I feel that everything that needs to be said about three-hat Vue de Monde has already been said.
So instead of describing at length each of the ten courses of the degustation at one of Australia’s best restaurants (and having to take notes during my lunch), today I’m going to leave you with a photo essay of what the full Vue de Monde experience looks like.
First off, the view at 55 floors.
The restaurant itself is quite casual for a fine-dining establishment. They use quietly expensive crockery, furniture and artwork in the space but it’s not in any way intimidating. Plus the staff are professional and friendly without being snooty. Sometimes the kitchen staff present the dishes they have made, complete in aprons and clogs, which I think is a particularly lovely touch.
One of Vue de Monde‘s signature cocktails is their version of the Old Fashioned, using Leatherwood honey. An Old Fashioned may have become a bit of cliche with the advent of Mad Men, but when it comes served with a huge ball of ice (so it doesn’t melt as quickly) in a cut crystal tumbler then you know it’s high end. Just be aware it costs $25!
The restaurant has a whole ‘classy cave man’ theme happening which means the tables are covered in kangaroo hide, some of the chairs have (faux?) fur backs and food is sometimes presented on rocks and sticks which brings to mind scenes of a Neanderthal bonfire. It may be considered gimmicky but I don’t mind of a bit of theatre when it’s backed up by incredible attention to detail in the food.
First up on the rocks – carrot (some poor sod had to fashion these to look like twigs?), smoked eel, white chocolate and caviar, salt cured wallaby and Truffle marshmallow (not pictured).
King prawn (including the crispy head), seaweed salted duck yolk and some wasabi snow spooned over the top at the last moment.
Melbourne onion soup – the liquid was siphoned through a coffee filter and poured over roasted and pickled onions.
A perfect sous vide marron, sweetbread, lamb floss.
The butter for the bread arrives with almost ridiculous ceremony – spooned out from a huge tub of imported Beurre Echire.
Duck yolk, pear circlets, truffle and crispy saltbush leaves.
Flinders Island lamb, olive, Australian anchovies, mustard
Blackmore Wagyu, smoked bone marrow, saltbush
After seven savoury courses you can choose to have three desserts or an assortment of cheeses, bread and jams plus two desserts. The wooden cheese trolley is a large structure which is quite a sight to behold.
Rhubarb, white chocolate, coffee
A Vue de Monde classic – the most perfect chocolate soufflé I’ve ever had in terms of consistency of texture. This shows off the kitchen’s classic French techniques to perfection.
If you make a booking for the first lunch sitting at midday then be aware that you’ll need to vacate your table for the second sitting at 2:30pm. The transition is impressively smooth and well-organised – there’s no unceremonious shunting you out the door but instead they set you up at the bar (with a glorious window view) to enjoy your selection of petit-fours at your leisure.
The petit fours were all ‘Australiana’ inspired – miniature chocolate mousse lamingtons, chocolate pippi shells, bourbon jellies shaped like two-up coins and eucalyptus ice cream balls.
And to extend your Vue de Monde experience you go home with a goodie bag of brioche, honey, tea, cookies and granola for the morning after!
Vue de Monde offers some of the most inventive and decadent dining in Australia. At $250 a head for the ten course degustation it is certainly a special occasion restaurant – but if you appreciate artistry in food and wine in stunning surroundings then save your pennies and book ahead.