Venues

The Planet Restaurant at the Mount Nelson

The Planet Restaurant at the Mount Nelson
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Cost
R170 - R200 avg main à la carte; 5 course dinner R595; with wine pairing R995
Ambience
Classic elegance
Food
Fine-dining food, Modern, South African, Vegetarian
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
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Critic's review

Eat Out

Food
This year found chef Rudi Liebenberg looking at the classics, in a menu titled Old days nowadays. The feeling is of old-school, heritage type hotel dining, featuring classic dishes like seafood cocktail, beef tartare and traditional snails. A standout was the traditional Caesar salad, a crispy and fresh delight with shaved parmesan and an authentic Caesar-dressing. On the mains side of things, the famous Nelly beef en croute still takes pride of place – dive into grilled sirloin smothered in duck liver, served with spinach and mushroom duxelle and wrapped in golden puff pastry. Vegetarians could opt for the roasted brinjal or the decadent gnocchi tossed with exotic mushrooms, truffle oil and slow-cooked egg. Of course there’s also traditional steaks from the grill, like the ribeye with a Bearnaise sauce – although it must be said that the accompanying chips were a bit of a let-down.

Drinks
They offer a strong wine list, and of course there is a very wide selection of tipple to order at the stylish Planet bar – ask sommelier Pearl Oliver for some guidance.

Service
Service levels may vary, but in general you’ll find good, old-school service from staff that have been here for years. If you’re lucky enough to encounter sommelier Pearl, you’ll be mesmerised by her wine knowledge.

Ambience
Stylish and sophisticated, with a striking planetoid theme. The bar is certainly one of Cape Town’s places to see (some celebrities) and be seen.

And …
For special occasions, the chef’s table is a great bet.

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food
  • Eat Out

    Food
    This year found chef Rudi Liebenberg looking at the classics, in a menu titled Old days nowadays. The feeling is of old-school, heritage type hotel dining, featuring classic dishes like seafood cocktail, beef tartare and traditional snails. A standout was the traditional Caesar salad, a crispy and fresh delight with shaved parmesan and an authentic Caesar-dressing. On the mains side of things, the famous Nelly beef en croute still takes pride of place – dive into grilled sirloin smothered in duck liver, served with spinach and mushroom duxelle and wrapped in golden puff pastry. Vegetarians could opt for the roasted brinjal or the decadent gnocchi tossed with exotic mushrooms, truffle oil and slow-cooked egg. Of course there’s also traditional steaks from the grill, like the ribeye with a Bearnaise sauce – although it must be said that the accompanying chips were a bit of a let-down.

    Drinks
    They offer a strong wine list, and of course there is a very wide selection of tipple to order at the stylish Planet bar – ask sommelier Pearl Oliver for some guidance.
    Service: Service levels may vary, but in general you’ll find good, old-school service from staff that have been here for years. If you’re lucky enough to encounter sommelier Pearl, you’ll be mesmerised by her wine knowledge.

    Ambience
    Stylish and sophisticated, with a striking planetoid theme. The bar is certainly one of Cape Town’s places to see (some celebrities) and be seen.

    And …
    For special occasions, the chef’s table is a great bet.

    October 2015

  • Eat Out

    Food
    Rudi Liebenberg’s offering just gets better and better every year. Few chefs can match him for commitment to sustainability and sourcing hero local ingredients, and now he’s also showing a very creative, delicious approach to diners’ multitude of dietary requirements, including vegans. Standouts on the menu include a playful Dr Seuss-esque ‘green egg’ – soft-poached egg served on pork belly and chorizo and covered in a bright spinach purée, a smooth and crunchy and moreish delight – and the chef’s signature springbok loin served with a chakalaka croquette. The latter is perfection on a plate: the beautifully pink meat surrounded by little onion ‘cups’ filled with demi-glace. Everything is gorgeously presented yet never finicky, with flawless technique and real flavours remaining a top priority.

    Wine
    Truly an excellent selection, with more than forty wines available by the glass (including a couple of fine MCCs) and a wide range, from high-end farms to smaller, lesser known producers. Allow the personable, approachable sommelier Pearl Oliver to assist if needed – she has some spot-on suggestions.

    Service
    A class act of old-school service from a group of welcoming and knowledgeable yet unobtrusive staff members.

