Thursday, July 25, 2013

Vue du Monde, Vue or View, it's the tops. (Melbourne CBD) 07/2013

Just occasionally one has a meal where everything is right and that is what happened to us last Sunday. It was one of those cold clear Melbourne days, the sky a clear blue, where, from the 55th floor of the Rialto, fittingly the home of Vue du Monde,  you could see for miles.  

Inside the restaurant it was comfortably warm with the sun streaming in through the 360 degrees of windows. A dozen or more chefs were beavering away in the open kitchen 

whilst black garbed waiters unobtrusively provided their services. 
Chris, a young manager, collected us from the Lui bar where we were intending to have a cocktail but forewent that pleasure for a complementary glass of remarkably excellent champagne, 2003 Dom Pérignon Épernay Champagne AOC, France, provided by Shannon Bennett to help celebrate Sandra's birthday. 
We were comfortably seated at a large kangaroo skin covered table set with a few stones,  one with a slot for a knife,

one cut in half and filled with salt and pepper.

and some short branches of old grape vines as rests for some extremely decorative cutlery

Without hesitation we asked for the 10 course menu and loved every part of it starting with a trio of amuse bouche a tray of oyster shells had an oyster for each of us, a small square of smoked eel covered in caramelized white chocolate topped by caviar and a small salted truffle marshmallow each exquisite in its own way got us started.

Smoked eel, white chocolate, caviar, an outstanding combination of salty sweet and smoky mouth filling tastes. Texturally and visually superb, in all a 10 out of 10 delicacy

Truffle marshmallow, another quite different sweet salty combination with sharply contrasting texture to the eel.

Banana prawn, seaweed salted duck yolk, wasabi, the prawn head cooked until crisp contained the sauce for the prawn which had not been cooked for more than one minute. The wasabi had been infused with milk, frozen and powdered giving it an appropriate delicacy of flavour. A very fine dish.
2010 Grace Koshu, Katsunuma-cho, Japan.

Another little extra that did not show upon my menu which I got a two days later
Carrot served with burnt butter. It s the heart of the carrot which has been lightly cooked and then separated from the cortex of the root. It was both interesting visually and tasty.
Rejigged the next dish was deconstructed with all the elements of French onion soup clearly visible when it is brought to the table. The broth is passed through a coffee percolator to infuse it at the table and then poured into the bowl. A little theatrical, one of Shannon's signature dishes. Whilst Sandra thought the broth too sweet I enjoyed it. Where the dish does have a problem is that the deconstructed ingredients do not integrate well but remain separate to a considerable extent 

 Melbourne onion soup.

Marron, brown butter, pork floss. Perfection, Fresh firm oh so divinely cooked with an unmatchable delicate flavour.
2007 Domaine Michelot Puligny Montrachet, Côte de Beaune, France

 Duck yolk, green beans, mint, truffle. The egg yolk in the centre of this dish was cooked sous vide and looked raw, although it was not. This texture of the cooked but runny yolk disturbed Sandra visually but when she did eat it she did like it. I liked the whole dish.
NV Larmandier Bernier ‘Cuvée Vue de monde’ Vertus Champagne AOC, France

This was followed by a sort of palate cleanser. Herbs frozen with liquid nitrogen at the table then pulverized with a wooden mortar and served with a quenelle of cucumber sorbet

Cucumber, pineapple sage. There is no way of achieving a better taste which almost envelops you in this palate cleanser. Of course it would have less appeal to those who do not care for cucumber.
There was no doubt where this next dish came from. 
 Barramundi cheek, Gascony butter.

The most delicate part of any fish, the cheek, was removed from the Barramundi at the table, placed on a lettuce leaf and eaten, san chao bow style, with care to avoid the rich butter sauce.

The server removed the cheek at the table with bare hands. He should certainly have worn gloves which would have been more hygienic. 
2011 Ashton Hills Estate, Pinot Noir, Adelaide Hills, South Australia.

 Cooked perfectly the leg and toes were removed to avoid distressing the ladies.
Pigeon, chestnut, quince, burnt hay, truffle. Perfectly prepared
2011 Marcoux Syrah Mourvèdre Grenache, Côtes du Rhône, France.

 Mouth watering and incredibly tender.
Flinders Island lamb, olive, Australian anchovies, mustard
2011 La Spinetta ‘Langhe’ Nebbiolo, Piedmonte, Italy.

The last main course was Blackmore Wagyu, smoked bone marrow, saltbush, pear. Served in the centre of the bone I would have liked a bit more of this super delicacy.

2005 Musar Cabernet Sauvignon Cinsault Carignan, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
T he cheese trolley needs no introduction Amazing that wine can still be made in these war torn areas

Of the accoutrement's I preferred the kumquat jam and the onion jam. Honey from Shannon's own apiary was light and fine.

Assortment of cheeses, bread, jams
2011 Terroir Al Limit Soc. Lda ‘Vi de Villa de Torroja’, Priorat DOCa, Spain.
Another palate cleanser

Spiced milk, chocolate

Passion fruit curd, white chocolate, crackers

2007 Cloudy Bay Late Harvest Riesling, Marlborough, New Zealand
A couple of extra desserts

before the coup de gras

Chocolate souffle completed with Creme Anglaise. Not too sweet it would have been fine even without the cream.

1985 Toro Albalá Gran Reserva Pedro Ximenez Montilla-Moriles Andalusía, Spain.
 A selection of petit-fours followed by coffee ended a magnificent lunch.
Jellied two up pennies, little balls of ice cream on sticks on the right

Edible chocolate shells, not all of them!
Wines were served in beautiful glassware with fine stems and were, in themselves a pleasure to hold and to drink from.
All the wines were served with the dishes named above them. They were very well matched to the food. The first was a wine made outside Tokyo and is a grape wine, not a Sake. Of them all if we were to give any one the nod as best on the day the Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir was excellent but I also especially loved the 1985 Pedro Jiminez. Our sommellieur, Andrew was very well informed, extremely courteous and quite charming.
On departure we were presented with a small bag of goodies for breakfast, a brioche, muesli a herb tissane and some biscuits. A nice final touch.
This was a stunningly good meal. Every part of it was outstanding. Visually it was an ever changing feast for the eye, tastes and textures were constantly varying and exciting, servous was courteous, efficient and informed. 
We have eaten at many 3 star Michelin restaurants and believe that Vue du Monde well deserves to be among them. 
Score: 18.5/20