After booking a number of months ago, it was finally time for JS & I to experience Vue.De.Monde.
Shannon Bennett’s sky high restaurant needs no introduction. Constantly seen as one of, if not the best restaurant in Melbourne and from the time you enter the Rialto Building it is clear why this is so.
We were greeted on the ground floor by a Vue De Monde rep who took our jackets (yes we were wearing jackets, leather jackets, in January) and showed us to the exclusive lift. Which in itself was pretty awesome and I’m sure we would have taken a few selfies if we were given an opportunity.
Shown through the beautiful Lui Bar prior to the restaurant we were seated near the window and had a fantastic view of the city. Although it was horrid weather, we didn’t let this dampen our spirits!
My spirit of choice was Gin in a Lui Martini & JS settled for a Lui Bar special of which the name escapes me. Our table was soon ready and we entered “the arena”. The decor itself is so beautiful in Vue De Monde and you can tell everything has a purpose and it has been carefully thought through.
Our waiter explained the menu choices for the evening, ala carte or degustation ranging up to 11-12 different courses (next time). We had already decided to go for the 4-course ala carte and were eager to see the menu and have a look at what was on offer…even though i had already cheated and looked at the menu during the day.
Now you know you’re in for a real treat when food starts arriving and you haven’t even ordered yet! We were given a selection of dishes prior to ordering and these were definitely a highlight of the evening. First up was wallaby sashimi, heated on a salt rock before us and then rolled with aioli inside.
Salt Cured Wallaby Sashimi
I’d never tried Wallaby before and I will definitely be ordering it if I see it on a future menu. This was delicious. For me it’s flavour was a lot less gamey than Kangaroo and the aioli complimented it well.
Next up was an extremely odd combination but (aside from dessert) was my favourite dish of the evening…I think…don’t hold me to that. We were given smoked eel with white chocolate and caviar. I trusted Mr Bennett’s instincts and this was sooo good. The salty eel and the sweet White Chocolate was heavenly.
Smoked Eel, White Chocolate & Caviar
I have always had a soft spot for the Salty-Sweet Combo i.e. chocolate covered pretzels…ooo yeh. But this took that love to a whole new level.
We had been looking at the pile of rocks in the centre of the table wondering what they would magically turn into, as every rock and ‘stick’ on the table had seemed to have a purpose thus far.
The waiter then demonstrated to us that two of these ‘rocks’ were in fact oysters that had been shucked and then reassembled. No fancy pants cooking or sauce with these bad boys. They were just left to be themselves and they were amazing as expected.
It was at this point we decided to order (yeeep we hadn’t even ordered food yet!) along with a bottle of Ninth Island Pinot Noir Sparkling. A lovely drop …and that’s all I’m going to say about the sparkling as I don’t know much else about it!
Our final dish before the meal was a pea and dehydrated broth/soup/liquid with a pistachio disc sitting atop it and I do believe it was macadamia crumble on top of that. Sorry waaay too many ingredients to remember.
Peas, Pistachio, Strawberry
You cracked through the pistachio disc to find the pea and strawberry flavours beneath. An interesting dish, it wasn’t packed full of flavour but you could tell the peas were fresh and it was a palette cleansing dish of sorts.
Special shout out has to go to the bread. Delicious, warm, crusty baguette was served with in a leather pouch. The leather in this pouch rivalled that of my beautiful “Bambi” bag which had been given its own seat next to me.
Bread, Salt/Pepper, Butter
We continued to enjoy lovely service, including being escorted to the bathroom…AND the view became clearer as the night sky rolled in. The city started to light up and it was proving to us why this is one of Melbourne’s most acclaimed venues.
Probably poor form by us, but we both wanted the Kangaroo entree so the two dishes arrived shortly after. Completely identical as you would expect.
Kangaroo, nettle, onion, smoked bone marrow.
I had been looking forward to this dish and must admit it disappointed a little and wouldn’t order it again if I get the opportunity to return to the sky high heaven. The kangaroo was cooked so well and the bone marrow was a great accompaniment but it didn’t WOW me. I think I’ve mastered cooking Skippy as I cook it quite a bit at home and this just wasn’t a million times better than mine, which I was hoping for. Still a great dish though and beautiful produce.
