Vue de Monde

interior - Vue Du Monde

How do you describe the indescribable without sounded like an idiot ? How do you condense 4 hours of dining into a relatively concise and relevant review ? How do you justify the expensive of spending more than the airline tickets it cost you to get to Melbourne on one nights dinner ?

The answer to those questions and more is… you don’t. You simply say, it was a nice and lovely experience that we won’t be doing again in a hurry.

We arrived at Vue de Monde for our 8:30pm reservation only to be seated directly in front of the hot pass. Looking up into a flurry of activity we saw chefs busy plating, brushing, stirring, and tasting. Essentially carrying on like they didn’t have an audience right in front of them. In the middle of them all was Shannon Bennett. The dilettante responsible for the organised chaos going on around us. He was there briefly and then vanished, back into the shadows from whence he came.

Our attention focused back onto the pass, a mirror hanging above it making it feel vaguely like a cheap motel room in Vegas… looking up at what you’ve always wanted to see happening, but never wanted to admit. It’s dinner and a show and the Rat Pack are crooning.

The food begins. “I’ll have everything you’ve got”, I say stupidly. The service all night is impeccable, the wine is unique and well matched to the food on the non-existent menu by sommelier Raul. The mood however, is far from the restrained intimacy I was under the impression was to be found here. It’s more like a boisterous gathered of the over endowed and out to impress, along with those scraping it all together to get a taste of something elusive. There’s an air of expectation on every table I peruse.

The dishes rolled out over the course of the night, each more elaborate than the next. The steady flow of wines making sure we never got too ahead of ourselves. Not all of the dishes worked for me personally. I can’t honestly say it was the greatest meal I’ve ever had, nor something I would necessarily recommend to anyone unless they had more than a passing interest in high end cuisine.

The only dish I will attempt to describe is the truffle risotto. If I had eaten only one dish this night, it would be this one. Unlike so many risottos I’ve tried this one was cooked perfectly. The soft bite to the rice was texturally sublime, and the combination of porcini mushrooms and truffle classical but right. Perhaps it says something that this was the most traditionally made dish of the entire evening, without a scoop of foam or a whiff of dry ice about it. I guess I’m just an old fashioned kind of guy.

For those inclined, here’s a list of everything we had, kindly supplied by Vue de Monde afterwards, as I had no clue what we were eating most of the night.

Pea and jamon soup with a jamon tartare served with a confit quail yolk on a lettuce raft
Salmon jerky with toasted brioche, smoked salmon vale, Sterling caviar and a fish emulsion
2006 Cantele Fiano Alticcelli Puglia, Italy
Classically inspired truffle risotto
Barbeito Sercial 10 years old Madeira Madeira Island, Portugal
5 minute bouillabaisse, tartare of crayfish, buffalo milk skin, finished with aromatic herbs,
and a touch of theatre
2006 Emmerich Knoll Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Loibner Wachau, Austria
French toast, green apple purée and foie gras flavoured with eight spice and jamon Serrano Gran Reserva
2005 René Muré Riesling Clos St Landelin Alsace, France
Grilled boudin of crayfish, glazed with beurre Café du Paris, sauce Américaine and blood orange
2006 Bindi Chardonnay Composition Macedon, Victoria
Delicate tomato consommé with gazpacho jelly
Tataki of Wagyu beef with soja yuzu noodle and sweet corn purée
2005 Château Pierre Bise Anjou Villages Sur Spilite Loire Valley, France
White Rocks lamb (WA), served four ways, spiced with a satay peanut butter with a honey and bay leaf jelly
NV Sanchez Romate ‘La Sacristia’ Oloroso Jerez, Spain
Salad of Roquefort ravioli with hazelnut dressing
1997 Château Doisy-Daene 1er Grand Cru Classé Barsac, France
Fruit salad
Passionfruit cream with frangipane sand and passionfruit soufflé
2007 Santa Rita Moscatel Late Harvest Valle del Limarí, Chile
Quince foam set into a caramel sphere with white chocolate cage and frozen white chocolate soil
2002 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance Constantia, South Africa

Dessert @ Vue de Monde

*Updated to fix my erroneous spelling of the name*

Melbourne : The City

Stay amazed !

That’s right Melbourne. Stay Amazed. Naysayers might try to convince you that the toilet doors of squalid public bathrooms are not the place to get valuable life messages from, but they just haven’t seen the light of grimey self discovery that waits on the other side of cubicle door.

So this post is a little update while the other updates prepare themselves. The morning we arrived in Melbourne, we picked up the car kindly borrowed from Sharon’s friend Michelle and proceeded to drive it into oncoming traffic. Of course I didn’t think I was driving into oncoming traffic, but the inner road that runs down the middle of St Kilda road is confusing. We pulled up alongside a tram facing the wrong direction, and then made a quick u-turn to get the hell out of there. Melbourne roads (1) – Matt (0).

We eventually made it to St Ali without further injury, and then when we were sufficiently sated there, ventured our way into the city. Of course driving into the city is not the best or most efficient way to get there. Unless of course paying $45 for a couple of hours parking is your idea of efficient. At the time though I figured that wasn’t much to pay for the convenience of being able to get where we wanted to go quickly… albeit risking being killed by a horde of screaming taxi drivers.

So we park on Flinders Lane, and begin to wander up and down streets and laneways. Sharon stopping at more clothes shops than I can name, while I trundled slowly from cafe to cafe, stopping to check out the ones that looked interesting, and pondering how many coffees would constitute too many.

Now I just realised I said this would be a short post, so I’ll wrap up with a few impressions of the places I did stop at.


