From the 7th to the 9th of March, I had a chance to visit Melbourne such that, without mistake, I have booked myself at 3 restaurants: Bistro Vue, Ezards and Vue de Monde. I will start off my review on my Melbourne gastronomy trip with the best restaurant, Vue de Monde. Vue de Monde is located at one of the most prime locations in Melbourne’s Central Business District, on the 55th floor of the skyscraper and iconic Rialto Tower. Yes, on the 55th floor of the Rialto! The restaurant has its own exclusive entrance and elevator. Once you step into the building, the staff is waiting for you just right there. After checking for the reservation, the staff will guide you to an exclusive elevator. Without pushing any buttons, the elevator will go straight up to the 55thfloor of the tower. Just in case you are tired, the waiter will sit you at the Lui bar and have a glass of water before guiding you to the table. I was stunned by the majestic scenery of city of Melbourne. It was utterly beautiful, yet at night, it is far more marvellous. The décor is kept in dark and rustic style. The table is covered with kangaroo leather and the chair is made of kangaroo pelt. Though it is quite scary, they both are super comfortable. Table settings are unique too; stones and bones are placed on the table as cutleries and plates, which you will see later on. There is no fixed menu here; only the sample menu is provided on their website. Vue de Monde’s menu ranges from a 5 to 10 course of 200AUD up to 250AUD. Also they offer a truffle course, with an additional payment of 60AUD.
For today, I am going for the 8-course meal with the truffle. Before starting, I ordered the 2013 Eric Bordelet Poiré Granit, Normandy, France. It was charming, fresh and creamy with refreshing and delicate pear note and foamy bubbles. Instead of calling it amuse bouche, they called it snacks and no wonder why they called it snacks. Snacks came in series of 7 different small bites which were all delicious.
Next duo were BBQ lamb heart and duck tongue with mountain pepper. I didn’t think I will actually eat this duo but in the end I fell in love with them. For the heart, it was perfectly grilled topped with cubic mango which paired well with lamb heart. For the tongue, it was juicy and chewy.
BBQ lamb heart
Next one is a mind-blowing combination of smoked eel, white chocolate, caviar. White chocolate and eel?! It doesn’t sound savoury but it turned out to be extremely marvellous. The fattiness of eel merged together with sweetness of white chocolate fabulously.
Now let’s commence the meal with Barramundi, potato, chicken, and caviar. By using ikijime (Japanese fishing technique) which will ensure that all fish natural flavour will be preserved. Without mistake, the fish tasted so fresh and packed with natural sweetness. The Barramundi was perfectly cooked. Wrapped potato with chicken cream and chicken reduction paired delicately with fish fillet. Looks simple but tastes awesome indeed.
Next one is yakiniku beef, just kidding. The next dish is actually Blackmore Wagyu, onions, and mustard greens. Blackmore Wagyu came in two parts: loin and cheek. For the loin, it came raw and will be charred just in front of you. Cheek beef is already cooked and plated. Vue de Monde just illustrated how to serve and cook beef in the right way. Wagyu was charred to the ultimate perfection. Cheek was packed and delicious. Everything played its role magnificently. The best dish in my life so far.
Before continuing the course, palate cleanser of Cucumber, and wood sorrel was served. Herbs and wood came in a tiny bowl and then the liquid nitrogen was poured into a bowl. After that you will be instructed to smash it on a wooden Prestel. Once you grinded it into powder, they will top it with a small scoop of cucumber sorbet. It was herby and refreshing. It just washed away previous flavour on the palate.
Next up is Duck yolk, pear, and truffle. The slow-cooked duck yolk was rich which paired well with crisp toast and pear. Shaved truffle just added more aromatic scent to the dish which was pleasant. I think I made the right decision for because the truffle sauce underneath the yolk was too pale and lacked the truffle aroma.
