The last time I had visited Vue De Monde I was crazy impressed to know that my belly could not eat the next morning. Maybe it was because we had devoured an entire degustation menu, who knows. I was so convinced this time round that I’d know the menu off by heart but I was entirely wrong.
The adventure begins
Flashbacks appeared when I walked into the restaurant and was welcomed with Melbourne’s CBD view, but this time the night sky. Photos don’t do this restaurant any justice!
We were first greeted with the pumpkin and all. Simplicity was a key for this course. Texture was whipped to perfection like I was eating air with hidden gems of walnut pieces to bring you to the crunchy side of things. The dip had a creamy outcome with a whiff of Indian cuisine and a tinge of curry taste. It went pleasantly well with the bite-size house made naan bread.
Pumpkin and all
So this is what it feels like again using top notch fork and spoon. This was the only time I would appreciate and carefully use utensils as I was told by the waiter it costs hundreds and thousands of dollars. I did my Google research and yeah I can confirm I would need insurance if I ever snapped these babies…YIKES!
Them baller cutlery
For our second course we had turnips with fresh milk curd and emu which had a variation of Asian herbal flavours that was topped with a few petite pieces of chicken skin crisps. This dish had a heavy fragrant of turnips and blended so heavenly with the milk curd
Turnips with fresh milk curd and emu
The third dish had arrived in a raw manner that I thought we were eating beetroot but I was fooled by the looks and only discovered closely that the dish had charred seasonal greens and buried underneath raw squid with smoked chicken fat, and fermented Davidson plum as a intriguing sauce. It was fascinating munching on these strings of charred greens as it somehow reminded me eating those packets of Korean seaweed snacks and the noodle like squid played well with the plum dressing.
Raw squid with charred seasonal greens, smoked chicken fat, and fermented Davidson plum
Full speed ahead and VDM train brought us Western Australian marron. The three ingredients ran and swirl so well together, amplifying each other’s flavour of pine mushrooms, macadamia and glued so well with the tender piece of marron sure got my belly squealing for some more, I almost shouted out “ENCORE”.
Western Australian Marron with pine mushrooms and macadamia
Uncovered the Western Australian Marron with pine mushrooms and macadamia
The world is your oyster when our cleansing plate of moonlight flat rusty wire oyster with lemon myrtle had arrived. I was fueled by the tangy, sour and vinegar flavours on my taste buds.
Moonlight flat rusty wire oyster with lemon myrtle
One would weep just to touch the crusty curves of the beer and fennel bread as it was still warm, crunchy and brown. Sitting beside was a rolled up cultured butter that compliments so well with the bread. Ahhh….Breaking Bread.Haha.
Beer and fennel bread with cultured butter
Next up was the Mark Eather kingfish with spanner crab and beach herbs, which I personally wasn’t a fan of due the the acquired taste of the beach herbs that had overtaken the spanner crab. On a happy note I was amazed by the tiny froth bubbles surrounded the greens which seemed like this dish was living on the wild wild side.
Mark Eather Kingfish with spanner crab and beach herbs
By now you can almost hear my expandable dress burst it’s last stretch but the show must go on and we had the bright and beautiful Kohlrabi with Yarra Valley salmon roe and a mountain of marron coral. This was seasoned to savoury perfection and made good friends with the beer and fennel bread.
Kohlrabi with Yarra Valley salmon roe and marron coral
Close-up of Kohlrabi with Yarra Valley salmon roe and marron coral
My eyes fell instantly to the Davidson plum sorbet with sorrel and flowers. It sure was a promising delightful taste. Picking up my silver spoon, I spooned out a dollop of sweet, tangy plum sorbet which was bathed in liquid nitrogen. The pleasant smoothness of the sorbet blended perfectly with the bitter-sweet taste of sorrel and flowers.
Davidson plum sorbet with sorrel and flowers
A unique flavor experience was tasting the raw kangaroo with figs and muntari berries.It wasn’t a typical dish you’d have on the menu but an eye popping experience for your tastebuds. I felt the figs and muntari berries overpowered the chunky cube pieces of kangaroo meat, however it’s a taste you’ll need to try it yourself to explore.
