Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Vue de Monde

Most of my reviews thus far have considered small suburban eateries or cheap and cheerful restaurants in the CBD. Today's review is in an entirely different category altogether - fine dining. Not just any fine dining - I would call this experience exceptionally fine dining. 

Where: Vue de Monde  (430 Little Collins St, Melbourne, VIC, 3000)
What: 10 course "Gastronomes Menu"
Rating: 19.5/20 

I'm normally not one to gush about restaurants, but I'm going to make an exception for Vue de Monde. As a special treat for a significant family birthday, my beloved, parents and I decided to celebrate with a dining experience at Shannon Bennett's illustrious eatery. "Experience" really is the correct terminology - this place is not just about the food - the ambiance, the expertise of staff and the quality of produce all combine in a true synergy of awesomeness! 

The menu was truly inspired and took us on a journey that started with a freshly chilled salad of heirloom tomatoes and concluded with mango licorice "cigarettes" complete with sherbet "ash". Particular highlights included: 

  • slow cooked beef cheek, accompanied by the most buttery, delectable slice of rare Waygu beef;
  • a quirky "not quite breakfast" dish, which involved a duck egg yolk, celeriac puree (these ingredients were plated to resemble a fried egg), sweetbreads, crusty sourdough, crispy fried onion and a generous helping of grated truffle; 
  • smoked eel with a white chocolate glaze topped with caviar;
  • the playful dessert options - especially, the "pop rock" crusted vanilla ice-cream and white chocolate "lollypop"; and
  • four delicious petits fours served with our tea (including the aforementioned mango cigarettes).

Now, I realise I haven't provided any photos of this purportedly amazing food. There are times, particularly in more formal dining settings, when I just want to enjoy the experience and not necessarily spend time recording the meal in graphic detail. I also feel particularly self conscious whipping out the camera in these sorts of establishments, not to mention potentially disrespecting the chefs' talent as an artist (could this be a violation of copyright?). This is why I'll likely not be providing any food photos of our meal at Noma next month. Speaking of Noma, we were thrilled to learn that the sous chef (I think!) at Vue de Monde previously worked at Noma - small world indeed! In any case, I do apologise for the lack of visuals, because I know too well the effect of photography in food blogs.

I digress. Not only was the eating experience at Vue de Monde truly sublime, but the service was second to none. I cannot recommend the restaurant more highly, for people open to new flavours and experiences. While the night was certainly not cheap, I felt the value for money was reasonable considering the fine produce and attention to detail paid to both the food and the diners. This was further evidenced upon our departure (believe me, we nearly had to be rolled out!) when we were presented with buttery brioche, fragrant breakfast tea, crunchy granola, cookies and strawberry jam to enjoy for breakfast the following morning (breakfast post to come, with images!).

Overall, Vue de Monde was an experience I won't forget in a hurry for all the right reasons. The restaurant proved to be the perfect way to celebrate a significant birthday with my dearest loved ones.

Vue de monde on Urbanspoon

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