I had the good fortune recently to visit Vue de Monde restaurant, and I wouldn’t mind going back quite soon! Vue impressed with an uniquely Australian fine dining experience, that was both refreshing and smart, and more than I had imagined it could be. Starting with the view more than 200m up it’s simply fabulous, and a bonus was the long summer evening providing a lengthy dusk to take in the slowly changing light of the city.
There are obviously all the hallmarks of a meticulously designed restaurant experience, I wont go on to much because I’m sure you can Google the Gourmet Traveller article which gushes on about the interior, right down to the Christophle cutlery and bespoke kitchen.
When hanging around in the clouds the best is to just drift along… with the Gourmand Menu. A great journey, but a word of advice: even though the bread is amazing and cozily kept warm in a little leather bag with hot stones, don’t eat too much of it. Don’t. The menu gourmande is extensive and you really want to be appreciating all of it.
We kicked off with a Bereche Champagne NV and little snacks ranging from crisps, eel, white chocolate & caviar and salt-cured wallaby to oysters with finger lime. Then an intriguing textural course with wasabi snow, peas and a light caramel.
With a Cuilleron ‘Le Petit Cote’ Condrieu ’10 we had a luxurious Spanner crab, avocado, kohlrabi and foraged beach herb course, before moving on to a “rustic” course of marron & tarragon butter served with said amazing bread. I made the fatal mistake of eating too much of the bread, blaming it on the amazing whipped and perfectly salted butter…
A Patrick Piuze Chablis ’10 appeared along with a charming chef extracting an onion “soup” (more consommé) with fresh young chamomile leaves, pouring this over our prepared plates. Then a gently cooked duck egg yolk – deceivingly removed (and cooked seperately ) from the white, served artfully on white onion puree, with asparagus ‘en croute’. A great simple classical culinary reference.
Another intereactive course, with herbs and flowers placed in mortar-like bowls in front of us, then the server pouring liquid nitrogen on it whilst we the overexcited guests grind up the herbs. A quenelle of sorbet then arrives and voila: palate cleanser. And time for the next wine.
Pierre Gelin Fixin 1er Cru ’07 it was, currently a favourite. The course that arrived now, introduced by the head chef himself, was barramundi, killed by the ike jime method. I’ve read a lot about this manner of killing (fish), it’s however the first time I’ve eaten the resulting product, and yes, the fish is markedly different. Accompanied by a barbecued prawn, nettle and lettuce, and sauced table side.
A dark, rich Feudi San Gregorio Aglianico ’02 and a dramatic pigeon course was up next. Paired with various asian mushrooms, and served rare, I tried to remember when last I ate pigeon, it was definitely back in England, I haven’t seen it here on any menus. This course has hay smoke wafted all over the table, with the confit pigeon legs served last, before the dish is sauced. If it wasn’t so warm outside, England would have been quite imaginable! This was my favourite course.
I had to have a leg stretch after this and stare at the city lights some more but promptly sat down for the decanting of a Monbrison Margeaux ’00 and the arrival of a lamb course, featuring the loin as well as the breast. A beautiful subtle course, paving the way for the wagyu beef course to arrive. Paired with beetroot, pear and served with loin grilled on Japanese charcoal at the table, then truffle shaved onto the prepared plates, this was a sublime highlight.
A bit of a break – we had now been having dinner for several hours (!) – then cheese, served masterfully table side. We opted for a selection, and had 10 beautifully aged cheeses at optimum temperature, with various condiments and breads to complement.
Then a ‘beer’: a palate cleanser of passionfruit before the first dessert, an airy composition of edible flowers, strawberries, meringue and cream. The table we were seated at had a view of the pastry chef and throughout the night we watched him meticulously making what seemed like hundreds ( not that many but you get the idea) of absolute perfect soufflé’s. And now ours was to arrive, along with a Jurancon Clos Guillerouilh.
I’ve read and heard much about the VDM chocolate soufflé, and it is a work of airy chocolate perfection, served with even more chocolate and an anglaise poured at the table, this incredibly sweet dessert ended the meal with a bang, barely leaving space for the mignardises at the end.
A beautifully presented plate of mignardises finished the meal – eucalypt inspired musk ‘leaves’, ice cream pops and Bourbon penny jellies, as well as chocolate mousse lamingtons. Fabulous. And then you think your’e done and they hand you a ‘breakfast’ goodie bag as you head out the door, dizzied by the experience (or maybe the wine… what the heck).
This is a fantastic experience in Australian fine dining at at its best, I’ll go back any time, try and get there for a special occasion!