Wine and Dine @ Planet Restaurant (Cape Town)

The day after we dined at the regular restaurant, we went back at Planet Restaurant for their monthly wine and dine event. The wine of the night was sauvignon blanc, and tables were set around the room by local vineyards. The restaurant provided a trio of hors d’oeuvres.

I didn’t take any pictures because it was a rather formal social event… and I was already making a fool of myself stalking the mushroom dumplings, which were absolutely divine. There was a mango and fish ceviche that was rather boring but actually paired well with the wine. Then there was an ostrich carpaccio that was quite good, but impossible to pick up with the contraption to which it was attached.

30 minutes later, we were seated for the meal with wine pairings.

Asparagus: 9/10 amazingly fresh. The sauce was much lighter than it looked.

Pork croquettes: 7.5/10 It had a delicious flavor, but the fried exterior had no crunch… and this whole dish was cold! I’ve never had a cold croquette… maybe it was because of the delicious gelee on the bottom, but surely there’s a way around that?

Seared tuna salad: 7/10 Everything was very well made, and the ingredients were very fresh, but the fish wasn’t very high grade. This was also the 3rd cold dish in a row, and even the announcer (who had been talking about wine nonstop) apologized for the aggressively low temperature of the meal.

Lemon and mint sorbet: 10/10 This was one of the best palate cleansers ever. It was a little icy, but not only did it scrub my tongue, nasal passages, and throat of any savory flavors, but I think it cleansed my face.

Quail and aubergine: 9.5/10 The perfect quail that I’ve been waiting for. I think the menu only mentioned the quail being done two ways, but in addition to the succulent seared breast and buttery confit, I found some liver on the side. Shredded quail was also stuffed into the eggplant and fried. There were so many delicious elements to this dish. The only miss was a strange bread product at the bottom of the quail that was at once savory and sweet and dry… I have no idea what it was, perhaps a strange interpretation of stuffing.

Chèvre: 6/10 The chevre was creamy and smooth, and the fruits were good. But I’ve had better cheeses…

Fruits: 8.5/10 This whole dish was very good and fresh but rather confusing. Cut fruits were interspersed with jellies and sorbets. For some reason, the entire Mount Nelson group of restaurants is obsessed with papaya seeds. They’re good in small doses, but can be an assault on the senses when accidentally eaten with a mild fruit or a berry. This dish reminds me of the panna cotta at Bresca, but less well put together and sophisticated.

Overall, it was another great dining experience at Planet Restaurant. The wines were good, but not great. The whole experience took over 3 hours due to all the background about the wine, raffle, etc etc. I think the biggest weakness was actually pairing this meal with a wine like sauvignon blanc, which had trouble standing up to some of the bold flavors. I would much rather have this with 2 or 3 types of wine, or no wine at all.

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