Saturday, 17 April 2010

vue de monde @ little collins st., melbourne

My trip to Melbourne seems so long ago! It's rather unfair that holidays always seem to go by so quickly and work just chews up so much of my time and passes by ever so slowly. And well, once again I've been caught up in the whirlwind of work so have only managed to get some time now to catch up on the rest of my Melbourne posts. 

So it was that J&I flew down to Melbourne to see Jamie Oliver. I don't think J understood my fascination with Jamie until he actually saw him for himself. Since coming back, J has been urging me to make pizza just like Jamie does and well, there was definitely no comments made about me having too many cookbooks when I said I was ordering Jamie's new cookbook online (I think J is secretly in love with Jamie too!)

But Jamie isn't the reason for this post. This post is about an incredible 4 hour long degustation lunch that J&I had on the day before we went to see Jamie. This was the first time ever that I had a degustation for lunch and in every way, it was a memorable one! Let me take you on a visual tour of our 4 hour lunch...

Arriving at Vue de monde at 12 noon, J&I are the first to sit down.

Here we are admiring the decor and the detail they put to the table setting. It's ever so neat and pretty, a most fitting compliment to the food that was about to come to the table.

Amuse Bouche - Kangaroo charcuterie. I was actually surprised that kangaroo was the starter to the degustation; kangaroo tends to have such a distinctive flavour which I thought would linger a bit too much but having a taste of this, I certainly changed my mind.

Amuse bouche - Smoke eel with apple gel.

Amuse Bouche - Kingfish with Osetra caviar.

Freshly baked bread roll.

First course: Heide vegetable garden. The vegetables were ever so fresh and crisp, I can't say that I've had fresher vegetables elsewhere!

Second course: Cauliflower tofu & slipper lobster with kombu crackers. The saltiness of the kombu crackers is a sharp contrast to the first course but only just salty enough to tease you and challenge your tastebuds.

Third Course: Green vegetable salad. I was actually quite surprised to see two vegetable dishes feature in the first three courses of the degustation. 

Fourth Course - Classically inspired truffle risotto. The truffle is freshly grated for you at the table and well, this dish was definitely one of my favourites. I hear it's one of Vue de Monde's signature dishes and looking around me, I could see it being ordered across the restaurant.

This is the view from our table.

Our fifth course comes to the table with a bit of prep work required.

Fifth Course - Whiting & basil ballotine, tomato infusion and mozarella noodle.

Palate cleanser.

Sixth Course - Western Plains pork with flavours of the earth.

Seventh Course & also my favourite course: Blackmore wagyu beef with dried berries & earl grey parsnip. Just look at the snowflaking on that piece of wagyu!! From our table, we could actually see the wagyu being cut up and I really had to restrain myself from jumping up and grabbing the whole piece for myself.

A cute little toothpick holder! The silver man actually pulls out a toothpick from the box!

J&I (our bellies covered by the table!)

Here's the palate cleanser before we eat dessert - Woodside Pompeii with pear.

Eighth Course - Lollipop. Yep, it's made to be eaten like one!

Ninth Course - Blackcurrant sago and blackcurrant mousse with raspberry meringue and bubble gum ice cream. Eating this one sent tingles down my spine; it's an interesting mix of sweet, sour, crunchy and the rather distinctive taste of bubble gum.

Tenth Course - Golden Gaytime souffle and also my favourite out of the desserts.

And to finish, Petits-fours.

So it was four hours later that we completed all ten courses. We were the second last table to finish lunch and to be honest, I was more than happy just to sit there for the rest of the afternoon and enjoy the feeling of the good food in my stomach. I really didn't want to move.

But well, there was still an afternoon left to explore a bit of Melbourne so reluctantly, we got up and vacated the restaurant. Simply said, I was full and it took a bit of coaxing on J's part to get me moving. 

Thanks to the lovely team at Vue de Monde for such an incredible lunch. Your dishes challenged my tastebuds. I love how you present your food and well, there's not one bit that I would change; you are perfect just the way you are! 


Bean Sprout's Cafe said...

My first degustation was at Vue de monde 3 years ago... until now, its still one of the best and memorable meal for me... I can remember how excited I was... really wanna go again, the food looks superb :D

Amy @ cookbookmaniac said...

Aww Panda! This sounds out of this world. Its amazing! Your photos are great too.

What were they doing on the fifth course. It looks like some torture device. LOL.

It all looks so imaginative, inventive and inspiring. WOW

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Wow what an experience! And you got great pics too. I always thought it was a very dark place at dinner so good idea to do it during the day.

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

I couldn't bring myself to eat here when I was last in Melbourne but I did eat at Bistro Vue and Cafe Vue instead. Excellent photos and a true experience of a meal stretching for four hours! Love the sound of a Golden Gaytime souffle =D

OohLookBel said...

Fantastic photos! The food looks unbelievable though I think it's all part of the overall 'experience' at Vue de monde. Glad you had a wonderful time.

joey@FoodiePop said...

Wow, you went the whole hog! Well done! I don't think I could ever sit through a four-hour lunch (and it's so expensive too!) but it looks like you had a fabulous time! What a shame the pasta wasn't part of the degustation, as it was divine!

Anonymous said...

4 hours and 10 courses, sounds like a king of a feast! :) You two look so cute together! And happily full.

The golden gaytime souffle sounds divine, and I love playing with my food so that cool contraption was very amusing!

panda said...

beansprout - i really enjoyed it too but i think next time I'll go for dinner. I just can't eat that much at lunchtime!

amy - the photos are all by the boy; he's been practicing trying to get good food shots :) in the fifth course, that contraption is almost like a coffee percolator where they make this infused soup at the table - this gets poured over the dish. it was actually quite amazing to watch! it was definitely one inspiring meal!

lorraine - the thing with me, i just can't eat that much at lunch time. i find i can eat more at dinner. regardless, loved the food and it's such a nice place!

mademoiselle delicieuse - i actually want to try the bistro too!! and well, i think 4 hours might be the record for me :) and well, golden gaytime for me anyday!

belle - it's true, this place offers the overall experience which makes it unique to any other degustation i've had.

joey - i really enjoyed it even though i was a bit full and was waddling afterwards. ooh..what do i hear about their pasta? i must try it next time!

ting ting - thanks!

vicky - haha, yes we were happily full (with the table to cover our bellies!) sometimes i think the two of us eat too much :)

char said...

yum ! everything looks so fun. photos are really good !