What better way to start, then at the top - these are the courses at a recent dinner at Vue de Monde
The initial courses were matched with a 1985 Bolinger R.D
Amuse: Essence of mushroom jelly with a warmed celeriac foam topped with a drop of truffle oil
Sourdough (left) and Squid Ink & Prune (right) served with Echiré butter
The first course is a new dish "Egg and Bacon" - a duck egg rests on a salt bed - filled with a duck egg sabayon, flashed-grilled until lightly browned it floats upon an intense bacon broth; two salt & sesame seed encrusted soldiers stand to one side, the perfect match for dipping, a sprinkle of salted sesame seeds underline the dish
Next offering, fine slices of Canadian Scallop (the scallop has been marianated in Yuzu juice) are arranged over a velvety spiced pumpkin purée, bathed in a bouillabasse foam it's then topped with a crisp wafer
Hand-crafted Laguiole cutlery
Sorrel wrapped snow crab filled balls; a sauce based on a reduction of crab shells and truffles lays underneath; shards of apple and carrot rest atop with a fine grating of boiled egg
Gratuitous shots of the kitchen during service
Ballantine of roasted pheasant stuffed with foie gras and pistachio mousse which is then surrounded in quince jelly. It's served with small cubes of quince jelly planted with chickpea shoots
To drink, a 2001 Mader Riesling from Alsace.
Modestly named "fricassée" of crayfish, crystal bay prawns and abalone, flashed with Calvados, placed upon a puréed spinach filled vol-au-vent; served with crustacean oil and a sauce based on crustacean juices and truffles
The 2002 Dujac AC Gevrey Chambertin was matched with this course.
The "Cleansing Drop" - chilled, clear tomato consommé containing tiny dice of tomato flesh is offered with an ice cube of puréed basil
The next two courses were matched to a bottle of 1985 Yarra Yering Dry Red No.2
Crushed kipler potatoes sit in the centre of this dish, borscht broth surrounds them, perched on top, a beetroot filled tortellono, draped with a thin slice of bacon. To one side, apple-smoked pork lays under a pasta-coated slice of seared black pudding; a smear of herbed crème fraîche and beetroot dust finish the dish
Interpretation of "Veal Parmigiana" - a crumbed veal slice, served pink sits beside a beef reduction; under a parmesan wafer, a salad of finely shaved fennel, assorted tiny leaves and baby shoots, a disc of crumbed veal mounted on a chunky pea purée
"Lamb Tangine": twin discs of roasted lamb sirloin served on a bed of spiced chickpeas, two quenelles of babaganoush and fine-grained saffron couscous, a drizzle of curry oil and two smoked eggplant shards complete the offering.
This was served with a 1999 Stoney Vineyard Domaine A Cabernet Sauvignon from Tasmania's Coal River Region.
How else would you get a toothpick?
The Pre-Desserts - arrive in the form of cucumber lollypops (cucumber slices soaked in pimms, then coated in pimms jelly to set) and a lemon sorbet shot, smothered in a warm, silky choc-orange foam
It's obvious this dish was thoroughly enjoyed. A strawberry soufflé with a dollop of strawberry sorbet.
To drink, a 2001 Chateau Doisy Deane Sauternes from Barsac.
The final dessert - a chocolate cup, filled with a choc-hazelnut mousse, topped with a froth of tarragon tinged cream; inside a viscous core of Grand Marnier flavoured syrup, flecked with finely grated orange rind.
This was matched with a true classic - Chambers Grand Muscat from the Rutherglen region of Victoria.
Robert Parker said it best when reviewing this wine "life is too short not to try one of the Muscats or Tokays from Chambers Rosewood...a true Australian treasure."
Finally we've come to the end of our meal. It really wouldn't be complete without some petit-fours, oddly enough consisting of five items (from top to bottom) - choc coated maple syrup and hazelnut ice cream balls; financier topped with mango mousse; lime jellies; earl grey flavoured chocolate logs and poppy-seed tuilles.
Photos: Sony Ericsson K750i
Vue de Monde is at 430 Little Collins Street, Melbourne Australia