Raw Kangaroo with figs and muntari berries
Just its aroma won me over was the sizzling wallaby snag and how can I not include the part where a chef comes out to greet us and cooks right on our table with a transferrable hot stone pot. We’re big fans of a good sausage (no sexual jokes intended ;P) but have you tried a wallaby snag before?
Wallaby snag with wattleseed damper and condiments
Wattleseed damper being cooked
After all the condiments had arrived at our table and the snags and damper were cooked, we had the opportunity to get our hands dirty and participate in DIY snag roll. And if you’re wondering do we get to eat it? The answer is YESSSSS!!!!
Wallaby snag with wattleseed damper and condiments
It’s hard to dislike this Aussie fusion snag because well…I’m a sucker for theatrical presentation. I was quite intrigued with the flavours of the sausage and the damper bread.
The finished result of a Wallaby snag with wattleseed damper
It wasn’t long the waitress returned to our table and greeted us with a very sharp knife to let us know the next course was about to arrive. Hmmmmm I wonder what do need this knife for?…
Have you seen this knife holder before?
Most desirable meat dish was the David Blackmore wagyu striploin. Each pain-steakingly selected ingredient contributed to the greatness of the dish. Wagyu melted in my mouth even before I could chew and the marron coral and cabbage puree had me salivating.
David Blackmore wagyu striploin with marron coral and cabbage
And oh did I mention during the entire degustation we had this spectacular 180 degree view of Melbourne CBD. Nothing special…haha.
Melbourne’s CBD Night View
What a way to start the dessert course was the moment a clay pot bursting with flames comes arriving at our table and I knew we’d be served with entertainment. I’ve got my fun goggle cap, have you?
You just could not go wrong with eating the roasted marshmallow with frozen pear hidden in the center. It tasted naturally sweet and matched so well with the warm fluffy marshmallow cover. The only sticky situation I had was it easily fell apart, but overall I was pleased with the flavours, it was pear-fect.
A tantalizing treat was the tea tree, mandarian, and desert limes. You cannot go wrong with something tangy towards the end of the degustation as it loosens up the bloated feeling I got after having a non-stop fulfilling meal.
Tea tree, mandarian, and desert limes
In between my desserts I got distracted by another roasted marshmallows but this time filled with cho cho choooc…you guessed it CHOCOLATE.
Roasted marshmallows filled with chocolate
The squiggly chocolate pieces were easy to crack into with my front teeth and the squishy soaked lime sponge cake had a refreshing taste, texture and fragrant of all things citrus.
Tea tree, mandarian, and desert limes
A chocolate treat guaranteed to make any chocolate lover beg for was the chocolate soufflé. You just can’t go wrong with chocolate especially if you are eating it in front of an amazing Melbourne view.
Couldn’t contain my excitement when the lamington and gumnuts had arrived. Oh I have missed my petite fours and there was no way on Earth I’d share this with anyone else besides me, myself and I. Each velvety bite of the lamington reveals chocolate mousse swirled with fresh raspberry compote.
Lamington and Gumnuts
It was a superb finish with the gumnuts as it was served frozen and it had a powerful minty flavour that was refreshing with every bite. This reminded me of an eclipse after every meal but a classier way to have it. Haha.
Vud De Monde Lights
For the second time in a row the real star for the evening was when I was being farewelled with a paper bag of goodies called “For the next day”. I couldn’t contain my childish excitement when the waitress tried to explain what she’d be handing out to me at the very end. There’s a reason why this bag is called that because after we had exited the restaurant, we waddled back to the hotel in 9 inch heels. The bag contained freshly tea leaves, two fun-size croissants and muselli, which are all housemade from Vue De Monde.
Overall this was my second visit and again Vue De Monde is a very sophisticated theatrical fine dining restaurant with a sweet little price tag between $250 -$300 per person. Surprisingly this restaurant never ever ever fails to bore me and made me feel like a kid in an adult body. I have yet to visit other similar restaurants like VDM, but in the meantime I’d say it’s still my favourite fine dining place to eat in Melbourne.
