Friday, August 18, 2006

Vue de Monde, Little Collins St, Melbourne

Vue de Monde, Little Collins St, Melbourne
Friday 18 August, 2006

I first experienced food by Shannon Bennett in January - there is no other way to describe it other than to say he is a genius.

After raving about this place to anyone who would listen I just had to return with my partner in crime. Fortunately they thought nothing of flying to Melbourne to have dinner there tonight. I know what you are, let me get this straight, you flew to Melbourne to have dinner at Vue De Monde? Well, there is no other answer but YES! The anticipation was immense........Would it be as good? Would we be disappointed?

The premise behind the experience as stated on their website reads, "Vue de monde is testament to the belief that restaurant food can be a wondrous, unforgettable experience. The philosophy at Vue de monde is to provide an individualised dining experience which is never to be repeated. This is achieved through dedication to the dining experience as a whole; from the sourcing of rare ingredients and an uncompromising approach to classical technique, to a commitment to the very best in restaurant service including crockery, cutlery and glassware."

On arrival we discovered that we had the same table (Table 2) which is set up to face the kitchen so it feels as though you are at the theatre. We were thrilled. The maitre'd remembered us (I don't know how or why) and we were welcomed like old friends. After soaking up the atmosphere, realising they had installed a mirror above the preparation area so that you can watch everything from a different angle and ordering champagne to kick off the evening, we were engaged by our waiter in a discussion as to any dietary requirements, food preferences, how many courses, matched wines etc.

Without much hesitation we decided to experience the Gourmand Menu - inspired by the days best available produce, with a menu tailored for our table creating a tasting style experience. We didn't have a clue what we were in for, but were happy to be led in whatever direction Shannon wanted.

The beauty of this experience is that there are so many complimentary items thrown in. First up was a single mussel served on a skewer coated in champagne jelly with champagne froth, later on we received Verbena lemonade served with dry ice so it was flowing like lava out of a volcano and finally pink grapefruit lollipops coated in lemon syrup. Each was innovative, the presentation was exceptional and the taste....delicious! The tasting dishes from our Gourmand menu were as follows:

- Papaya circles served with sea scallops tartare and Californian caviar
- Seared abalone set into a sweet corn taco shell with an avocado puree and diced tomato
- Classically inspired Western Australian Manjimup truffle risotto (this is my all time favourite dish - it is without a doubt the most spectacular dish I ever tasted)
- Foie gras powder with earl grey caviar and garlic croutons
- Hot smoked ocean trout with beetroot, celeriac bound with crab meat, celery leaves and grapefruit dressing (this was absolutely fantastic and would rate up there with the risotto)
- Tumeric spiced meringue encasing Manjimup marron, baked and dressed with vegetable carbon and daikon shoots
- Pork belly served with apple cider foam and pork rillette (again, this dish was amazing, the pork was so tender it melted in your mouth and the apple cider foam was the perfect accompaniment)
- Vue de Monde's steak & fries - wagyu beef served with thick cut chick pea fries and tomato relish (the ultimate steak & will be hard to go back to the pub)
- Brie de Nangis with deep fried blackcurrant jelly (I never thought I would say this but deep fried blackcurrent jelly is to die for and is so tasty with soft, stinky cheese)
- Demoulded Grand Marnier souffle with an apricot sauce
- Banana split 'inspired by the original', enhanced with schezwan pepper and a little touch of theatre (the presentation of this dish was brilliant. It came to the table in a tall cylinderndar that the waiter lifted slowly to reveal the layers of banana split that then fell in a small pile on the plate - it was to die for)
- A selection of coffee, teas, infusions and miniature teacakes

I'm not overstating things when I say each dish was phenomenal. Each mouthful was a taste explosion, the unique food pairings were magic, the presentation along with the plates (that are specially made for Vue de Monde) all add to the experience - it is faultless. The sheer brilliance of the wine team to be able to source and match wines to each unique dish is unbelievable. There were several moments during the evening when we both just stopped and said, 'how did he think of that?'.

I have to say in all honestly that I have never experienced a restaurant like this in Australia or any part of the world. It is by far the best.

Vue de Monde - 430 Little Collins St, Melbourne - (03) 9691 3888


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Steph, love your blog, great reviews. We're off to Tetsuya this weekend from Melbourne but have almost been turned by your review of Vue de Monde! Was wondering if you've been to the Fat Duck just outside of London, sounds very much like Vue, they do incredibly innovative things with their food, think you would love it. Keep up the great work!

9:13 pm  
Anonymous StrandedInCanberra said...

Can I take you on this?
Are you sure that Vue De Monde far surpasses Tets?

Even when taking into account decoration, cuttlery, wine matching and ambience? Tetsuya comes with a built-in Japanese bonsai garden, sliding door and low table.
It's hard to envision anything that could beat this kind of restaurant.

I am fully aware of Vue De Monde excellence but better than Tets?
Somehow I doubt it is that good..

3:55 pm  
Blogger Steph said...

Hi strandedincanberra,
Thanks for your posts! I love a good debate and welcome your view.
Didn't make it to Fat Duck on my last visit - it's on my ever growing list of 'must visit' restaurants.
I'm thrilled you enjoyed Tetsuya and would love you to write back when you visit Vue De Monde to offer your comparision.
Can you suggest any places of interest or your favourite spot in Canberra?

9:00 am  

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