Vue de Monde – Melbourne, Australia
I am one lucky girl! Vue de Monde is one of the hardest (if not THE hardest) reservations to get in Melbourne. As fate would have it, two nights before I got into VDM I was sitting by myself at the bar at MoVida and happened to be sitting one seat away from the Executive Chef there Cory Campbell. We got to talking and fast forward – he got me in! I feel really lucky to have gotten such a well rounded eating tour of Melbourne considering I was only there for 3 days.
Vue de Monde is hard for me to describe. It’s like no other place I’ve ever experienced before. Shannon Bennett is the brains behind this restaurant and he’s done an excellence job creating a dark modern wonderland. The tables are wrapped in kangaroo leather (it’s gorgeous) as well as the seat backs. Mine (unlike my mom’s) was wrapped in the whole hide, fur and all, which I couldn’t stop touching because it was so soft. For those of you that are squeamish about “fur”…sorry. There were also a variety of rocks strewn about in the center of the table. What we didn’t know then was that each had a purpose for dinner. Two were for salt and pepper, another for your bread and butter plates (they split giving you a flat service). And then there were two burley twigs which ended up being used to rest the cutlery on. It’s almost like the underworld of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Back to the food. Each dish was SO different from the one before in every way…presentation, taste, temperature, texture, you get the idea. One of my favorite dishes of the night was the Marron which is an Australian crayfish. It was served warm with a tarragon butter which was to die for. You weren’t presented any flatware for this dish rather they encourage you to eat this course with your fingers:) I could have just eaten a whole plate of these all night long. I liked how playful the chefs are with the food here. For instance, the wasabi that came with the tomato and watermelon salad was made from powder and then formed into frozen freeform balls by using nitrogen. It’s the unexpected while at the same time still delivering the expected flavor. The lemon meringue dessert was the same way, deconstructed but if you took a bite with all of the components on the plate, you got lemon meringue pie!
When you leave you’re escorted through their enormous wine cellar which is quite stunning and then to the elevator. Before you go you’re given a bag of treat for “the morning after”. Our had a cute little loaf of brioche, homemade muesli, honey and chocolate chip cookies. Very unique and definitely something I will remember.
This is a place to go for a special occasion, if you’re visiting Melbourne and appreciate molecular gastronomy/modern food, and/or if your budget allows ($$$$ by far the most expensive dinner we had on the whole trip but SO worth it) and you just want to have fun with dinner. Word of advice, don’t eat a large lunch:)
The Christofle cutlery and crystal drink ware were gorgeous
Smoked eel, white chocolate, caviar
Salt cured venison
Celeriac, sunflower seed
Spanner crab, rockmelon, salmon roe
Tomato, fennel, watermelon, wasabi
Marron, kohlrabi, caviar, tarragon butter
Fried duck egg, lamb sweetbreads, pickled onion, truffle
Cucumber sorbet, crushed herbs
Barramundi, herb emulsion, prawn, smoked bone marrow
Pigeon, carrot, clove, orange
Blackmore wagyu beef, fig, pear
Lemon meringue ice cream, white chocolate, lemon cured, parsley
Tonka bean soufflé, smoke cocoa ice cream
A selection of coffee, teas, infusions & petit-fours
A photo with Chef Campbell:)