“For the next day”
Photos by Vanny Tang
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You may have seen the acclaimed Australian Executive Chef Shannon Bennett earlier this year and that’s because his appeared on MasterChef Australia with his mouth watering and nasty surprise: the theatrical warm chocolate and orange mousse from Bistro Vue. Bennett who is one of the world’s most talented chef at his restaurant Vue De Monde is widely recognized as one of Australia’s top 100 fine dining venues and most impressively it is situated at level 55 of Melbourne’s iconic Rialto building.
For a price tag of $200-250 per person for the gastronomes menu and a commitment to have the wine pairing as well, ranging from $30+ per glass is only appropriate. Ahh, this review is going to be long because the food is too good. Continue reading and you may drool. Just a little as each dish really plays on your mind.
We start off with compressed apple crisps with macadamia pureé. The crisps were a perfect crunch. It contained a nutty and sugary taste that seemed like a crime to eat with the compressed macadamia puree being intense. You’ll be nuts not to eat this because it almost tasted somewhat like Kettle chips, but only in a “healthier” form.
As far as first impression goes, two thumbs up.
Compressed apple crisps & macadamia pureé
From this point onward, the menu was on fast-forward mode.
With no menu in front of me, Vue De Monde decides to keep it all mysterious or perhaps YOLO style. Our next snack was the pine smoked salmon pearls. I had absolutely no regret eating the colourful mini vegetable garden on a plate with that heavenly intense burst of flavour from the salmon pearls. It was impossibly difficult to pretend I didn’t like this dish.
Middle: Pine smoked salmon pearls
I may have studded when I devoured the CANDY COATED smoked eel with a bit of caviar sprinkled on top and tucked underneath, white chocolate. I had immense fear this would vanish quickly and I was right. I enjoyed the savoury flavour and light candy crunch, but what was mind-blowing was that delightful buttery taste coming from the chocolate. I completely lost my mind…
Smoked eel, white chocolate, caviar
Next on the entrée menu the BBQ lamb heart and duck tongue with a dash of pepper. I was utterly shocked to see these quirky parts of the animal in the menu, but that didn’t stop me from eating it. I wasn’t expecting this to be super impressive with that generous amount of caramelisation and light smokey smell, but after one bite it changed my perspective. I loved it. To accompany these BBQ meat I had to order a glass of NV Charles Heidsieck ‘Brut Reserve’. This bubbly had its own personality with fresh floral notes.
Top right to bottom right: BBQ lamb hearts, Duck tongue w mountain pepper
Left: NV Charles Heidsieck ‘Brut Reserve’, Reims, France
Soon after that oysters arrived with a citrus taste. They were fresh and creamy, just the way I like it, classic and simple.
Just when I was so convinced that the snacks were over, here comes a massive piece of Himalayan pink salt rock and as a bonus we get front seats watching thick slices of salt-cured Flinders Island wallaby being rolled up at our table.
Prepared at the table
The wallaby was pretty damn good with a drop of green herb puree. It almost had the same texture as a tuna sashimi, but slightly tougher and leaner. But yeah more of the wallaby would’ve been good because everything tastes better with pink salt rock.
Salt cured wallaby
Vue De Monde’s open kitchen
At this point I realise that each of those rocks were hand-crafted.
Felt like I was eating with the Royal Family with these cutlery.
Now can we start on the first course? 😀 😀
The Spanish mackerel with cylinder potato filled with chicken puree and on top a teaspoon of caviar was simply perfect. The square piece of fish was fresh and succulent. My goodness the light crust was enough for a crunch but not enough to take over the entire dish. Now the quince sauce offered a sweet balance and tied together beautifully with the thinly sliced potato.
Spanish mackerel, potato, chicken, caviar
I had no clue where the chef came from, but I was so excited to watch first-hand what he was preparing for me next. The chef explains to us that we are having Blackmore wagyu.
