CAPE TOWN, 2014/05/13, Beer pairing in the Planet Restaurant, Mount Nelson Hotel. Reporter: Bianca / Picture: Adrian de Kock

Cape Town - Once upon a time, going to a posh hotel for a meal was a big deal. But then again, so was going to a show at the Three Arts, which was just as fancy as what was then the Nico Malan.

Times change, we have a lot more restaurants and options now, so dinner at a hotel is perhaps not a first choice. It shouldn’t be ignored, however, because there are so many of them that do food and wine pairing evenings. You benefit from the expertise of chefs and wine makers who put together the best combinations for your mouth, and these events are great opportunities to try wines without forking out for a whole bottle of something you don’t know whether or not you’re going to like.

Today I’m going to tell you about some I have attended, but first, a pairing evening that’s a little different – beer and fine dining. This is not monthly but nightly, although it only runs until the end of this week.

At the Planet Restaurant at the Mount Nelson, you get three courses matched with beers. This is a fine acknowledgement of the place craft beer is holding in the food world at the moment.

Executive chef Rudi Liebenberg’s menu begins with a symphony of cold smoked dusky kabeljou, herb mayonnaise and roasted cauliflower (this is after you have breads and crudités with dip and two amuse bouches) which is served with CBC (Cape Brewing Company) pilsner, which is on tap.

The second course is beef sirloin topped with a caramelised onion and beer sauce (with more on the side in a jug), cauliflower or celeriac puree, potato croquettes and baby vegetables, which you drink with Lumberjack amber ale.

The meal finishes with a twice baked blue cheese soufflé with roasted beetroot and toasted oat and nut crumble. It’s chosen to stand up to Skeleton Coast IPA (Indian Pale Ale); strong flavours complement each other, much like with wine.

l The beer and dine meal costs R395 a person. The Planet continues through winter with monthly food and wine evenings until the end of November. To book, e-mail [email protected] or call 021 483 1000. - Weekend Argus