    Ambience
    The décor itself is an experience – it’s a very luxurious, inviting space with a strong planetoid theme. Think star-mapped carpets, glass globes and geometrically arranged furniture. It’s a grand spot to do a bit of celeb spying…

    (August 2014)

  • Chef Rudi Liebenberg creates modern food with roots in the rich heritage of the Cape. Highlights: slow-cooked egg with prosciutto, pea purée and parmesan; kabeljou with squid ink ravioli, chorizo and creamy mussels; savoury goat’s milk cheesecake. Ask the effusive sommelier for his expert advice. The setting is spectacular, with constellations of glass baubles and stars beneath the high domed ceiling. (EO 2014)
  • Food
    Chef Rudi Liebenberg creates modern food with roots in the rich heritage of the Cape, shining the spotlight on the area’s world-class producers. Choose from the à la carte menu, embark on a journey menu for four courses, or opt for the five-course ‘from the earth’ vegan and vegetarian menu. Planet’s seasonal crayfish menu of dishes each paired with chenin blanc is a notable touch. A starter of slow-cooked pasture-reared egg with salty prosciutto, sweetish pea purée and slivers of sharp parmesan is beautifully balanced in taste and texture. The generous portion of farmed kabeljou for mains is laid on striking black squid ink ravioli with punchy chunks of chorizo and mussels in a creamy sauce - deft interplay yet again between textures and flavours. Other options from the à la carte menu include pan-fried trout with gnocchi, Malay chicken with lemon atchar, crowd-pleasing rib-eye with hand-cut fries, and springbok with vegetables and a sweet potato and butternut pave. The main portion of mushroom and brinjal bake with babaganoush seems on the petite side, but perhaps this is because it had to be ordered off the five-course vegetarian menu – there are no meat-free options on the à la carte. For dessert, the lightness of a lemon financier is countered by intensely rich beurre noisette ice cream and almond praline with a cute mini macaroon. A welcome choice for those with a salty tooth is the savoury baked goat’s cheesecake, which is creamy and flavoursome.

    Wine
    An impressive list features extraordinary variety. Two pages of each wine varietal, plus a good selection of blends and bubblies, will leave you with more than a handful of options fighting for favourite. Ask the sommelier for his expert advice.

    Service
    Service is polished, if a little irregular. The effusive sommelier, Carl Haber, is keen to show off his impressive knowledge, but waiters are a little too few and far between on a quiet winter’s evening.

    Ambience
    The setting is truly spectacular and whisks you into another world deep inside the grand old Nellie. Guests are mostly groups of older tourists keen to try some of the best fine dining the city has to offer, as well as hotel guests, with one or two tables of younger couples on a romantic date. Juxtaposed with the peach-coloured colonial charm of the hotel, Planet follows through on its name. A giant chandelier is a constellation of hand-blown glass stars, the carpet has a galaxy of blues and silvers, and glass baubles dangle like planets beneath the high white domed ceiling reminiscent of a planetarium. Glass pane doors open out into garden for summer evenings, but in the depths of winter the vast interior is still cosy and the gas fire flickers companionably.

    And...
    Have a drink beneath the star-lights in the vibey Planet Bar before dinner. (Linda Scarborough, July 2013)

User reviews

  • We did the chefs table lunch with a group of friends and it was one of the best dining experiences i have ever had. The food was amazing. The service top notch and great to have a friendly knowledgeable sommelier to choose some nice wines to go with each course. With each of the courses one of the chefs came to explain the dish and how it was prepared. It was also great to see Rudi and his team in action in the kitchen. Will definately be back!
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  • Our booking was early as the 8 o’clock sitting was full and we were told to be seated by 7 o’clock or our table would be forfeited (I received this info per e-mail confirmation). However, it was good to have an early booking as we could then have better service, as at the Mount Nelson, there was a paucity of staff.

    The table was a solid cherry wood table with white place settings (no table cloth which would hide the solid cherry wood) and plenty of cutlery of various sizes. An interesting array of breads arrived in a long narrow white china dish. Sour dough, a very mild rye and 2 slices of seed loaf.

    Amuse Bouche was then brought to the table – this was a two-some, a small dish filled to overflowing with the freshest crisp miniature vegetables consisting of a teeny orange carrot and one teeny black carrot, a miniature lettuce and asome other unknown vegetables and leaves. This was full of mystery but oh, so fresh and crisp, as if just picked or dug up from a tiny fairy garden of Bonsai. This veggie special surprise was accompanied by an equally small wooden bowl of freshly made guacamole – all of this was exciting stuff was very tasty, but the show–stopper was the 2 small rounded beef carpaccio portions which contained a bit of goat cheese, carrot and topped with watercress and 2 little cracker sandwiches filled with avocado mousse – also served in a long white china dish.