I know I am having meat…
Fast-forward a minute later and it’s just oh so right watching wagyu being cooked like that. VDM knows how to serve me well. Medium rare please chef.
Blackmore Wagyu “steak & onions”
So okay, yes I was drawn to this dish and it wasn’t just because VDM served wagyu…*rolls eyes*. I hearted that meat with the sauce which had the right amount of tenderness and were balanced out with the smoky scent in the air with a hint of pepper. Besides that piece of meat the garden greens looked astonishing.
Adding the final touches
Baby I lost my breathe at my first bite of the wagyu. I just couldn’t keep up after that. I particularly liked the texture and I wish I could have a larger portion.
Medium rare is just the way I like my meat
Not sure if you can handle this but this has got to be the best theatre experience I have ever had for pallet cleansing. You can’t go wrong with a bit of science especially when it’s liquid nitrogen. Liquid nitrogen was poured into a bed of wood sorrell and this instantly snap-freeze the ingredients.
Cucumber, wood sorrel
We were then asked to pound into fine pieces then a scoop of cucumber sorbet was spooned in. The result was freaken astonishing. Definitely super refreshing and no signs of it being tooth achingly. This dish was amazing and would return for that alone.
Cucumber, wood sorrel
The kitchen sent us a small black leather pouch and in it contained a warm loaf of sour dough bread and to accompany hand churned butter. Somehow this just made my soul feel all fuzzy. I had no regrets covering my slice of bread with butter, NO REGRETS! As expected the butter was silky soft.
Sour dough and house made butter
Excuse me but I think there seems to be a mistake. I didn’t order breakfast. In continuation of this mysterious menu, we were served with eggs on toast! Oh how I cannot resist this, especially when you can serve it with a glass of 2006 Louis Roederer Cristal champagne. I think this is called “Champagne Breakfast“. And that kids is how VDM will spoil you for breakfast.
This dish was TOP of my list at VDM because the textures were incredible and satisfied my tastebuds. That duck yolk and drizzle of truffle sauce did not disappoint. The crunch of the saltbush plus paper thin toast had my head spinning. It’s crazy rich, but you will not reach the overwhelmingly sick stage. Round 2, thanks!
Duck yolk, pear, truffle
OOOOZY!!! Oh how I love a good runny yolk, soooooo creamy and so heavenly deeeeeeeelicious! Gotta love me some calories. Get that calorie action game face on!!!!
I don’t think you understand…this duck yolk belongs to me.
Our next course was the three way marron. I had high hopes for this and I am glad it delivered. And while you are living the high life you might as well sneak in a glass of 2013 Bourgogne Chardonnay Domaine Paul Pernot. This wine maintains a great balance between fresh citrus notes and the lively acidity.
Three Way Marron
The marron was super juicy, like, fully JUICY! I tell you this course was just pretty darn addictive. I smothered the marron into the super silky brown butter like full on. This baby marron has got to be right up there on my favourite fine dining course ever! I was pleasantly surprised how well the three way marron married so well together.
Top left to bottom left: Brown butter, Marron & Marzipan
You know what’s perfect about this marron sandwich? EVERYTHING! Saving the best to last was an excellent idea. Not a single crumb was left behind and we all know that’s a really good sign. This delicate piece of sandwich required to be eaten with the hands and there may have been some finger-licking in between, so be prepared.
OH NO! Savoury course is almost over and to be frankly honest, food coma had already been activated, but that didn’t stop me from appreciating the next dish. Ox tongue with beetroot and bone marrow sure opened new doors of discovering something adventurous. Greeted with a white powdered creme fraiche that visually looked dry but as soon as it lands on your tongue it instantly melted like a snowman that was under the sun.
Ox tongue, beetroot, bone marrow
I had a bit of trouble trying to find the ox tongue but as soon as you scoop a tiny portion into your mouth there’s an enormous amount of meaty, creamy flavour laced with shreds of beetroot. Add a glass of 2010 Joh Jos Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese and you get a remarkable flavour.
