I'll never hide my love for the Vue empire and anything Shannon Bennett, so recently when one of my friends decided to go to Bistro Vue for dinner to celebrate her birthday - I jumped at the chance. The food at Bistro Vue is not quite as exciting as Vue de monde, but the quality is exceptional with a reasonably wallet friendly price tag attached to it.
The last time we were at Bistro Vue we had the express lunch, this time we had the entire menu to choose from; sparing no expensive - besides our tight wallets. Damn you interest rate rise!! So we had a full feast, with three separate courses. I'll have to apologies for my photos in advance, I had to use a flash. We started the night with the sun still up and beaming gentle rays into the dining room. By the time the first course arrived the lighting had transformed from photo friendly to romantic boudoir. I love Daz, but when food is involved all I want to do is photograph it and then eat it, loving stares may be involved - but that's usually me drooling over the item on my plate.
before the sun goes down
Back to the food. We started with half a dozen Native moonlight flat oysters, Clair de lune and rusty wire. Since I first sampled these little morsels at Botanical I've become a changed woman. I was never really a huge fan of oysters, well I liked them but didn't really appreciate them. These oysters have a distinct ocean aroma with a metallic taste. I'm not sure how to describe it, but they are a huge cut above the rest so much so that whenever I see them on a menu now I order them.
House smoked salmon with toasted brioche. This was lovely. The salmon was silky without being too fatty, the brioche was buttery and toasty...just perfect. I was a little sad when the plate was empty.
Quail and foie gra pithivier. This was a seriously good dish. The pastry so flaky, the filling so moist. My mouth is watering just thinking about this dish. I strongly recommend ordering this dish if you plan on going to Bistro Vue, it will not disappoint.
Prawn cocktail. I didn't get to personally try this dish, but it very pretty and the eater was very pleased.
Daz had the Garlic snails with parsley crust. Of course we had a small argument over whether he had eaten snails before or not, he insisted he hadn't, I told him he had....anyway to cut a long story short he ordered the snails so he could eat snails for the first time (or so he believed). Turns out it was the right thing to do, the snails were garlicky, meaty and satisfying. Daz's exact words "they feel a bit like cooked calamari" my question to him, "when have you had raw calamari?"
Onto mains. Boy did I score big time! With so many fantastic options on the menu I really couldn't make up my mine. When the waiter told us the daily specials I was still not convinced. There was nothing that really shone above the rest, it all sounded good. So I bit the bullet and ordered the daily special. Braised Wagyu neck with lentils a la francaise. Oh man, I was in a world of my own when I was eating that dish. The beef was cooked so tenderly, but still remained firm. There was a thin amount of fat which made the meat so rich, but the meat was toatlly overtaken by those fantastic lentils. The sauce was so thick and sweet, as if port butter and honey had been cooked down together to make a marriage made in heaven. The lentils were even firm in the center, nothing like my sloppy mushy mess I make at home. The whole time I was eating it I was plotting how to recreate it. After my 5th bite I thought I should stop thinking before I ruined the dish for myself.
Giovanni Fabbri truffle pasta. This dish had some real visual appeal. The truffle sauce was so black it reminded me of squid ink. The flavor was earthy. I had a few bites, and the flavours were great but for me the pasta was a little over cooked. Just a little under al dente....not terrible, it just could have been better.
Daz and the birthday girl ordered steak. Any surprises? Sher Wagyu X Holstein, 450 days grain fed sirloin. The birthday girls steak was perfect. Complete with fat cut chips and sauce delivered in a jar.
Daz on the other hand got the raw end of the deal, literally. He ordered a medium rare steak and some how managed to get a blue steak. Not a worry, it happens. Daz was kinda full anyway, he just wanted the staff to know that the ordered had been mucked up. This is where the vue difference comes into play. I cant rave on about them enough, they were so speedy and pleasant about the whole problem. The maître d' we seriously concerned about Daz and didn't want his experience ruin by a poor dish. He skillfully suggested a substitute dish after Daz insisted he couldn't eat an entire steak. He recommended the soft shell crab with celeriac and apple remoulade and mojo sauce. He had Daz at soft shell crab. That dish delivered! The inside of the soft shell crab was stuffed with more crab, blue swimmer to be exact, the celeriac cream was so moreish I contemplated confiscating the dish from Daz. Even after the mistake with the steak, Daz was extremely happy. Job well done.
Dessert. We all ordered a dessert and did the only socially responsible thing....take a bite, pass the plate to the left. Best idea ever, mainly because I ended up with the dud dessert and I'll take any excuse to eat someone else's food. So we had Chocolate fondant with almond ice cream. nothing more to say other than oozy chocolate center, tick on flavour, tick on texture.
Pistachio nougat glace, this was my dud dessert. There was nothing really wrong with it, I just ordered the wrong thing, I saw pistachio and thought I was love it, I was wrong.
Trifle, blueberry, vanilla mousse and almond sponge. Oh so good, the mousse/cream was light and fluffy, the sponge also. The blueberry were tart so they did a great job to cut through the sweetness. I should have taken a bigger spoonful when it was sitting in front of me.
Chocolate souffle. The birthday girl ordered this one. It arrived at the table tall and proud. I didn't think that the souffle could get bigger than it already was, but the waiter cut a tiny slit in the top of the souffle, took the chocolate sauce and poured it into the hole. We all held our breath for a moment as we watched the eggy mix rise out of the pot. Then it stopped and started to deflate down, time to eat it. Chocolate souffle with chocolate sauce, for the serious chocolate lover.
At the end of the night we were all stuffed, happy and relaxed. The birthday girl was happy and more importantly very full. Now, time to save up for my next Vue visit!!