Chef: Shannon Benette
Location: Normanby Chambers 430 Little Collins Street Melbourne
Vue de monde is Victoria's number one restaurant, and Melbourne's one and only 3 star holder for the year. Everything about it screams number one. We went here for my partners birthday as a special occasion.
The atmosphere of vue de monde is something I have not experienced before. You are greeted at the door, nothing special or different from any other place, they ask to take your coat....again nothing out of the usual.
Once you are seated, that's when the experience completely sets it apart from other restaurants I have been to. There are no menus per say, it is more like the chef takes you through a journey depending on what you feel like. The waiter and you tailor your meal, so you actually feel like you putting some input into your dining experience.
The menu gourmand is the middle of the range menu, your waiter asks you how many courses you feel like eating and weather you would like wines matched to your meal. It starts at $150 for 5 courses per person. In this menu only a few premium ingredients are used. At the higher end, and the best available, you can go for the gastronomes menu, which is $250 per person. This menu includes much more premium ingredients like truffles and foie gras.
We chose to go with the menu gourmand. We had 8 courses and each was more amazing than the last. Some dishes were inspired from traditional French fare, where as others were right out their. There was a passion fruit puree delivered in a pasture pipette and part of another dish was presented in a test tube.
Shannon Benette's dishes have elements of the molecular gastronomy movement, and his presentation doesn't let you forget that.
Here are some of the dishes we had*
Pork Belly with radish and baby carrot
Kiwifruit and Mint lollipops
This was the the most delicious palate cleanser I have ever had. It was frozen kiwi slices dipped in mint jelly and presented in a lollipop form. It was a nice way to break up the courses. After eating them, we wanted more!
We also had a carpaccio of foie gras with fennel. I don't have a picture of this, but it was layered in such a way that it looked like opera cake. The soft foie gras contrasting the fennel was amazing on the palate. And I'm not the biggest fan of fennel in any shape way or form, so I was very surprised that this was my favourite dish of the night.
Pistachio and chocolate creme brulee
Deconstructed pina colada
I was very impressed by this dessert. Starting from the top left, coconut ice cream, in the shape of a coconut no less, pina colada mixture with rum in a test tube, a pineappled fritta (with no batter), a very tasty dehydrated piece of pineapple and lastly (if I remember correctly) a variation of coconut cream. Another stand out dish that blew us away when it arrived at the table.
And lastly to finish the meal we had petits-fours. I cant remember what they all were, but i will attempt to describe them. Starting from the left, blueberry pop-corn, dark chocolate cups, cherry's dipped in a toffee, lemon curd to be eaten with the mini pavlovas sitting next to the lemon curd, and lastly beetroot macaroons. The main reason why I cant remember exactly what all the petits-fours were, is that by this point in the night I had had a few glasses of wine.
Vue de monde's is a definite must visit! I know that the menu has changed completely, so hopefully I can scrap some money together and indulge myself again.
*Photos were taken by a third party