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*