    For my first course, I chose the “Carbonara”: ‘home-made linguine, with a slow cooked pasture reared egg, crispy pancetta and slivers of thinly cut parmesan cheese’ – it was “morish” – I could have had more - another dish of this and cancelled my main course. It was sheer delight with so many flavours and textures. This was served in an enormous wide white china dish with the delightful treat in the middle. The dish was outstanding with the crispy pancetta on top - the crowning glory of the dish.

    My wife had the “Abalimi bezekhaya plate” starter which consisted of a salad of fruit and vegetables which she said was was “OK” – but nothing like mine. I researched Abalimi Bezakhaya and found that it means "farmers of home" and is an urban agriculture and environmental action association operating in the socio-economically neglected townships of Khayelitsha, Nyanga and surrounding areas in the Cape Flats. http://www.capetowngreenmap.co.za/blog/abalimi-bezekhaya

    Her main course of grilled Chalmar beef was served on a hot rock, with green peppercorn sauce in a separate jug and crisp vegetables and chips in a side dish. Chalmar beef is free of artificial growth promotants or antibiotics at time of harvest stress free on the farm. I tried some of the chips and had a bite of the ‘Biefstuk’ which was done to perfection. She didn't use the peppercorn sauce and preferred to eat the beef as it was – a good choice.

    My main course, which I had with a glass of 2011 Morgenhof Cabernet Sauvignon – a very good choice was “mushroom crusted lamb loin, lamb tongue, kofta, sweetbreads with carrot and turnip, parsley butter, salsa verde and pickled kohlrabi”. The plate was a sight to behold, a bright red platter plate with the ingredients of the course beautifully plated in the centre. It was a feast for the eyes. Unfortunately I found it a bit too rich. Anyway I enjoyed the feast for the eyes and the interesting flavours like the salsa verde and pickled kohlrabi were great and refreshing.

    Chocolate sweets were offered after the meal.

    Rated low in hospitality due to average service and unprofessional staff
    Chef was Rudi Liebenberg – a very adventurous chef really pushing culinary boundaries.

    Our bill came to R760,00 with tip for the two of us.
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  • What a lovely experience at Planet Restaurant Mount Nelson, Flavour, texture and presentation of food is excellent. Great service accommodated with the Sommelier. Even if you are a meat lover the Carrot and Butternut Ravioli is a MUST ! The wine and dessert paring compliments each other. This restaurant has amazing standards thanks to Chef Rudi and his team.
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  • We visited the Mount Nelson Hotel Planet Restaurant this past Saturday to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary. What can I say? Celebrating such a special occasion in such a special place is truly amazing. From the minute you walk into the Hotel Foyer to the minute the concierge closes your valet parked car door behind you and waves goodbye as you leave the service is impeccable! The restaurant personnel are fantastic, friendly courteous and very knowledgeable on the wine selection. Menu items are explained with passion, in detail and with so much enthusiasm you want to eat everything. We were treated to a 4 course meal with a special celebratory surprise slipped in by the chef as a special treat (news travels fast to the kitchen it seems on occasions like these). We got treated to warm freshly baked bread and an unexpected selection of canapés once seated. That set the mood and clearly made us realize this is going to be one food journey we won’t forget soon! Each and every course that followed was nothing short of radiating with passion and skill. The seasoning was perfect, hot food hot, cold food cold and everything exactly where is should be with flavours complimenting each other on each plate. Beautifully presented each time round with a wow factor on each plate that wants you to frame it rather than eat it. You can see hours of skill and labour went onto each dish, perfectly prepared and plated with a special mention to the knife skills of the chefs on perfect Julienne Brunoise and everything else that was rectangular, square or triangular. A special thanks to Chef Jaco who came to check on us before dessert and cheese was served, Emmanuel and Clint Manager and Maitre’d who made us feel like royalty with perfect non intrusive service and with their excellent recommendations all round on our food and wine Voyage! We will be back soon for dinner, the food is so good you can’t wait for a reason to celebrate and deprive yourself of this amazing food experience.

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  • Amazing food. Small portions but very rich and surprisingly filling. Very relaxed atmosphere and service is impeccable.

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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Accommodation
  • Booking required
  • Cocktails
  • Dress code
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Parking
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

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