A meal at Vue de Monde is, in some ways, like a brilliant and original symphony orchestrated by a consummate virtuoso conductor who manages his players and their instruments in an almost flawless performance. The ten course degustation menu is a series of small dishes, closer to 15 than 10, each a little gem, which together make a complete meal. There is some theatre, both in the way dishes are presented and in the way the restaurant has been constructed on the 55th floor of the Rialto building. Nothing here has come about without thought. The disposition of the tables and the incredible views over Melbourne that they offer, the skin covered tables, the kangaroo skin covered chairs, the table settings with smooth worn stones sliced and grooved to hold salt and pepper or slit to hold a knife or heated and left in the bottom of the cloth bags in which bread is presented.
Even the gnarled roots that act as cutlery rests. It is all functional, unusual, attractive and very Australian.
We started with cocktails in the Lui Bar, an outstanding space offering small tables for two or chaise lounges for larger groups. We had two house special cocktails - Lola Montes and a French aperitif Lillet, served with champagne and flavoured with mint, cucumber and a strawberry, a superb lightly spiced aromatic prelude to dinner. Shannon Bennett, the heart, soul and brain behind this enterprise, personally offered us a small pre dinner entree atly called 'From Russia with Love' made up o caviar, trout, celeriac remoulade,
while we chatted and admired the view.
Our menu was as follows:
Smoked eel, white chocolate caviar.
Salt cured wallaby
Pea, pistachio, strawberry.
Oysters, the shells had been opened and a light sauce added before having the top of the shell replaced.
Another little amuse bouchea truffle meringue
liquid nitrogen was poured into the bowl instantly freezing the herbs
Barramundi prawn, herbs, smoked bone marrow.
Flinders Island lamb, olive, Australian anchovies, mustard
Pigeon, artichoke, mushroom, parsley, hay
The was, I stress, without exception, the finest we have ever eaten.