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
SAUMON AUX EPICES
Salmon jerky with toasted brioche, smoked salmon vale, Sterling caviar and a fish emulsion
2006 Cantele Fiano Alticcelli Puglia, Italy
RISOTTO AUX TRUFFES
Classically inspired truffle risotto
Barbeito Sercial 10 years old Madeira Madeira Island, Portugal
BOUILLABAISSE ‘EN CINQ MINUTES’ ET TARTARE D’ECREVISSE
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
PAIN PERDU ACCOMPAGNE DE SON FOIE GRAS
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
BOUDIN D’ÉCREVISSE GRILLÉ
Grilled boudin of crayfish, glazed with beurre Café du Paris, sauce Américaine and blood orange
2006 Bindi Chardonnay Composition Macedon, Victoria
CONSOMMÉ FROID À LA TOMATE
Delicate tomato consommé with gazpacho jelly
TATAKI DE BŒUF WAGYU
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
SALADE DE FRUITS
‘CHEESECAKE’ AUX FRUITS DE LA PASSION
Passionfruit cream with frangipane sand and passionfruit soufflé
2007 Santa Rita Moscatel Late Harvest Valle del Limarí, Chile
BOULE DE CARAMEL FOURRÉE À LA MOUSSE DE COING
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
*Updated to fix my erroneous spelling of the name*
16 thoughts on “Vue de Monde”
Matt, what an experience, great read, thanks
Well, Vue de Monde (yes Vue “de” Monde) still totally blows me away. Maybe I’m just a more complex kind of guy :)
Excellent right up and beautiful pictures, especially the last photo.
I guess even if it was not the perfect meal, it will be memorable for many reasons. One day I’d like eat a meal there as well, largely out of curiosity.
I’ve been reading his book on home cooking, and there are some more accessible recipes, though again the attention to detail and precision is apparent.
Cheers Pauline, glad you keep stopping by, I’ll eventually make it back to a Slow Food event too :)
Jon… Crap. I’m not sure how I royally blundered my way through the website and the word document menu they sent me without realising I’d spelled the name wrong, but thanks for bringing it to my attention. Fixing that now. As for meal, I did enjoy it, I just found myself getting a little overwhelmed by the length of it, especially when not all the dishes worked for me. Complex is not a bad way to be though :)
Edward, I think as an oenophile it’d be right up your alley. The sommelier had some interesting, and at times unusual pairings for the food (the madeira with the risotto for instance), which I’m sure would have brought a smile to your face. I think perhaps Bistro Vue would be more up my alley.
Matt, it’s too bad the experience wasn’t as good for you after we all built it up so much for you. I, like Jon, must be a complex kind of guy. I loved everything there that night, from the food, to the service, to the show with the mirrors. I too thought the risotto was the best risotto I’ve ever tasted, perfect in every way.
It’s a funny story with Vue “de” Monde. We asked the waiter about the name, and it turns out Shannon Bennett made a mistake. It was suppose to be Vue du Monde, but he got it wrong and all the plates and things had the name on them already. So he just decided to keep it that way.
Wow – thanks for that Matt – since making it there may take years (and who knows when) I’ll have to dine vicariously through you for now!
what a cool review, nice pics! man all those wines, ive always wanted to try-budget permitting!
looks like you had a ball.
Thanks for an honest review Matt, I guess as is normally the case the reality rarely lives up to the dream/expectation……thanks to your review i’ll keep on dreaming and spend the money on more shoes :):)
Jealous. Deeply jealous. Those pics are gorgeous too, how’d you go taking them in such fine surrounds? I’d give anything to try some foam. Well, not anything. My time will come, I just know it.
Wow, sounds amazing. I would love to have tried the lamb four ways – bet it was to die for!
Thanh, interesting story… I think I pulled the du from a vague recollection of studying French in high school and thinking it sounded right… I did like this place, I guess what I’m getting at is that I don’t think it’s the kind of place I’d be frequenting on a regular basis unless I had a significant amount of cash that I needed to get rid of, and there was some way to launder money by eating…
Grendel: Vicarious living is about all I can afford to do since coming back from Melbourne, you need to make up for it in Sydney and Adelaide now :)
Jason, give me one good bottle of any of those listed above and I’d be a happy man… a taste is never enough…
Sharon, if the hype around Sex and the City being generated (from certain people living in the same house as me) is to be believed…there is nothing so important as a great pair of shoes. If nothing else I guess you can sell them to buy food if you need to :)
Jenny: If it was all free, I’d happily accept jealousy. But this is quite accessible to anyone with an airfare and a reckless intent to part with money :) Photographing in quite fine surrounds was awkward, especially with an SLR camera… though did get easy towards the end of the night when the 10th glass of wine kicked in, and the restaurant cleared out… hence the only real shots you get are dessert :)
Christie: I’ll spare you bad puns about only wanting to die when I got the bill… but yes, the lamb was lovely… :)
I really enjoyed reading the review Matt. I find this style of food intriguing, but essentially not as appealing as earthier, simple cooking. I just had a look at the Bistro menu and that is far more alluring to my tastes too. Nevertheless it does sound like an amazing experience that you and Sharon enjoyed. As always – great photos – you captured the detail in the dining room beautifully.
Cheers Nat, I believe you may have aptly summed up my experience there. Interesting but a little too much for me to appreciate fully.
I love an honest AG review… Thanks Matt!
Sounds too swish to be true!
I think this is the key from the review: “nor something I would necessarily recommend to anyone unless they had more than a passing interest in high end cuisine”.
It’s food as an experience or even food as art that you eat, not just a meal (although a good meal is an experience you need to think a couple of levels above that and at least bordering on the art side).
To deliver food as an experience bordering on, or at, art I think a chef has to tread a fine line and that line is not one that everyone is going to connect with, just like art. It is also the experience around the food, which you’re also paying for.
When I was there the best thing I had was tomato in a shot glass in water with dry ice. It was sublime. The tomato had the freshest, purest tomato taste I’ve ever had. It probably stood out because it was so simply that I expected nothing of it.
If you can’t get to Melbourne then go to Jackson’s for the degustation. It changes regularly, some better than others, but is a fine meal and not so obsessed with the art form.
Hi there Matt. First time visitor to your blog and was glad to see some vue photos. I live in Sydney and often contemplate flying to Melbourne to dine there. Your review further confirms that I need to visit this restaurant for an ‘occasion’ not just a meal. ta Ali