Welcome to Melbourne Foodie. The blogspace of a young foodie with a passion for cooking, fine dining and quality food and produce.
Melbourne Foodie, along with the other sources I write for is my way of casually expressing and recording some of the experiences I have had for others to enjoy. I always welcome any feedback,
comments or restaurant suggestions you may have and would love to hear from you soon.
MUST VISIT SOON: Livingroom, Hare & Grace
MOST RECENT FEASTINGS: Pei Modern, Sarti, PM24, Vue de Monde
BLOG OF THE MOMENT: I Eat Therefore I Am
I am not going to waste any time in cutting to the chase about how I feel about Vue de Monde. In my humble opinion Vue is undoubtedly Melbourne's best restaurant. The food is exciting, unique and the taste of everything is sublime. The surroundings are beautiful. A good sized restaurant, well spaced tables, crisp linen, fresh tulips on every table, a restaurant decorated simply with modern and quirky touches, gorgeous Italian leather chairs, Laguiole cutlery and all the best glassware, as well as an open kitchen so you can watch the chefs perform their magic throughout the night, need I go on further. Everything about Vue de Monde is class, and guests are made to feel welcome from the moment they arrive. For the money you pay to dine here you expect the best on all accounts and what you receive is nothing less than that.
Walking in to Vue you are immediately made to feel special, everything moves so smoothly, and before you know it you are seated and the performance is about to begin. Vue de Monde is definitely a big night out restaurant, patrons dress up accordingly, ready to enjoy the next three or four hours - dining at Vue De Monde is the entertainment for the night, not just a meal, but also an experience. I still vividly remember my first dining experience at Vue de Monde. Sitting down and being greeted by my professional, yet witty waitress. Now young man you look like you've done a bit of research and know how it all works here, you just let us know how many courses you'd like to indulge in tonight and I'll see what the chefs can do. (I forgot to mention they are mind readers as well). After a quick discussion of budget (best not to have one), supplements, wine options and any allergies or dislikes you may have, your waiter leaves to write your menu. What can I be expecting tonight I ask? You'll have to wait and see - we don't want to ruin the surprise. That’s right, Vue de Monde doesn't have menus, you just choose between 5-14 courses and be prepared for a magical experience.
Something else I should mention is that Vue de Monde has a complex computer tracking system, which records your dining experiences and what you have been served to ensure that you receive a different meal each time you dine. It also stores waiters' comments so they know which dishes you loved, or didn't love to ensure you always have the best possible dining experience. How sophisticated can you get - they really want to make sure your experience is the best it can possibly be.
Now for the food: as well as being served amazing dishes at Vue de Monde you also get all of the extras: amuse bouches, palette cleansers, amuse gueles and exceptional petit fours - the little extras that we all love when eating out. But the food proper is what you want to hear about.
Some people have described the food here as hit and miss but in my four visits here I don't think that I have had a dud dish yet. The great thing here is that you are presented with all sorts of dishes, including things you may not normally order. Take for example the first course I was ever served at Vue De Monde: "bacon in egg" - sounds too simple and boring - it is neither of these things. What you get is a wonderful sweet, smoky broth, sitting in an egg shell, topped with a creamy egg sabayon with a crispy wafer thin piece of bacon atop, sided with a couple of soldiers. What a surprise - wonderful.
This is barely a start though. I could go on all night describing each dish in detail, but instead I will just summarise a few of the fantastic offerings.
Truffle risotto: Wow - a nice dollop of creamy and rich rice, topped with a very generous shaving of fresh French truffles. For those not so inclined to the taste or expense of the truffle an intense cepe version is available, using fresh cepe mushrooms and a cepe dust. Both are the real deal and are probably as good as risotto gets - the aroma of fresh truffles is one of those magical culinary experiences, and something which is savoured for a long time. There is a reason they are so expensive, the aroma and intense flavour they give a dish just take you to another world.
Dhufish & clams: Another sensational dish which I have been lucky enough to experience twice now is a sublime fillet of dhufish served with a couple of smoked surf clams, along with some fresh cepe/porcini mushrooms (a completely different texture and sensation to the dried variety) and a gorgeous basil foam/air, which looks wonderful and contrasts against the earthy and sweet flavours of the mushrooms and fish, providing another element to this dish. This truly is a sensational course.
Steak & Chips: Well sort of. Confit wagyu beef (grade 12+) slow cooked and served with crunchy, creamy chickpea frites, a potato soufflé, "test tube" of jus and some other elements that I cannot recall. This is one of the most delectable, tender pieces of meat I have ever eaten. And the way it is served is truly a work of art. I wish I could eat this everyday, and I would strongly recommend requesting this when you dine at Vue. Pictured is a slight variation to this dish but I'm sure you get the idea.
Palette Cleanser: You can expect a clear tomato consommé or sweet verbena lemonade, topped with dry ice, delivered to your table bubbling away and billowing with fog - what a wonderful concept and a tasty way of refreshing the palette.
I could describe so many other dishes but will leave it there for the savoury courses.
Desserts at Vue de Monde are also exceptionally good such as a delightful chocolate self-saucing biscuit, which just oozes out when you dig into it, soufflés which are perfectly light and fluffy, or other indulgences such as a rich, sweet, smooth, crumbly, indulgent chocolate and caramel millefeuille, which is rather like a well-known chocolate bar, only 100 times better. Just in case you haven't already guessed I kind of like chocolate a wee bit.
Their presentations of fromage are also exceptional such as creamy Brie, encrusted in "pizza dough" and baked in to little soufflés that just ooze out when you bite into the warm centre. Wow - they even make something as simple as a cheese turn into a memorable dish.
And the wonderful assortment of petit fours is not to be missed: you can expect chocolates, meringue, macaroons and other delightful miniature treats. The Illy coffee is also excellent.
I have also neglected to mention wine thus far, but must say that the sommelier does an excellent job. If the pocket allows ignore the hefty list and simply get them to match a fantastic wine to go with each dish and you will be rewarded throughout your meal with some of the best wines from around the world, particularly from France, of course.
Vue de Monde is one of those restaurant dining experiences that everyone must try at least once in their life. The food, service and ambience are all world class, and for the evening you dine you will be taken to another world and made to feel very special. All this however does come at a cost, but hey, you only live once. Save your pennies and enjoy yourself, it’s an experience that you will savour for a long time.
Thank-you to all of the team at Vue de Monde for a consistently outstanding dining experience. And to Shannon Bennett for your amazing cuisine and for taking the time to personally talk with me and inscribe and sign my copy of "My Vue". You guys rock!
Vue de Monde was awarded two chefs hats and a score of 17.5 out of 20 in the 2008 Age Good Food Guide, after receiving the highest ever score of 19 out of 20 in the 2007 guide. It seems that significant price increases (seen as greediness) may be part of the reason for the downgrade.
My score: 20/20 - The pinnacle of fine dining, a benchmark for all other establishments.
It is simply the best cuisine in Melbourne, but beware that you can be looking at around $400 per person for a degustation matched with wines. Not cheap, but you will somehow leave mesmerised, despite the bill.