We actually ate at Planet Restaurant twice, mostly because we felt lazy, and it was happily situated inside the Mount Nelson Hotel.
Both instances were excellent. I will describe them separately.
The first time we ate there, we were well aware that we had a reservation for the wine and dine event the next night, but the a la carte menu looked sufficiently different from the prix fixe, so we went for it.
The hallway leading to the restaurant had lots of baubles resembling planets. The astronomy theme continued with the chandelier.
Canape trio: 8/10 black pudding samosa, carrot with pumpkin seeds, duck with brown pudding sauce. The black pudding samosa was one of the most enjoyable bites of black pudding I've ever had. I eat almost anything, but black pudding is usually on the edge... somewhere between banana and paper, but this was quite good.
The pureed carrot, on the other hand, did not go very well with the roasted pumpkin seeds. Perhaps I had one too many carrot soups with pumpkin seeds in the bush.
Duck was great. It was a little gamey, but it was very delicious. Everything was a little more gamey in Africa probably because the animals didn't live in a cage with a spigot full of bolus-like feed.
At this point, my bf was still reeling from watching lions feed (it was quite disgusting, but I will not share the gory details on a food blog), so he wanted a main dish with seafood. I had no choice but to go with the red meat. The sommelier was rather stumped because we wanted to share one bottle of wine. He finally decided on Rijk's pinotage. Pinotage is a South African creation. Because of its hybrid nature, it's still full bodied, but not as overpowering as a purebred pinot noir.
My complimentary cauliflower and parsnip soup: 7/10 It was as good as any soup I've had... not in the bush. It's really hard to beat the soup in the bush. I don't know why... maybe soup is just comforting when you're out in the wild, and sitting at a polished table with a white cloth detracts from the soup.
Avocado salad with grilled mozzarella: 8/10 The grilled mozzarella was a nice touch... and is that katafi around it?! But the cheese here just wasn't up to par - the mozzarella was a little too firm. I really liked the peppercorns at the bottom of the salad. They gave a nice kick and contrasted from the mild creamy tastes of avocados and cheese.
Springbok: 10/10. In case you're wondering what springbok is, it looks something like this:
You see, in the wild, they claimed to cook a lot of things.... including pork and chicken, which I never saw near the Masai, so I could only assume that I was eating warthog and guinea fowl. However, no one claimed to serve zebra or donkey, so I'm pretty sure that I never had springbok. And that's why I went for the red meat dish.
Well it turned out to be absolutely amazing. It was incredibly lean and tender. It was basically a more flavorful filet mignon. The honey glaze was light, and made more complex by the beetroot jus. The yellow rounds are "croquettes" that tasted more like cross sections of spring rolls. The whole dish with the pureed, cut up, and juiced tubers tasted very wintery, which nicely complemented a protein that's never seen frost.
Seafood pappardelle: 6.5/10 It was freshly made, seafood was fresh, but it was nothing special. And it was my bf's fault ordering things that he could have had at home!! Well actually it was the fault of the zebra.... but anyway...
Chocolate banana with peanut praline: 8/10 My preferred form of banana - mixed in with chocolate. Enough said.
After this meal, we were looking forward to the wine and dine event!