Can you spot where the ox tongue?
By now I mentally imagined I had gotten up and walked off the calories that I just digested. I did say mentally. Teehee. Helllllo butternut with sunflowers and passionfruit. This isn’t your ordinary pallet cleanser as I never heard these combinations before. Crunchy crushed sunflowers says howdy to my teeth with burst after burst of butternut and passionfruit flavour.
Butternut squash, sunflower seeds, passionfruit
They tasted like summer with the fresh sweet fruity taste of the passionfruit. Sydney needs more of these nice light dessert to end the meal with.
A ball of happiness
Spotted the cheese trolley!!! Say CHEEEEEESE.
I should have probably invested in 15 pairs of granny pants because I felt so overweight that I would require someone to roll me out of here. The goat’s milk with blueberries and fennel was welcomed to our table. Topped with sugary crystal that you could easily break with a spoon and the texture was sooooo fine with the similarity of a panna cotta times creme brulee that was served cold.
Goat’s milk, blueberries, fennel
How can you decline chocolate soufflé when you get to witness the icing in action on your table? This dusting was going on for a solid 10 seconds. Shame it had to stop…
DARK Chocolate soufflé
BELLY SATISFYING souffle I have come across. I was not quite sure how I managed to finish this dessert but I did. It was light and fluffy with a knock in the face dark chocolate and an oozy molten chocolate centre.
To celebrate the end of our degustation a selection of petit-fours arrived. Get ready to BREATHE HEAVY. It’s nothing you’ve seen before. These salted caramel chocolate seashells had me eyes tripping. With sprinkled salt added to them I honestly couldn’t spot which one was the edible ones. AHHH sugar gods why weren’t the rest of those shells be made out of chocolate?!
salted caramel chocolate seashells
We were offered jelly pennies and I liked the novelty but the taste wasn’t how I pictured. There’s a teeny wenny sign of alcoholic flavour but hardly noticeable, with a hint of sweetness made with it.
Have you ever had menthol lollipops? For me this was my first time ever and there was rarely any actual menthol flavour, which is alright for me. Served frosted I digged the presentation more then the flavour. It looked incredibly kawaii. I seriously thought it was a cherry. VDM fooled me again! *applause*
The famous cherry lamington was impressive. I can’t describe how wrong was I to believe yet again what you see is not what you get. This lamington was leaning towards a mousse cake and that cherry brings everything all together.
ZOMG! Our degustation is finally over. Before I left the VDM building to head straight to the airport and catch my next flight back to Sydney, we were given a mini tour and we had to stop here to look at this spectacular view.
This is what the view looks like at Vue De Monde.
Yeah we are on level 55!!!
I seriously didn’t expect to visit Vue De Monde in my final hours in Melbourne. Did I mention I ran straight to the airport to catch my next flight home to Sydney after eating this degustation. I now know the meaning of gastronome. I am belly satisfied 😀 😀 😀
Woo-hoo I can finally tick this off my bucket list!!!!
Just when the fat foodie gang were about to walk out of there, we were given a really awesome surprise package for the “next day”. It’s hard to forget Vue De Monde when they shower you with more food on your way out.
What I truly loved about this experience was the creativity for every single dish that was served to us, the exquisite service and food combined with high theatre. OH and the goodie bag on my way out, which I highly recommend every other fine-dining places should have because adults still act like kids and this big kid loves little surprises, especially when it contains food.
“For the next day” – brioche, honey, digestives, granola & tea
Photos by Vanny Tang
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As happy as you may be to finally go back to work on a Monday, you may want to visit Ormeggio at The Spit on a Sunday. Just because you have a free afternoon doesn’t mean you should spend it at home. Since opening in 2009, Ormeggio has gained themselves Two Chef Hats in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide 2015 and it’s about time I visit this mystical land that they call “Stressless Sunday Dinner” in one of Mosman bay. It’s natural to hype up what you think $69 for 5 courses will be like in your imagination, but know that it’s probably the most cheapest meal I’ve been at by a hatted Italian restaurant. Think more “Great Gatsby” entrance when every dish arrives at your table.
