Vue de Monde, Melbourne CBD

3 December 2010
by Phuoc

I have always wanted to dine at Vue de Monde. I remember the first time I was browsing their website; as I watched the plating of the dishes on the slide show, there were oohs, ahhs and moaning coming from me that Ant told me to be quiet because I was getting a little too carried away with all the sounds that I was making. On a recent trip to Melbourne, I decided to finally treat myself to lunch here.

As soon as I was seated, one of the waiters grabbed a hangbag hook for me to use before I could get mine out; I thought it was a very nice gesture as I’ve never been offered a handbag hook at a restaurant before. The waiter runs through the menu options with me, he explains that there’s an a la carte or a degustation menu (starting at 5-courses). I was set on having the 5-course degustation as it was only $100 during lunch but I was talked into having the 10-course gastronome menu; the ultimate dining experience. I learnt after I’ve decided that it was going to cost me $250! Ouch! Oh well.. Might as well go all out since I am here right?

The decor of the restaurant was sophisticated yet slightly quirky at the same time. I loved the feature of the deconstructed wine glasses (which held small succulents) hanging from the ceiling and the mixture of colourful handmade water glasses placed amongst all the tables.

I was seated about two tables away from one of the kitchen pass which had a big mirror above the station. Throughout my lunch, I enjoyed watching the chefs plate up the dishes; everything was so intricately placed on the plate and I was amazed by how calm the kitchen was, there was no cursing or yelling to be heard at all.

Soon after I decided to go ahead with the 10-course gastronome menu, a few appetisers and freshly baked bread were brought out to me. A few green, plump olives were served in a recycled wine bottle bottom (another was used for the pits) and a container which had two compartments stacked on one another held some handmade potato crisps and sour cream with salmon roe and caviar. The chips were crispy and the sour cream was light and creamy.

I hadn’t started with my appetisers yet and 3 amuse bouches were brought out to me almost instantly.

First up was the white truffle marshmallow which was served on a slab of rock. It was like eating a soft pillow of air with the taste and smell of truffle being very subtle in this small morsel. The addition of the crumbs to coat the marshmallow provided a slight contrast in textures.

Next up was the blue fin tuna served in two forms; one was served with caviar and sake foam and the other was tuna marrow with edible sand. As I popped the spoon of tuna into my mouth, I felt I could taste the ocean in that mouthful; the tuna was fresh and the foam and caviar added some saltiness. I was told that the marrow was scraped from the spine of the tuna and served with an oyster cream (this way they respect and use every part of the animal – even the bones were used as a striking form of presentation). This was the first time I had tuna marrow and it wasn’t as oily or gluggy as I thought it would be, the flavour was actually quite light.

The vegetable terrine is made of thinly rolled ribbons of cucumber and apples and it is served with a dill oil and pickled rose. It was a refreshing dish with lots of crunch to it, the sweetness of the apples is cut with the slightly tart pickled rose.

The first course of the gastronome menu was brought out to me by one of the chefs. He starts explaining the different components of the apple and fennel salad to me; on the bottom is a layer of buttermilk, laying on top of that is a thin apple gel with different cuts of fennel and apple neatly piled on top and little droplets of caramelise apple sauce are spotted around the plate.

Playing with a classic combination, the chefs jazz it up a bit by presenting the core ingredients in a new light. The addition of buttermilk provided a creamy tang which was a little unusual at first but the sweetness of the thin apple gel and caramelised sauce tones the tanginess down.

The smoked eel with white chocolate and apple dish was again brought out to me by another chef (this occurred throughout my entire lunch and was only put on hold when it was a little busier during the middle of service). Looking at the dish you probably wouldn’t be able to see the white chocolate component but I can tell you that a white chocolate tuile encases the block of smoked eel which provided a delicate crunch. At first you would think that the pairing of white chocolate with fish is odd but I think the reason why it worked was because the white chocolate was not sickening sweet and it was used sparingly. Apples were served in two different ways; wafer thin pieces of slightly poached apples lined perfectly to form a terrine and crisp apple ribbons rolled into mini scrolls.