The bread was served in style; it came in a sack with hot stone underneath. Same goes for butter, it was scooped up from butter making machine and rolled into tube-shape. The stone revealed the true purpose; salt and herb were chuck inside. The butter was rich and smooth with mild saltiness. Sourdough was nice but still not comparable to my favourite sourdough at sixpenny
This was Mud crab sandwich, and Marron, marzipan, brown butter. First, mud crab sandwich was buttery, creamy, crunchy and strong. Marron was well cooked with mild buttery touch and marzipan was sugary, mild nutty and buttery. Buttery flavour surely dominated this entire dish but it was not too much. I was advised to use my bare hands to eat it. I really enjoyed eating this dish so much.
Mud crab sandwich, and Marron
Ox tongue, beetroot, and bone marrow was placed down accordingly. Simple yet elegant plating. Tiny cubic ox was marinated in beet reduction which was salty and sour. Nitrogenized crème fraiche played cold role here. It balanced out the strong flavour from ox tongue.
The last dish was Kingfish, kale, and buttermilk. Again, it was an elegant presentation. Diced kingfish was chewy and packed with flavour. Buttermilk was lightly buttery. Kale was herby and mile bitter. Everything merged together elegantly.
Pre-dessert of strawberry, mint and rhubarb was served on stone. Strawberry and mint sorbet wrapped with frozen rhubarb and topped with sour strawberry powder was excellent. It washed away previous flavour and clean up my palate nicely.
The first dessert was Mango, camomile, lime, and truffle. It was a great combination between sourness from mango and lime with mild sweetness from ripped mango. Camomile and truffle gave this dish another dimension of aroma but truffle didn’t play a bold role though. It was overcome by camomile and I can’t spot any sign of truffle taste too.
Last but not least, the Vue de Monde’s signature chocolate soufflé was very outstanding. The texture was so right: light and fluffy but thick and rich in flavour. Instead of putting an ice-cream, they used nitrogenized vanilla cream. Yes, it tasted very good but I was quite disappointed because I expected something more fancy, not just a soufflé.
The legendary souffle
To accompany these 2 desserts, I asked the sommelier to pair them with a glass of dessert wine. She carefully picked 2005 Disznókő 5 Puttonyos Tokaji Aszú, Tokaj, Hungary for me. It was rich, intense and powerful with delicate honey and orange notes. Long finish and well-balanced acidity. It was seriously a good dessert wine.
2005 Disznókő 5 Puttonyos Tokaji Aszú, Tokaj, Hungary
Lastly, other snacks were served to end the meal. They were orange jelly penny, pork cracking topped with caramel, white chocolate with olive oil, eucalyptus sorbet, and chocolate mousse lamington. My favourite was eucalyptus sorbet. It was ultra-fresh and cool. I have never tasted anything like this before. They noticed that I really like the sorbet. As such, they brought me another one of it. Another interesting one is pork cracking coated with caramel. It was surprisingly yummy.
The dining experience here is theatrical with a degree of deliciousness; the ones behind this success are Shannon Bennett, chef and owner, Cory Campbell, executive chef, and his team. The service team was super friendly, helpful and professional. They take care in every single detail. Stephen Quinn, restaurant manager, didn’t mind to show me the kitchen and balcony. He was so so friendly and knowledgable. The sommelier who took care of me which I forgot to ask for her name, sorry, showed me the cellar room. As a dessert wine lover, I spotted a bottle of Chateau d’Yquem 2004. She noticed that I was starring at the bottle and offered me a sip of d’Yquem. How can I turn the offer down, right? It was packed, rich and intense. Rich honey and strong citrus notes. Long and delicate finishing. It truly deserved the title of World’s best dessert wine indeed. To compare with Tokaji, d’Yquem was denser and has more charming notes and finishing. Before leaving, mr. Quinn gave me a little gift. It was a breakfast set for the next day which consisted of brioche, honey, muesli, cookies, and tea. They do know that I will face a financial crisis after this. Hahaha
To conclude, Vue de Monde is a place that you should not miss when you come to Melbourne. If I have a chance to revisit Melbourne, I definitely come to Vue de Monde again.
VUE DE MONDE
Level 55, Rialto
525 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
T: +61 3 9691 3888