Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Vue de Monde: A most amazing meal

I finally strutted and fretted my hour upon the stage, with the PhD graduation ceremony last Saturday morning. I even have some dorky pictures to prove it:

It was a lovely ceremony, and the dinner afterwards with my relatives was equally delightful but the highlight of the weekend/month/year was definitely dinner the night before at Vue de Monde. My father and I had joked early in my candidature that if I ever graduated from the PhD he would take me to this wonderful but extravagant restaurant. I did, and he did, as well as bringing along the rest of the family, the boyfriend, a dear family friend and an Aunt and an Uncle. 8 people meant sitting at the chef's table (one of 3 apparently.) It has both a private window and a view of the kitchen.

Or, if you are a magic phone photographer like my lovely other half, you get both in the same picture. Wonderful, and so was the meal. I didn't like all courses, but then again anyone who has a palate that wide is just lying. Here is a photo of my favourite course, the cucumber sorbet for which the flavour balance was perfect and the theatre of the dish erred on the funner side of things.

The other half loved the course below immensely, as did I, which was different tastes and textures of mandarin and viola. If you've ever read my other blog, you'll know I love all members of that flower family.

I wont put up anymore pics of the food, because they're from a phone and they do not do these amazing dishes justice. Although props to the awesome phone photographer. However other highlights, for me, included an amazing mocktail (see you don't need to drink to have a good time), petit fours that still linger in my memory, eel with a cracking good texture, coconut sorbet balls and anything that had mushrooms. Although there are no more pics of food I couldn't resist this one, of me with my new favourite thing in the world (sorry boyfriend) the cheese cart:

My precious, my cheese ... though I do note that I erred on the side of decency and only tried three while my brother raked in tiny tastes of at least 6 French and Australian cheeses. I went all gollum with this wheely wonder and would have made off with it if I could. The 55 floor lift kind of got in the way of that plan. So much cheese, a well selected range and generous servings.

VDM even give you a morning after bag to take home, with a brioche, museli and more. A few days later they sent Dad a menu of proceedings, a touch which I considered to show the same care and detail as saw on the night. I mean this is a place that does a set menu but also caters to dietary needs. I can't eat under/uncooked egg, and one dish contained a barely more than raw egg. Although I drooled over everyone's plates I knew that with just one bite I'd be dashing for the ladies. Instead of causing me difficulties, they kindly prepared me an alternative dish, smoked kangaroo and other goodies. It even came with the same freshly shaved truffle that the egg dish did. No fuss, no bother, no 'we don't do alterations', just thoughtful.

It really was the most perfect graduation present and everyone enjoyed the night. There were some tiny hiccups, as there always are, with noise being a slight issue at times. The other chef's tables were in quieter locations but for a cooking-mad Phd grad (and a few other foodies on the table) the one closest to the main kitchen was a coup, and I wouldn't change anything. There was also some undulating service (my brother felt pressured to have a soft drink after repeatedly declining the kind but constant and overly forceful  questions from our wait staff.) However, these quibbles really were so minor, and simply part of dining out. The funniest issue was with the toilets. They are very grand, but very dimly lit, and I got a little confused (it probably didn't help I was mid-oncoming migraine at the time.) But a different lovely lady, we'll call her Mum for the sake of this story, managed to get locked in a stall. My Aunt only narrowly missed this fate. The family friend somehow found himself in the same trouble in the disabled toilet. Moreover he wasn't aiming for, nor needed the diasabled toilet, it was simply to dark that it was hard to tell the difference. I'm just surprised I didn't get locked in because I could barely even find the door to get in, let alone get out again. And from the waitress's stories this is, seemingly, a common event. Not sure how to fix this problem overall, but they might want to warn people in advance.

It might sound strange but I was talking about it to the boyfriend afterwards, and we both agreed, magnificent as it was, we are in no hurry to go back. We do wish to return one day, but just not soon. It was so big, so grand, so gourmand and looms so large as a wonderful memory that I don't feel I could manage it a second time soon. Maybe one summer when the menu is somewhat different, or when I have something else special to celebrate we will return (not to mention when I finally have the money to spend on this place.)

But for anyone else, all I can say is, save, scrimp, eat rice for a year if you have to, but do whatever you can to spend a night at Vue de Monde, it really is worth it.

Although one last piece of advice - it might be wise to go to Vue de Monde AFTER your graduation, lest you end up like this on the big day:

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