I see a wooden box on the kitchen pass. A chef reaches in for something that looked like a spatula. He has another object in his hands and slowly makes his way over to my table. He places a dish down and presents to me a beautiful dish of fried duck egg, lamb sweetbreads and asparagus. The object reveals itself to be white truffle sourced from Alba, Italy; which was generously shaved it onto the dish. Ribbons of asparagus were intertwining between spears of white and green asparagus, lightly fried lamb sweetbreads and bite-size pieces of croutons; and hidden in the middle lays a slow-cooked duck egg yolk which sits on a potato and white asparagus foam.

Where do I start to describe this dish? It was simply spectacular, every component worked perfectly together; I wish I had more of it. The yolk was nice and gooey, the potato foam was irresistibly light and delicate and the sweetbreads were cooked to perfection with the texture being very similar to (dare I say it?) Macca’s chicken nuggets (I’m sorry but there’s no better way to explain it). Stunning!

Drawing inspiration from the Heide gardens at the Heide Museum of Modern Art, the Heide vegetable garden dish is truly a work of art. The ingredients used in this dish actually come from the Heide kitchen garden. Columns of cucumber ribbons were arranged perfectly on the plate with a handful of broad beans, the chef that brought this dish out to me even explained the many edible flowers that were on this dish (unfortunately I can not remember all the names of them).

Accompanying this dish was a light pear consomme and an olive oil powder and crushed musk mixture. The chef briefly explained that the powdered olive oil is prepared by combining olive oil with tapicoa starch to allow the olive oil to be absorbed before it is processed to a fine powder; the powder would simply dissolve once it hits the mouth or the consumme. Both these elements added a slight sweetness to a dish which would normally be regarded as just pretty. I loved how I kind of had a role in combining the dish together at the table by mixing the powder with the consumme to create an elegantly, fruity dressing for this picture perfect salad.

A celery sorbet and lime and elderflower granita clenser was brought out to cleanse the palate before I move onto the more substantial courses. The granita had subtle tones of lime but the strikingly vivid celery sorbet really tasted of celery and I was surprised by how refreshing it was.

Next dish was roasted marron, crab and radish. The most interesting point of this dish was the amount of different forms of radish present; raw, pan roasted, crispy leaves and radish crisp, I liked the radish crisp as it was like eating a soft sheet of toffee only to have bits of it get stuck to your teeth. I’ve only just discovered what marron was recently and I can’t believe I’ve missed out on it all this time; marron is similar to lobster but the flesh is much sweeter. In my opinion I think the marron overshadowed the crab because I didn’t realise it was there until I received an email of the menu.

A chef makes his way over to my table to present a dish covered with a glass cloche, underneath was a hazy plume of smoke. He would then lift up the cloche, sending aromatics into the room, and as the smoke dispersed a kangaroo and chocolate dish reveals itself (I failed in taking a nice picture of this as my camera was out of focus when I was taking the shots – d’oh!). I loved the theatrical presentation of this dish; it was mysterious and as if the chefs were saying “Ta dah…”

The kangaroo was served a perfect medium rare and was rather tender and juicy, and for those who’ve never had kangaroo before it is like beef but the juices are much meatier and sweeter in my opinion. Served along side this was a chocolate soil and parsnip crisps; I was extremely intrigued by the combination of chocolate and kangaroo together but it was absolutely perfect.

The last course of the savoury items is beef cheek (left) and Blackmore wagyu beef (right). The beef cheek was cooked for 16 hours resulting in an ultra tender piece of meat, which was served alongside beetroot and the smoothest and creamiest mash potato. A sauce made up of smoked marrow and cranberries was poured over the slice of wagyu beef at the table. With a marble score of 9, it is expected that this slice of beef would melt in the mouth and it did! The accompanying sauce was divine, the cranberries gave a nice juicy zing to the beef; who would have thought that these two items would be a match made in heaven?

