Out of This World at Planet

11 Feb

The Planet restaurant at The Mount Nelson Hotel has a 5 course vegan tasting menu. This was one of the places that I was most looking forward to experiencing.

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It is a beautiful hotel with an amazing reputation and I was surprised (in a good way) that the chef Rudi Leibenberg had decided to go with the very risky idea of offering a vegan tasting menu in such a traditional hotel.

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Turns out it was one the best decisions he ever made. Apparently everyone is pleasantly surprised with the success of the menu. It seems that this forward thinking, open minded chef is leading the way. There is a definite change happening. Diners are moving towards a more health conscious, lighter way of eating.

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On the night we were there, he had a “chef’s table” of ten people all eating a specially designed vegan and raw tasting menu. And most of them were men!

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Apparently the chef’s idea was to challenge his team, to stop them being complacent. I, for one, am so glad he did this. Each of the six courses can be accompanied by a wine pairing that is vegan too. Who knew that there was vegan wine? I certainly didn’t.

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The fabulous sommelier and restaurant manager Carl informed us that he had actually embarrassed himself by laughing when a group of vegans asked if the wines were vegan too. He thought they were joking. It turns out they weren’t laughing.

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The highlight for me was the raw beetroot ravioli (above) stuffed with a cashew nut “cheese” purée and served with a tomato consommé. But all of it was gorgeous and all vegan. Thank you Rudi for being brave enough to go there. The rest are following, I can’t wait….

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12 Responses to “Out of This World at Planet”

  1. dassana@vegrecipesofindia.com February 11, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    amazing natalie…. i have never heard of vegan wine. chef rudi has some guts…..

    the beetroot ravioli is something i would love to have or rather make it at home….

  2. peasepudding February 11, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    Fantastic, I have been to a Japanese vegan dinner which was in incredible.

  3. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide February 11, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    Isn’t all wine vegan or would the fertilizer count against it? Anyway, this looks just incredible and what a beautiful setting.

  4. veggiegrettie February 11, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

    Natalie, these dishes are so inspirational. They are gorgeous, look like they taste amazing, and look incredibly healthy on top of that! I will be Facebooking this post on both Veggie Grettie and Chic Vegan’s Facebook pages.

  5. Andrew Forbes February 11, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    Your words and pictures really convey your experience.
    I’m so jealous!!! Look forward to seeing and reading more.
    Have a wonderful trip

  6. Chica Andaluza February 11, 2012 at 11:14 pm #

    Fabulous looking place and what a great experience. I too am a little confused about vegan wine though – how can it not be vegan (or is it, as Rufus/Greg asks something do do with the fertilisers?)

  7. thebigfatnoodle February 11, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    Sounds like an awesome place and menu. What’s the dish with all the mushrooms? It looks amazing.

  8. Three Well Beings February 12, 2012 at 6:34 am #

    Forward thinking for sure! What a beautiful setting, too. The ravioli looks incredible. I’m really surprised at what you found, and that it is successful! what a good thing! You are obviously having a wonderful time…thanks for sharing it :-) Debra

  9. Pat Ward February 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    fantastic venue, for what looks like a fantastic menu!!

  10. Louise Pheiffer February 13, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    Hello everyone,

    Thank you Natalie for the wonderful review of Rudi’s Vegan menu! Glad you enjoyed the menu selection and the experience as a whole.

    We noticed quite a few comments with regards to VEGAN WINES, and what defines a Vegan wine.

    Our sommelier at Mount Nelson, Carl Habel as offered the following explanation:

    Vegan wine is made using no animal-derived ingredients, as opposed to vegetarian wine, which permits the use of animal-derived additives, like egg white, as they do not involve harming or killing an animal to harvest the ingredient.

    or you can read more on the following website – very informative
    http://www.southafrica.net/sat/content/en/za/full-article?oid=348005&sn=Detail&pid=1

    All the best
    Louise Pheiffer – representative of the Mount Nelson Hotel

    • foodblogandthedog February 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

      Thanks for clearing that up Louise, you learn something new every day!

  11. Caroline Elliott February 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    Reference Hotel Planet Blog – I want to go there and I want to go there NOW! It looks exquisite, beautifully appointed and the colours, textures and presentation of the food is amazing. Is there an Hotel Planet in London? Anywhere?

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