Beware though, cutting through kanga when its sitting on a rock is still a tricky little task!
The night rolled on and our people watching senses went into overdrive. There was one gentleman who was there in his Jerry Seinfeld-esque Jeans & reeboks combo. If I return to Vue De Monde with a man friend, there is no way I would go near the Rialto building itself if this combo had made an appearance. No way no how.
Anyway there’s my awesome fashion advice for you.
Next up a palette cleanser arrived and the table and this was the fun part! We were initially given a small bowl of micro herbs. The waiters then poured liquid nitrogen onto them, freezing them instantly and we were instructed to use a pestle and grind up the herbs (I’m the next Heston fo sho). Once at a satisfactory crumble consistency, the waiters added a grapefruit & lime sorbet. This was delicious.
Grapefruit, Lime Sorbet with Microherbs
So now, JS & I can pretty much tell people that we have cooked food at Vue De Monde. Ok we helped prepare a dish…better? The flavours in the sorbet were so refreshing. I could have taken a litre of that sorbet home for sure.
Our main dishes arrived soon after. ‘Mark’s Catch’ – the seafood main, was Kingfish on this particular day so that was a no brainer for me. I’ve tried to cook it myself once and failed miserably so I leave this fishy to the professionals.
Kingfish, Leek, Kale, Oyster Tarragon
This was, again, a magnificent dish, with all flavours complimenting one another. Now I look at it though, I don’t remember there being an ACTUAL oyster so that may have been a paste or sauce of some description.
I really enjoyed the textures in this dish as well. Some crispy, some melt in your mouth and the fish of course was cooked brilliantly.
JS had tossed up between a couple of dishes and decided on the Flinders Island Lamb with olives, Australian anchovies and mustard.
Flinders Island Lamb, Olive, Anchovies & Mustard
The stand out element of this dish for her was the Lamb Belly. I was lucky enough to sample some and it was absolutely delicious. Neither of us had had Lamb Belly before and I can guarantee we will both be tracking it down on other menus. Overall she really enjoyed the dish but the belly was on the money.
Admittedly, I was initially concerned with the serving sizes and didn’t think we were getting our money’s worth. But if you consider the experience and service you’re receiving as well as the smaller dishes prior to and during the meal, I’d definitely recommend it!
As we are both cheese lovers, the next course had been much anticipated. The cheese course to trump all cheese courses. A cabinet was wheeled out to our table, showcasing about 15 various cheeses.
We said favourites were goats cheese and blue cheese and we were given 5 cheeses to sample, along with baguette, fruit bread, beetroot ciabatta & an assortment of jams. I was going to try to convince him to leave the cheese cabinet at the table, but didn’t like my chances.
Breads, Jams & Accompaniments for the Cheese
Cheese Choices – Goats Cheese, Cheddar, Blue.
These cheese were delectable. My favourites were (second from the left) the Goat’s cheese from Adelaide if my memory serves me correctly and the (second from the right) Blue from a destination that I unfortunately can’t recall. The roquefort blue, the final cheese on the right, was a tad too pungent for my palette but I can see a lot of people would find it sensational.
Prior to our dessert arriving we were given a small passionfruit shot of sorts. With a beautiful sweet passionfruit flavour, it also had licorice and coconut undertones. I don’t like licorice but this was beautiful. Almost tasted just like a mushed up passionfruit. MMMMM.
Passionfruit, Licorice & Coconut.
Dessert soon arrived and we were both happy with our choices. JS had gone with the ever popular chocolate soufflé which she thoroughly enjoyed and couldn’t even finish it. Considering the portion size of all of the other dishes, this soufflé was huge!
With my dessert choice, I really wanted to go outside the square and when I saw a dessert that included Sweet Potato, I knew I had to try it, and I am SO glad I did. A twist on the sweet potato pie I suppose, this was almost a thick custard creme consistency complimented with Lime & lemon flavours and mini meringues. My mouth is watering! So good. If you’re going, get this dessert!!
Sweet Potato, Lemon, Lime & Beer