I've been to Vue de Monde a few times before, at the old Little Collins street location and you can read about the experiences via the links for my first, second and third visit.
As you will know, there's not much choice in the menu at Vue de Monde. You go in knowing that you will have the small or large degustation and leave it up to the chefs to create a meal and experience for you. Obviously, if you have allergies, they will tailor your meal. Below is a sample of the menu, in abbreviated form of what we had that night. There are so many ingredients in Shannon's menu that I couldn't recall them all, even when I wrote it down.
Vue de Monde Menu
- Smoked eel with caviar
- Celeriac parcels
- Apple gel
- Venison rolls
- Crab salad with strawberry sauce and green strawberry meringue
- Mushrooms with walnut puree broth
- Marron with khalrahbi and caviar
- Duck egg with lamb sweetbreads, white truffle, onion rings and celeriac puree
- Stewed rabbit with asparagus, burnt butter tarragon sauce
- Snapper with prawn, bone marrow, chicken glaze and beet tuile
- Wagyu tenderloin with turnips done two ways
* Palette cleanser
- Liquid nitrogen cucumber sorbet with herbs and flowers
- Cheese platter served with fig jam, peach jam, onion jam, pear gel, rhubarb gel
- Lemon meringue with ice cream and white chocolate pastry
- Tonka bean chocolate souffle
* Petit fours
- Golden gay time
- Mousses lamingtons
- Eucalyptus jellies
- Mint marshmallows
Firstly, let me start with the setting. Level 55 on the Rialto building is sensational. The view, as expected, would be the premium view of all Melbourne restaurants. Depending on the time of year that you dine in, you will either see the skies change from light to dark and witness an amazing sunset, or be given the amazing Melbourne night lights. I was fortunate enough to watch the heavens transition through the full gamut of colour and light. It was indeed an awesome sight through the floor to ceiling glass windows. The room is very light and bright as you would expect and tables set fairly far apart so you feel like you're dining privately, but yet still part of the whole space. This is something that Vue de Monde has always done well, even at their previous location which I've remarked on in my previous posts. We were seated near the kitchen in a semi enclosed space as there were 5 of us. We had an excellent view of the kitchen team at work and also of the full dining room. I felt the restaurant had a great ambiance that was quite boisterous actually, but still you could hear your dining companions.
The much talked about table settings are spectacular, from the kangaroo leather tables to the comfortable chairs and place settings. Even small touches like the stones on the table or the beautiful water glasses just exude elegance and opulence. If you're going to say that it's not "value for money" and "excessive and over the top", I don't think this place is for you. Yes, it is definitely never going to be "value for money" in the sense of getting lots of food, but we all have different definitions of value. For me, I think it's a great indulgence to occasionally be able to enjoy such meals, as they leave an everlasting memory that 25 burgers just won't do. I personally loved the whole rich feel of the restaurant, and for one night at least, I felt like I was king of the world up there.
The food is immaculate in technique and execution and plating. Nothing about any dish could be faulted from those perspective. Yes, you probably won't love every dish, but I doubt that would happen at any restaurant. However, the whole meal works together and provides more than the sum of it's parts. I liked every dish and absolutely loved some. I don't think there was anything that I didn't like.
Right from the beginning, the appetisers were a delight that really tickled the senses. Brought out on an assortment of rocks and plates, they were playful yet tasted amazing. I loved the smoked eel, so smooth and with a hit of salty caviar. The venison was another highlight for me, so rich in flavour.
With the savouries, there were some surprises that really got me. I absolutely loved the mushroom dish. The walnut puree was heavenly and made that dish really pop. Something seemingly so simple but the flavours were so clear and I loved it. The marron dish, one I've loved before, was still amazing. A perfectly cooked marron, this time served with khalrahbi just oozed the flavours of the sea and was one of three stand out dishes of the night for me. I really liked the rabbit and snapper dishes and again so many complex flavours on those items. The next stand out dish was the wagyu tenderloin. The beef was so soft and had such great flavours, served with turnips done in such amazing ways. I couldn't get over how good the turnips tasted.
After all the savouries, there was some theatre as the liquid nitrogen came out. We each got given a mortar with some herbs and flavours in it. The liquid nitrogen was poured on them and we crushed up the herbs, which wafted their aromas straight to you. Next up, one single scoop of cucumber sorbet was placed into the dish. OH. MY. GOODNESS. It was like an awakening of your senses. Every single flavour just popped in my mouth and I loved it so much.
With the desserts, again there was some more theatre. A massive cheese cart was wheeled to the table and the waiter helped you choose a selection of cheeses depending on what you like. There were so many amazing cheeses that we tried and they tasted so good with the different jams and gels. The two actual desserts served were excellent and faultless, with the tonka bean souffle so rich and beautiful.
Just when you think the night is over, out comes the petit fours that would knock the socks off anyone. Re-invented old skool desserts in miniature form are a pure delight. The Golden Gay Time and Lamington re-invention are pure genius.
To the service, well in my own personal opinion, it is perfect. The staff are warm, knowledgeable and still maintain some humour. We had a great laugh with some of the waiters, with any request fulfilled quickly and the most professionalism anywhere in Melbourne. The chefs also came around to explain some dishes and even Shannon himself came around twice to serve us. Of course I got a photo, and may have also been speechless and uttered the words "I love you Shannon". Never imagined myself to be star struck and such a groupie, but there you go. The man is one of my food idols.
The night was totally enjoyable and I loved almost every aspect of it. My one small complaint, and it's just a small one as I had come from work and was rather tired, was that the meal went on a bit too long. We started at 7pm and it didn't finish till 1am. I love long meals but I think even this one went about 1 hour too long. By that time we were all starting to yawn and having a hard time to stay awake. Apart from that, it was an utterly amazing meal that I still rate as the best in Melbourne.