What a view!
To find oneself in a never-ending plight to live healthfully, this organic sourdough with homemade whipped ricotta is an excellent place to start. Applause for meeting all the Nessy Eater requirements as it was served very warm, which lured me to really enjoy the aroma of this freshly baked bread. The crust was my absolute favourite as it offered a mixture of textures of being crusty and at the same time chewy. As for the wholesome inside, expect it to be between fluffy and spongy. Very lucky this bread didn’t turn into a wheat-brick. And what about that whipped ricotta eh? It was the simplicity and creaminess that surprised me! I almost begged the waiter for another round of this creamy spread.
Organic warm sour dough
This is no doubt green light dish or should I say a fantastic ocean trout appetiser with daikon, squid ink, mussels mayonnaise and dill. This is just one incredible presentation that I couldn’t believe I was about to devour. There was a lot of chopped omega 3 goodness in this and a lovely powerful dimples of sauce’s to create additional flavours. To stir the textures up the crunchiness of the dill brought a comfortable finish.
Yeah that was my ride on the left…KIDDING!
If you aren’t the kind of bid kid who takes joy in mixing the perfect martini then Pavoni martini ($22) is the one for you my friends. Something a little different and unexpected was this cocktail provides a bowl of olives, YES A BOWL OF OLIVES! This totally deserves an award for cocktail presentation.
Pavoni Martini ($22)
Make sure you make stomach room for the strawberry mojito ($11)-it’s a non alcoholic mocktail glory. The sweet, juicy crushed strawberries are a perfect compliment to the lime and mint. It’s a great beverage when you’re in the mood for something fruity and what better way to beat the heat during summer.
Strawberry Mojito ($11)
The tagliolini has got to come in a BIGGER size than a spoonful. I think I just confessed this dish was just super small for me. The pasta was fantastico-it provided the perfectly cooked strings of tagliolini that covered in a decadent mascarpone sauce and dusted with bottarga di pilu with a hint of lemon. The pasta was a perfect cradle for the sauce and a dusting of the bottarga (fish roe) really makes this dish sing. Fingers crossed next time I visit Ormeggio they offer upsizing this dish. I’ve put a lot of love eating this pasta and I wouldn’t mind doing it again for the second time.
By now I was ready for bed but that didn’t stop me from eating the braised lamb which I like to add it was truly gorgeous in presentation, especially with the river of yogurt, tomato that looked like watermelon pieces, coriander and garam masala. The lamb easily produced a flavoursome and tender outcome, however there was a slightly extra flavour and smell of game, which kind of ruined it for me.
Braised lamb shoulder
The greatest thing about pre-desserts is that you know there is another dessert coming up. Don’t be ashamed; take advantage of the opportunity of having two desserts! It’s an invitation to pamper yourself. Textures of passion fruit with coconut was all fun and games as it provided that sweet, smooth yet crunchy taste. Thumbs up for that palate-cleansing dish!
Behold! Ormeggio’s signature dessert landed at our table and I can’t quite put my finger on how many carrots were used in the making of this dish. It is one of the all-time favourites, and for good reason. The carrot cake is between spongy and moist, but not mushy if that’s what you are thinking. The cake softens more when it’s dunked into the fennel ice-cream and with the farro it adds that extra kick to the dessert. What was intriguing about this dessert was the dollops of vinegar caramel. I know it sounds insane to have vinegar in your dessert, but it strangely blends well with the sweet caramel and provides a little zing feeling.
Contemporary Italian cuisine is something I haven’t experienced before and I can finally tick that off, thanks to Ormeggio. I was certainly impressed with not only their food but hospitality as well. Staff knew what they were doing and was very knowledgeable with the menu and even the wine list. For a two hatted restaurant that offers an insane valuable dinner at $69 per person for 5 course meal with an ocean view, I think you’d be stressed not to visit on a Sunday.
Photos by Vanny Tang
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