It was the end of the savoury courses and a waiter comes to clear all the crockery, when he returns he placed a wooden box and a small silver plate on my table, he tips the dancer over and in its hands is a toothpick! What an ingenious idea! I kept playing (and I noticed the table in front doing the same) with the box to get the dancer to pick up another toothpick. I want one of those toothpick dispensers!

I’m not a big cheese fan (I prefer soft cheeses like brie) so I didn’t have too much of the Kytren chevre (goat’s cheese) which was served with an ultra thin slice of rye bread, pumpkin puree and finely ground nuts. The cheese was mild and wasn’t too overpowering, in fact, it complimented the sweet puree nicely.

Homemade lemonade and vanilla bean icecream with pop rocks was brought out as a pre-dessert. As I’ve said many times before, pop rocks always makes everything so much better. What a fun dessert to start off with; the vanilla bean icecream was wonderfully luscious and smooth, the pop rocks didn’t pop as much as I hoped for but this maybe was due to the moisture content of the icecream. The lemonade was refreshing and lightly fizzy and sweet; a jug of this would be perfect for a lazy summer’s afternoon.

The first dessert was a refreshing rose, lychee granita and pommelo sorbet medley. Liquid nitrogen was used to dehydrate the rose petals and in doing to it concentrates and locks in all the flavour. I wasn’t too fond of this dessert as I was a little put off by the slight bitterness coming from pommelo sorbet, it was made a little bit more bearable due to the sweetness of the lychee and granita.

By this point I was beginning to feel full but as I always say there’s always room for (more) dessert! A chocolate souffle with chocolate mousse was brought out to me and I noticed that a tube was sticking out, in this tube was a white chocolate creme anglaise. Soon enough the waiter pulled it out and slowly pouring the creme anglaise into the souffle.

Possibly the best souffle that I’ve ever had by far. It was incredible light and not too rich, it was like eating a warm squishy marshmallow. The chocolate mousse was rich and velvety. Having this dessert made me feel like I was on cloud nine.

Then comes 4 petit fours that were had with a nice cup of coffee. The lemon jube-jube was unexpectedly sour yet sweet at the same and the lamington with raspberry coulis was made of a slightly soft and decadent chocolate mousse.

I thought it would be over but the petit fours kept coming (not that I’m complaining of course). I loved the novelty of the mango cigarette; presented in a cigar box with an ashtray. The actual cigarette is mango liquorice and the ash is fizzy sherbet, and hidden underneath the ash is a raspberry sauce to hold up the cigarette. If I were to smoke, then I would choose to smoke a lot of these babies! The last and final petit fours was the mint marshmallow was pillowy soft and actually tasted like mint.

After a fantastic meal, the waiter asked me if I would like a tour of the kitchen. Of course I would! Chef Simon started off the tour by showing me the private chef’s table that sits a maximum of 6 people and provides views of the kitchen. Then he walks me through the various parts of the kitchen, explaining what happens at each station. The kitchen of Vue de Monde joins up with the kitchen of Bistro Vue and I watch on as the team of 6 chefs prep for the dinner service.

To my surprise he did ask me if I was a food blogger and of course I wasn’t going to hide it, I told him my blog name and he found the humour in it and he mentioned that there was an article that came out of the on that day talking about the rise of food bloggers. We talked about places to eat in Melbourne, his thoughts on working at Vue de Monde and why the kitchen isn’t chaotic during service. It was nice to be able to talk to them so casually like that, the entire team at Vue de Monde were so friendly, they made my dining experience out of this world.

Like those infomercials.. “But wait! There’s more…” When I was making my way over to leave the restaurant I was escorted to the door by a waiter who then hands me a paper bag. “From all of us at Vue de Monde, we would like to give you a gift, inside are contents for you to have for breakfast tomorrow.” Awww… That’s such a lovely gesture. Vue de Monde have exceeded any expectations that I had and blew me away with their generosity.

There was a loaf of brioche, 2 eggs, 2 chocolate cookies and a bag of tea (consisting of dehydrated orange peel, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, star anise, thyme and lavender); what I found extremely cute was that fact that they also included a recipe card directing you how to cook up a delicious breakfast, the recipes were for scrambled eggs and french toast.

