The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar

YES, this is yet another Melbourne food blog!

Event: Nespresso Crealto Dinner at Vue de Monde

Vue de Monde
Level 55, Rialto Towers
525 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9691 3888
http://www.vuedemonde.com.au/

Disclaimer: Peter and Libby attended this event as guests of Nespresso and Weber Shandwick.

It’s not every day you receive an email from a PR company acting on behalf of Nespresso, inviting you to an industry dinner event at one of Australia’s best restaurants. Watching your colleague eat raw meat and then seeing their reaction when you tell him that it was, in fact, wallaby is also something you don’t see every day.

Then again, Vue de Monde is not exactly your ‘every day’ restaurant.

My first visit was almost four years ago to celebrate an anniversary with an ex-boyfriend. I must admit that I cringed when I re-read the entry – was I really that twattish back then? Wait, don’t answer that. In any case, I might have been on the Jacques Reymond>Vue de Monde fence that time but things can change in four years. In that time, Vue de Monde moved from Normanby Chambers to Rialto, head chef Shannon Bennett revamped Vue’s direction (and menu) and I lost two dress sizes. All in all, it looked like things changed for the better – and we were about to find out that night.

Crealto Nespresso Martini

Crealto Nespresso Martini

Pete and I might have felt slightly out of place with our bummy office attire but we were nevertheless greeted with warm smiles and espresso martini cocktails as soon as we stepped in.

Salt-cured wallaby

Salt-cured wallaby

‘Would you like some wallaby?’ asked the waiter, shoving a tray of what looked like dabs of dark, raw meat in our faces. For some reason, Pete heard him say ‘val-la-wee’ rather than ‘wallaby’ so he eagerly swallowed a piece, thinking that it was a fancy name given to a raw beef canapé or something like that. Thus, you can imagine his surprise when I was like, ‘Have you had wallaby before?’ (‘THAT was wallaby?’)

Oyster wrap

Oyster wrap

The oyster wrap was essentially puree was wrapped in a gelatin casing, making this canapé a visually interesting one – I was thinking ‘fancy oyster dumpling’ here. Also not pictured was the smoked eel with white chocolate, which sounded WTF to begin with but actually tasted really nice. I loved the beautiful contrast between the malty white chocolate crust and the smoky eel meat.

wp4

We were then shown to our table which was decked in some pimpin’ Christofle cutlery and beautiful people including two fellow bloggers, Catherine and Amy.

Throughout the dinner, Vue Head Chef Shannon Bennett told us why we were all congregated in this little room, 55 storeys above ground level. Bennett, along with Tetsuya Wakuda, had been appointed as a Nespresso Culinary Ambassador for Australia. I didn’t know this beforehand, but apparently Nespresso is used in over 700 Michelin-stared restaurants worldwide. This makes them a pretty big deal. Once Bennett finished talking about how fantastic Nespresso was (and about truffle farms), it was back to the food.

Echire butter

Echire butter

I love butter but ARTISAN FRENCH BUTTER?! Oh, Lordy! Needless to say, I applied this stuff liberally all over my bread.

Duck, leek, Gascony

Duck, leek, Gascony

Our entrée was the duck, which was tender and flavoursome. And while I’m normally on the anti-Chardonnay brigade, I thought the accompanying 2010 Tarrawarra ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay was smooth and peachy rather than EW GROSS OAKY. Each drop had a bit of zest which meant that it cut through the fatty duck meat beautifully.

Barramundi, Crealto, potato, squid, mustard greens

Barramundi, Crealto, potato, squid, mustard greens

We had barramundi for our main – and it had coffee in it! Well, not a lot. In fact, I couldn’t taste it. In any case, the fish was pefectly cooked and I loved how the other elements – all cooked beautifully – did not overpower the fish. And while I initially thought it was odd that we were given a glass of red to go with the fish, the very fragrant 2010 Bannockburn Pinot Noir added a bit of pizzazz to this dish.

Aussie-style petit fours

Aussie-style petit fours

We were then instructed to wander over to the dessert buffet table on the other side of the room for dessert. A very impressive Australia flora-themed ensemble greeted us, enticing us to sample the Aussie-style petit fours which were all inspired by the lollies Bennett enjoyed as a child.

Next to the dessert table, a guy was brewing cups of Nespresso Crealto Grand Cru for guests to try. I actually wanted to go to sleep that night so unfortunately, I missed out on trying the coffee (never mind that I had an espresso martini earlier that night, hah). I suppose I could have gone for the decaf version which was also available but sif anyone can be bothered with decaf coffee anyway.

Clockwise from top: chocolate mousse with jam ‘lamingtons’, salted caramel slice, musk ‘eucalyptus’ leaf, berry and cream tarts and gin penny jujubes

Clockwise from top: chocolate mousse with jam ‘lamingtons’, salted caramel slice, musk ‘eucalyptus’ leaf, berry and cream tarts and gin penny jujubes

I was really impressed with how creative the desserts were. Even the boring caramel slice got a bit of a makeover with a bit of saltiness thrown in the mix. If I had more room in my stomach, I would have also grabbed a lemon meringue tart which received lots of praise from my fellow diners but on the other hand, I was just as happy with my lamington.

If a French cuisine purist rocked up to this dinner, they may cry ‘SACREBLEU!’ on what seems like a rude Aussie assault on French food. However, I reckon Bennett nailed it. The food is cooked and presented perfectly as always but you also can tell that Bennett has applied a more confident and relaxed approach, resulting in dishes that are more enjoyable to eat. It’s amazing what four years can do.

Vue de Monde on Urbanspoon

6 Comments on Event: Nespresso Crealto Dinner at Vue de Monde

  1. Nami | Just One Cookbook
    November 28, 2013 at 17:24 (11 months ago)

    WOW – the oyster wrap!!! I want to make it! It’s fun to put shrimp and something pretty color inside… And the artisan French butter… if the bread is also good, I might end up filling my tummy with those two. :D

    Reply
  2. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    November 29, 2013 at 10:33 (11 months ago)

    Everything there is so creative! It’s quite Alice in Wonderland which makes it sound like so much fun :)

    Reply
  3. Sarah
    November 29, 2013 at 20:10 (11 months ago)

    Wow! That looks amazing! I love the petit fours buffet – so pretty and creative!

    Reply
  4. Otto Au
    February 4, 2014 at 08:40 (9 months ago)

    Be a nice place for XMAS day lunch! :-)

    Reply
  5. Christina
    May 1, 2014 at 13:12 (6 months ago)

    thanks for the thread. I’ve always wondered what the events function was like at VDM. The Oyster wrap looks scumptious!

    Reply
    • libishski
      June 8, 2014 at 19:13 (5 months ago)

      VDM is definitely a wonderful place to have an event at – that is, if you have the $$$ to splurge!

      Reply

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