Dining Out

Vue de Monde

A Melbourne icon emerges from a makeover refreshed and energised.
Vue de Monde Melbourne: mud crab with saffron
Mud crab with Victorian saffron at Vue de Monde
Jason Loucas
MELBOURNE
Address
Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St

Vue de Monde has been through several incarnations since it opened in 2000. Its journey from edgy street-level Carlton terrace to glamorous 55th floor perch in a CBD skyscraper has never failed to attract attention with its combination of style, substance and eye-watering expense. There have been times when style and expense have trumped substance, but with this current incarnation, chef Hugh Allen in charge and a three-month closure for renovation under its belt, VDM has positioned substance front and centre.

Tellingly, while the renovation did give the dining room a spruce, adjusted the lighting, refreshed some furniture, more attention was lavished on its signature open kitchen. In the expanded and remodelled space, Allen and his enthusiastic kitchen team are unleashing a burst of successful, interesting and – praise be – delicious creativity, whether you’re talking the two or three thrilling, clean-lined sips of chilled radish soup flavoured with strawberry oil that revs the engine of the multi-course meal, or an exquisite wakame and avocado tart hidden under a flurry of purple-blue borage flowers or the scintillating combo of macadamia cream, kelp and caviar that’s good enough to elicit swooning.

With food that comes at you in various sizes and shapes, with a syncopated rhythm and a mix of the classic (signature chocolate soufflé, a covetable cheese trolley filled with great Australian cheese) and the more experimental (marron “innards” served in a glorious egg custard, lamb sweetbreads teamed with fermented koji), it’s hard to figure out exactly how many courses a meal here constitutes. Is it 16 or 18? Was the liquid nitrogen frozen flowers and foliage with gelato a course or a palate cleanser? In the end it doesn’t matter. This is eating as experience, not dinner. It’s about the cavalcade of flavours and textures, the highlighting of Australian native ingredients, the team of excellent floor and kitchen staff who don’t talk your ear off while delivering each course but offer enough information
to make it intriguing.

The wine and drinks list is, as it has always been, impressively encyclopaedic with the ability to give your credit card a serious walloping. But the breadth of choice, from rare tea to benchmark labels from the world’s storied wine producers, is remarkable and entirely fitting for a diner like this, high in the sky and operating at a level that’s equal to the best it’s ever been. Better still, it feels like there’s plenty more where that came from.

Vue de Monde
Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St
Chef(s)
Hugh Allen
Price Guide
$$$$
Bookings
Essential
Wheelchair Access
Yes
Opening Hours
Lunch Fri-Sat; Dinner Wed-Sat

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