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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Event @ Vue de Monde

3,2,1 Dinner!

Three continents, two great minds, one astounding dinner. The countdown begins to one of the most anticipated events of the Festival when Oriol Balaguer, whose sweet creations are prized from Barcelona to Tokyo, joins forces with Shannon Bennett at Australia's Restaurant of the Year, Vue de monde. The menu may be totally cutting edge but, as they're still sticklers for tradition, Shannon will do the savoury courses and Oriol will look after the desserts in this six-course degustation dinner with matched Spanish wines, each paired with a Victorian wine of the same style or varietal.

For us, this event was easily the highlight of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival - a festival in general that seems to have lost the lustre of earlier years. Perhaps it is trying too hard, perhaps it is too big and trying to serve too many masters, whatever it is, the events have become repetitive and staid. But this post won't dissolve into what is wrong with the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, it's about this special dinner.

menu

We had quite the surprise on Friday when Vue called to confirm the booking, they also informed us that Audi would be picking us up and taking us home as well!

Come Sunday night, right on time, the car arrived - a very lovely Audi A8. On the trip in we found out that Penny, our driver, would be waiting outside the restaurant along with the other 7 drivers, so she'd be ready to go whenever we were.

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The calm before the storm

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why you shouldn't drink when making glasses

One of the most pleasant aspects of the night was that we had private tables - none of that having to make awkward conversation. It was good just to be able to enjoy the evening - it's a pity though, that people can't work out how to turn their flash off.


Now onto the menu:

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Amuse Bouche: A Spanish Tasting Plate
Drink: NV B Argueso Manzanilla Classica San Leon Sanlucar de Barrameda

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The amuse consisted of 3 dishes:
toasted cubes of brioche, brandade, salmon pastrami and gazpacho jelly

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Left: Jamon tartare with quail egg and brioche toast
Right: Crystal Bay Prawn

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CRABE SAUTE:
King Crab, sautéed with a crab emulsion and potato tuile

Under the potato tuile sat the shredded crabmeat and on the other end of the plate sat a large piece of crab claw, in between sat a cluster of white grapes in jelly

To drink: 2006 Valminor Albarino, Rias Baixas and 2002 Pizzini Verduzzo, King Valley

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GNOCCHI AU FROMAGE DE CHEVRE:
Goat's cheese gnocchi, 'pulled' chicken, burnet shoots, golden beetroot and perigold truffle

To drink: 2005 Senorio de Otuza Pezas de Portela, Valdeorras and 2002 Tallarook Marsanne, Central Victoria

Usually gnocchi made in this style are made to mimic the shape and size of a traditional gnocchi, in this case it's been served up as a long coil. I do enjoy the texture that comes with spherification, the way they just rupture to the bite and release their luxurious interior leaves you with such an intense flavour. I wasn't sold on the 'pulled chicken' - I don't think it really added anything to the dish. I should also note that in all the years of dining at Vue, it's the first time they actually forgot an ingredient - alas, the truffle went missing.

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SALADE: Jicama

A light break before our main - a citrus dressing combined with jicama and diced apple.

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ROTI DE PORC ET JAMON:
Pork roasted with Jamon

To drink: 1985 Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva, Rioja Alta and 2006 Quartier Barbera, Mornington Peninsula

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The warm jus is poured over by the waiter - topping the pork is a Gruyere crust and Brussels sprout leaves

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The jus just disappeared into the meat - a very rich course.

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It was served with these shots of warmed herb broth - they were to be drunk after finishing the pork.

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SOUPE DE MELON: Oriol's Melon Soup with Watermelon and Basil

To drink: 2003 Telmo Rodriguez Moscatel Molino Real, Malaga and 2006 Crawford River Nektar, Henry

Simple and refreshing and a welcome course after the richness of the pork.


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LES QUATRES SAVEURS DE LA TERRE:
Flavours of Chocolate inspired by the corners of the earth - A dessert collaboration by Oriol Balaguer and Shannon Bennet

To drink: NV ALvear Pedro Ximenez Solera 1927, Montilla Moriles and NV Chambers Old Vine Muscadelle Classic, Rutherglen

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The dish we've all been waiting for - part work of art, part dessert. Chocolate represented in various forms, from a sauce to a frozen chocolate sand

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Shannon's input came in the form of that spun sugar globe - inside was a mix of chocolate and lemon "crumbs"

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The lemon was the pivotal ingredient here as after going through all that chocolate, the lemon provided that contrast and cleansing note.

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PETIT FOURS:
Salted Caramel Truffles with Silver Leaf; Coconut Jellies, Meringues, Torrone with Candied Carrot, Toffee Kiwiberries

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Left: Toffee Kiwiberry
Right: Meringue injected with Mango Puree

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To finish off we were presented with a menu signed by Oriole and boxes of his chocolates.

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We felt sorry about Penny having to stay outside all this time so we decided to give her one our chocolate boxes.

The details:
Vue de Monde
Normanby Chambers
430 Little Collins Street
Melbourne
Phone: 03 9691 3888

Open:
Lunch: Tuesday - Friday Bookings:12.00pm-2.00pm
Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday Bookings:6.30pm-9.30pm

2 comments:

  1. Oh my...I'd give my left arm for that chocolate creation. How exquisite.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It was stunning Mellie - best of all, the taste was as good as the appearance.

    ReplyDelete

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