Location: 525 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Telephone: (03) 9691 3888
Vue de Monde has been on my ‘must try’ list for a couple of years now and I finally got to dine here, courtesy of a very generous Xmas gift. My partner surprised his parents, sisters and me with a night out for pre-drinks at Eau de Vie, followed by the Chef’s Table at Vue de Monde – and what a surprise it was!
With the current renovations at Rialto Towers, finding the entrance to VDM was a bit of a maze. Once we found the reception desk, a lovely lady called up to inform the restaurant of our arrival and put us on an elevator to journey to the top of the tower. Service was quite good throughout my experience here, with a bit of a dip at the start of the meal, and then again upon departure.
We were seated at what was apparently the Chef’s Table ($295++ per person), located right at the back of the restaurant. The view was breathtaking, and we had plenty of privacy being right at the back in a corner. I just wasn’t entirely clear how this was the ‘Chef’s’ table as we were entirely isolated from the kitchen. .
Once seated, our party was told that we will not be receiving menus for the evening. Personally, I would have liked the option to have had a menu to know what was to come. It would have also been handy to remember what we ate. I did have a look at the menu online though so I had a fair idea of what was to come.
I am convinced though that we were not served everything on the menu – for instance, we did not have the king green snag, or prawn heads with butter and a cauliflower dish, as per the menu online. I didn’t really question this at the time, though now I wish I did just to know why we didn’t get these dishes.
Our degustation started with a number of appetisers. The first couple were a truffled quail egg served on a bed of rocket, and Flinders Island wallaby with rock melon gel and fennel. The egg was quite nice and mild, as was the wallaby.
Next, we had some pickled summer vegetables with a hollandaise dipping sauce. This was nothing special, and just a bit unnecessary for me.
Up until this point, service was flawless.
Our next appetiser was a selection of seafood: an oyster with lemon myrtle, scallops with nashi pear and lime, and blue mussels with wild sorrel and apple. The dish was placed in front of us, and remained unexplained. I did have to flag someone down to ask what it was that we were about to eat.
My need to know what I was eating doesn’t stem from a need for control, but more me wanting to know for my blog. It took about 10 minutes, but eventually someone was able to tell us what each of the three bites of seafood’s were garnished with. A minor dip in service, but at this price point I was expecting a high level of consistency.
My next appetiser was a bowl of kohlrabi noodles, topped with salmon caviar. The caviar was delicious and gave a lovely pop of flavour to the ‘noodles’.
One of the lovely staff members then rolled a trolley to our table, with a barrel of butter on it. The butter was served with a beer and fennel bread. The bread came in a cloth bag, atop some hot rocks to keep the bread warm. The bread was very easy to eat, and hard to try not to overindulge on.
The next dish of king green prawns with green strawberries and fennel was my favourite so far. This dish was akin to a ceviche and tasted great.
Our last appetiser was asparagus cooked in paperbark with Tasmania mountain pepper and an egg yolk puree. This dish was presented beautifully; I loved having to unwrap the asparagus from the paperbark before dipping it into the puree and eating it. The asparagus was crunchy and tender, a perfect combo.Next up was the red hair kangaroo served raw with native fruit pickles and spicy spring greens. The kangaroo was sliced so finely that I could barely taste it. It just melted in my mouth, and the main flavour was that from the pickled fruits. Another nice, mild dish.
We were then moved on to some larger savoury plates, starting with barramundi served with a coriander and jasmine flower broth. The fish was perfectly cooked, and the broth was flavourful. It was quite tasty, and well portioned.
This is when a spot of theatrics steps in. A bowl of sorrel and edible flowers were placed in front of me, and then frozen with the addition of liquid nitrogen. I then had to take these frozen bits and grind them to a fine powder. Once complete, this powder was topped with a scoop of plum sorbet to cleanse the palate.
The sorbet was intensely tart, and very cold – exactly as you would expect from a palate cleanser. It did the job well.
Without doubt, my absolute favourite savoury dish of the night was the Flinders island lamb with macadamia nut and sour onions. The beautifully tender lamb was topped with a generous serving of shaved macadamia. This dish was to die for.
Our final savoury of the night was a serving of David Blackmore striploin wagyu with broad beans and radishes. The meat was well cooked, thought nothing else about this dish jumped out to me.
Prior to our journey through dessert heaven, we were served some crackers, breads, fruit, and preserved. All of this was to be eaten with a selection of cheeses, served from a trolley full of cheesy goodness. We were given the accompaniments, and then had a bit of a wait before the cheese was served to us. A wait that was almost a bit too long, I think.
Finally, we were served a selection of some fantastic cheeses. My favourite by far was the blue vein; it was strong, soft, and knee-bucking tasty.
Desserts started with a dish that was aptly described as gumnuts. They looked like gumnuts, though perhaps prettier, and had hints of eucalypt. It was interesting, but not really to my taste.
Our second last dessert was a check of barbequed mango served with ginger and lime. This was refreshing and delicious.
The grand finale for our meal came in the form of the best soufflé I have ever eaten in my life. Ever. The chocolate soufflé was served with some freeze dried crème anglaise. Oh my, this was perfection.
We then opted to have some teas and coffees (at an additional cost). The drinks came with a delicious little petit four (more like petit one) called a lamington. Now, this lamington is not your traditional Aussie lamington, though it may look related. The VDM lamington was a chocolate mousse dusted in coconut, with a raspberry centre. It was decadent and delicious.
The entire experience took over four hours, so certainly approach this dining experience as exactly that – an experience. Having a 2-hour restrictive booking doesn’t seem appropriate for a place like this.
Once the bill was paid, we showed ourselves out, and happened to bump into a waiter by the wine cellar that asked if we had received our take-home goody bags, which we had not. He then handed us some goody bags and showed us out. This was the second dip in service – a bit of a messy end to a decadent meal.
I recommend dining at VDM at least once if nothing else for the experience of the entire process. Everything I ate was nice, though not all being memorable. I don’t think I will hurry back here, but I would certainly come back in the future once the menu changes again.