Vue de Monde has been an extremely incredible dining experience; the food was amazing, service was immaculate and very welcoming. It was worth every single cent!

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  1. Helen (grabyourfork)

    Wow what an incredible meal. Eel and white chocolate sounds so intriguing.

    And you’re right. Pop rocks do make everything so much better!

  2. Aimee

    That really looks like the ultimate degustation! Yummmm! And how thoughtful of them to take a tour around the kitchen, as well as a little breaky pack.

    I’m actually contemplating about going there as I’m making a trip for work next week. Hmmm..!

  3. anh

    ha! Finally that grand meal is up! Enjoying the post so much…

  4. Trisha

    This is fabulous! The food looks so photogenic & quite interesting… fun, quirky food!! I’ll try and get a booking on my next Melbourne trip end of this month *fingers crossed*

  5. Erwin (thelearnerchef)

    Been wanting to go to this place for soo long, thank you for the post it’s convinced me to book a reservation!

  6. Zina @ tastedbytwo

    I visited Vue de Monde in August and our waiter (the one pictured!) was absolutely divine. We got a tour of the kitchen as well and met Cory Campbell, the head chef. He had just finished a stint at Noma!

  7. chocolatesuze

    wow everything looks beautiful and such awesome service! lol i want the toothpick thing too!

  8. Margaret | fangirlish

    Wow, go you! I’m sitting here on a Friday morning with my sad cup of coffee just drooling over the gastronome course – I would’ve never thought to mix kangaroo meat with chocolate. And the crew there seem really lovely =]

    Awesome write-up by the way – HELLS YEAH FOR POP ROCKS!!

  9. OohLookBel

    What an amazing experience for you, you lucky thing! Your photos are gorgeous, too.

  10. Jacq

    omg the service at vue de monde was excellent when i went as well but i’m still so jealous! when i save up enough monies to go back to melbourne and eat again i’m definitely doing that 10 course degustation at vue de monde! love that cute goodie bag as well

  11. nic@diningwithastud

    Ok I want that souffle so bad!
    The breakfast pack is amazing. Is that standard or did they just take a liking to you ;)??

  12. betty

    wow everything looks amazing! :O)

  13. joey@FoodiePop

    One of my favourite Melbourne dining experiences has been at Vue; their food is fantastic and everything is first rate. I love the toothpick holder and the superb souffle.

  14. Trissa

    I was going to say that 250 for 10 courses was a bit much but looking at all you had, plus the take away – and the whole experience of being pampered – priceless!

  15. Sara @ Belly Rumbles

    Everything looks stunning. What a cute tooth pic holder!

  16. the ninja

    The first time when smoking causes obesity.

  17. mademoiselle délicieuse

    We’ve got friends asking us to go with them this weekend when we’re in Melbourne. This is serious encouragement!

  18. Phuoc

    Helen: There were a few odd combinations throughout the dego but they all seemed to compliment each other perfectly.

    Aimee: You should definitely go!

    Anh: Thanks Anh! It was a wonderful experience

    Trisha: I hope you get it, absolutely worth every penny.

    Erwin: Hehe thanks! I hope you enjoy the experience!

    Zina: Oh he was fantastic!

    Chocolatesuze: OMG it’s like $350!

    Margaret: Thanks! It was an epic feast.

    OohLookBel: Thanks Bel!

    Jacq: It was awesome hey? Hope you go for the upgrade next time 😀

    Nic: Hehe… I think they give the breaky goodies bag to those who go for the gastronome menu

    Betty: I know 😀

    Joey: Good to know that you felt the same too.

    Trissa: Yeah it is a bit much but luckily for my wallet that I don’t always eat like this and besides, I felt like I had to go all out at Vue de Monde. Totally worth it.

    Sara: It was so fun. Gotta love Alessi!

    Ninja: So true!

    Mademoiselle délicieuse: Hope you make it soon! 😀

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