and Ms Chatty, in Planet Bar with my virgin cocktail and some yummy nibbly things (oh, the maturity in my words often pains me). Final guest arrives and we wonder off down the passage of mirrors, star signs twinkling in the background as Mr Entertainment declares "That's my star-sign!" "You're Aries?" "No! Tauro" and with that the tone was set for the night
Champagne was served (a nice vintage of Appletiser for me) and a beautiful little plate of amuse-bouche delights was placed on the table. Tiny tastes from popovers to springrolls and our tastebuds were jerking the reins to get going. Looking through the menu only served to send their nostrils flaring as we diligently chose a range of dishes so that allowed us to taste as much of the menu as possible. I was intrigued and delighted to see an entirely vegan journey option as well as many vegan dishes to chose from. It's not often that fine dining and ethical eating meet in such spectacular ways.
From terrines to salads everybody shared, well except for The Sister, who held on tight to her collection of bite size morsels each one with salmon as their star ingredients. The brightest star in the starters was most definitely the crumbed and feta stuffed pepperdews that came with the smoked crocodile salad. My choice, the lentil salad, was surprisingly light and very refreshing. For a legume known for it's meatiness the salad turned out to be the perfect prelude to my main.
There too, with Liezl expertly guiding our galloping tastebuds in the right direction, we each picked a dish we could share. Blown away by the presentation and care that was taken to make each dish not only beautiful to the eye but colourful on the tongue. We were delighted by the potato foam served with the fillet, a cloud of comfort, tasting like home but with the texture of heaven. My star for this course had to be my very own kudu pie, how such a petite parcel could carry so much flavour without exploding was beyond comprehension. My kudu steak, butternut mash and the bean salad that came with it all served only to make the dish even brighter.
On to dessert and on most occasions this is the point where the tastebuds have come to a comfortable trot, the sky-carriage heavy from over indulgence, slowing down to an almost intangible pace. Not this time, flanks glistening from excitement at the thought of more delights in store, decision time came again and this time the good of the group was forgotten. The favourite pretasting was "The Nutty one" but having had it at Taste of Cape Town I was too curious, too intrigued by all the creatively named dessert on the menu to have the same thing again and so "Chocolate..." and it's description (chocolate souffle, chocolate mouse, salted caramel, chocolate bellinis...) won me over. The star, however, in this galaxy was by far The Sister's choice "Whiter shades of pale" Meringue, white chocolate, heaven, cream, magic...all on one plate.
Good chats, raucous laughter and great company were our companions on this journey, friendly and attentive service our guides and every moment was savoured and enjoyed.
The winter menu has now been launched, with the dishes I described saying farewell as the seasons change and with them the produce changes only to be replaced by what I can only believe will be equally inspiring dishes.
At R300 pp for a 6 course Journey menu, it is really worth every penny, the only part you will be disappointed by is, that at some point, you will have to land.