Vue De Monde, Melbourne

http://www.vuedemonde.com.au

Level 55 Rialto Building, 525 Collins Street, Melbourne

Continuing the brief work/gourmet trip in Melbourne – a ‘working lunch’ at Vue Du Monde. This is certainly a restaurant with a sense of occasion. The views cover the whole of Melbourne. The pictures don’t do it justice, but it’s seriously bright, raising the question whether it’s appropriate to wear sunglasses inside a restaurant. I resist, principally because I don’t own a pair of sunglasses to look stylish in.

Lightness outside, darkness inside – black floor and dark leather tables:

The centrepiece is no doubt to help (re)establish our connection with the ground – lots of chiseled stone and gnarled wood that all play a part in the meal. Someone’s clearly given this a lot of thought.

“Don’t shoot me, I’m only the sommelier”

Unfortunately we don’t have the rest of the afternoon to linger over lunch, I have a 3.30pm flight, so we opt for the a la carte and get a serious move on.

A curious selection of amuses: Oyster, Celeriac, Sunflower seed, Smoked eel, white chocolate, caviar

Interesting little bites. The crisps aren’t going to rock anyone’s world, but the eel, white chocolate and caviar is a spectacular bite, covering most of the range of tastes.

Salt cured venison – blood red. Very good.

Continuing the theatre – Bread & butter:

housemade butter with a nice selection of bread served in a leather bag with hot rocks. Cute.

The meal starts proper with “Melbourne club”

A deconstructed melbourne club sandwich (was not sure if I should have heard of one before). The point of deconstruction, to hero every element and help discover new combination and taste sensation. It was wasted on this dish. Some ho-hum ham, anchovy, cheese crisp, mayonnaise etc. Almost nothing to get excited about. Moving swiftly on….

Lamb sweetbreads, prawn, raisin

A cute dish, compressed prawn served with excellent sweetbread – creamy inside, decent exterior crust. Flowers provided some lightness of touch. A hipster surf & turf. Decent.

My dining colleague went native: Kangaroo, beetroot, chocolate

A palate cleaner before the main: Cucumber sorbet, crushed herbs

One of the most memorable parts of the meal (not a slight on the rest of it). Fresh herbs are doused with dry ice which the diner then crushes. It’s served with a refreshing cucumber sorbet. It’s lovely.

The main is excellent: Wagyu beef, onion, mustard

Hi-grade Tenderloin and Brisket. It’s beautiful – great range of flavours and texture. The saucing is the mildest of horseradish creams with contrast provided by deep fried & blanched onion rings. Not heavy at all. A dish to eat all day.

And so onto dessert. Had just over an hour to make my flight, so this may not have got the attention it deserved:

Beer & Nuts – Passionfruit, licorice, coconut

We split a cheese & pud:

Cheese Trolley! A rarity in Australia – a proper cheese selection (with enthusiastic waiter)

I opt for Pavlova

Yet another deconstructed dish- but this works. fresh & dehydrated strawberries, blueberries with cute chewy meringue and mint. Excellent textures that really add to the taste.

The cheese-plate in all it’s glory with more condiments that you can shake a stick at.

Petit fours- We wolf these down

Memories from an Aussie childhood (I’m led to believe). Honourable mention to the Golden Gaytimes & Penny Jellies.

Not a perfect lunch, but worthy of attention and a second visit. Every plate needs to impress at this level and there was inconsistencies in some of the dishes. But there’s more than enough to generate interest and talk-ability. The view and decor can often distract from the main event and the food with it’s inventiveness ensures the correct attention, but exposes some of the dishes that seem bereft of inspiration (I’m looking at you Melbourne Club). The service was excellent- enthusiastic and relaxed staff who were happy to accommodate. See you soon Vue De Monde.

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