253 Flinders La, Melbourne

Great looking place, very cool concrete bar and dark lighting, even in the day time. I ordered an espresso and a portugese tart. The espresso was not so hot, the tart was cold but tasty. I’d go back for drinks sometime, or food upstairs at the Journal Canteen, which looks good.

13th Apostle

San Churro at QV building
Shop LTL 255, QV Centre, Swanston St

Why do people rave about San Churro ? I guess the same people also rave about Max Brenner or Koko Black. I’m perhaps one of those few people who does not turn into a raving lunatic when describing or thinking about chocolate. I wasn’t in the mood for a mountain of deep fried stuff, so I ordered the kids meal… which was surprisingly rewarding if only for the look on the girls face. It came with two churros and a bowl of dark chocolate and hundred and thousands. The churros were quite hard and dry, and the chocolate didn’t transport me to a mystical place, the sprinkled made me feel like I was 5 years old at a birthday party… which was nice :)

The rest of the city is hard to describe, and a little overwhelming at times. So many lane way and alleys to go down, so many places holding so much potential. If we had another few weeks I’m sure I’d be able to cover most of it, but a few days will not do it justice.

On the way out I did manage to perform not one, but two (!) successful hook turns, and not get hit by a taxi or a tram. Melbourne roads (1) – Matt (2) !!

Barista Jam – 8th June

Smart arse barista

Perth Baristi – Come on down !

Jen Murray from the WA Barista Academy is organising a Barista Jam ! What’s a Barista Jam you ask ? I don’t really know, but there will be coffee, and beer, and music, and competitions, and prizes. It’s going to be held at WABA (135 Lake st, Northbridge) on Sunday the 8th of June, running from midday til whenever people decide to leave…

Baristas, Roasters, and anyone with a nose for good coffee are invited to come along and bring their grinder and beans, to share the love and see what kind of shots other people are pulling. There’ll also be a few impromptu competitions over the course of the afternoon (with some prizes being donated), such as a latte art smackdown, and a few other things.

The idea is that anyone and everyone with a love of quality coffee is invited (regardless of who you work for or what coffee you use) to come down and meet up with others in the scene and talk coffee (while drinking beer), without having to serve any customers :)

So if that sounds like you then book it into the calendar now ! Jen says that if you want to bring a grinder along (and you should !) then give her a call on 9328 7675 or an email at

It would be really great to get everyone there. We’ve been in touch with Barista Magazine too, and I’ll be taking some shots from the day which will hopefully make it into the next edition.

More details are they come to hand !

** Update with prizes !
Sunbeam have kindly donated the following prizes for the day:

EM6910 Machine
EM0480 Grinder
Bang Bang Knock Box

If you haven’t marked this one in your calendar… do it now. And the more grinders people can bring along the better… Get on it baristas !

St Ali : Welcome to Melbourne

Flat white from St Ali

Thank you to Tiger Airways for getting us to Melbourne in perhaps the most cramped and undignified manner possible. At times I felt like I should have brought my own seatbelt along, as it probably would have helped make me feel moderately comfortable about traveling in an over sized chicken coop.

What I was grateful for however, is the lovely and handsome Ben Bicknell of 5 Senses, picking us up at the airport and whisking us back to the place we were staying in South Yarra for some much needed sleep (which was nigh on impossible on the plane) and a chance to make ourselves respectable, before beginning the onslaught that was to be our time in Melbourne. First stop… St Ali.

If you haven’t heard of St Ali and you live in Melbourne, then there is something seriously wrong with you. Mark Dundon’s cafe and roasting operation has gone from strength to strength in recent years, and is consistently named in the top places to visit, and from what I can gather, rightly so.

It’s located in a quiet street in South Melbourne, seemingly away from the hustle and bustle of the city and it’s many laneways. There’s no sign out the front, but it’s completely packed. I have no idea where the people are all from but there are suits galore (and not of your Man to Man / Ed Harry / Insert cheapo guys clothes store name here, variety), happily mingling with hipsters and hippies of all persuasions. It’s a Thursday morning (I think), ok maybe lunch time.

We grab a table by the bar, unlucky not to get a seat at the big communal table, but it does make surreptitious photography more difficult.

Orders are done at the table and so I grab a couple of double flat whites to begin, with a fried egg stack and chorizo for Sharon (damn i knew i should have got that), and some house made white beans with proscuitto for me). The flat whites were superb. Cutting through the milk nicely and balanced sweetness with that chocolately body that’s so inviting for a cold Melbourne morning. The food arrived and was equally great. Though I perhaps felt a bit left out when a group of 4 businessmen all ordered the same dish of Lamb Kofta balls… decadently soaked in a tomato sauce.

Fried Eggs and Chorizo @ St Ali

Still what we had was great. The beans hearty and the proscuitto salty and delicious. I tried not to eye Sharons chorizo, but it soon got the better of me and I caved… it was great too.

Next up another round of coffees, espresso for me, short macchiato for Sharon. While waiting the barista strolled over and surprised me by saying

“Sorry, this is for you, it’s a really nice looking ristretto but too short for an espresso, so I figured I’d give it to you for free rather than waste it”.

How lovely. It was a great ristretto, syrupy and dense with a great smokiness running through it. I thought about asking about the single origin they have on each day, but I was loving the house espresso blend too much to care to be honest. The espresso which soon arrived was equally tasty. More balanced and less syrupy than the ristretto, but a well put together shot. I felt at home.

St Ali oozes so much cool there should be hazard signs out the front when you walk in. It’s just effortless. We thought to ourselves that if the rest of Melbourne was as good as this, we were in for a good time :)

St Ali
12-18 Yarra Place
South Melbourne
Telephone (03) 9686 2990