The restaurant is housed in a manor house and unlike the common open plan dining rooms, this establishment seats diners in about three separate rooms / areas. We had a table for two on the back edge of one of the rooms in a room with an open fire. The ambience was a blend of elegance and homeliness and we soon settled in.
We decided not to take photos as no one else was, it didn't seem to fit it to do so and we'd read other people's reviews and blogs and there seems to be a general concensus that it's not really what Monsieur Reymond likes. Having said that, I've since read a review with course by course pictures and I'm really jealous that blogger has a permanent reminder of the meal!
We were greeted warmly at the door and the service throughout the whole night was faultless. We enjoyed conversing with our South African waiter who was knowledgeable and obviously passionate about the food served.
We opted for the degustations with the wine pairings. We did notice that the wine for the vegetarian degustation was exactly the same course by course as for the non vegetarian so perhaps it's less of a pairing with food and more of a tasting of wine. Either way it was still enjoyable.
The amuse bouche was a Gruyere pastry which Steve really enjoyed. I started off a little unimpressed as I'd broken off a particularly dry bit and whilst chewing that but I actually put half back thinking I didn't really want it as it wasn't that great. However subsequent tastes later meant I got to the gooey cheesy but and I picked up the half I'd put down and finished it off!
Tea smoked chicken and watercress soup, potato foam
and tempura wakame oyster, azeite dende
2008 Champalou Vouvray Sec, Vouvray France
Still not sure what azeite dende is even after having the dish. A quick Google tells me it's a Brazilian palm oil. Anyway it was good start to the menu being light and enjoyable. The oyster was super fresh. I don't usually like them deep fried as they go soggy and mushy but this was done really well and the salty oyster added depth and complexity to the soup.
Gazpacho of tuna oriental style, dashi and pure natural tomato jelly,
native Davidson red plum
2008 Pouilly Fumé Tonelum, Loire valley France
This was a stand out dish and a close contender to being the dish of the evening. The tomato flavours were so jammy and a great accompaniment to the soft red tuna. Apart from tinned tuna pasta bake, harking back to the student days, I'm not usually a fan of tuna and tomato. Tinned tuna being pretty much like soggy cardboard goes with anything but fresh tuna and tomato is usually a funny combo in my mind but this was just perfect and so very clever.
Flavours of winter: deep sea rockling with anchovy and coffee,
Mount Buffalo hazelnuts and orange oil, saffron rouille dressing
2010 Toolangi ‘Jacques Reymond Sélection’ Yarra Valley Vic
Steve opted out of the coffee and had orange oil drops instead of the two little drops of coffee that appeared on my late. The rockling was cooked perfectly and the saffron rouille added a creaminess that made the dish go from bland to luxe.
Western Plains young pork shabu shabu in masterstock, fresh pappardelle,
Tasmanian wasabi espuma and ponzu juices
2008 Durandal Grand Cru, St Emilion Bordeaux France
The pork had a silken feel to it that made it seem more like rabbit than pork. It was tender and char siu like and the stock was sweet and meaty. The dish resembled a deconstructed dumpling. The wasabi foam pretty much disintegrated into nothing; it didn't really add anything or take away. It did make the dish look like someone had accidentally been washing the dishes a bit too close to the kitchen pass!
Gippsland white farmed rabbit and crispy squid, spiced walnuts and
compressed apples, oloroso sherry vinaigrette
2008 Yabby Lake Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula Vic
I really enjoyed the apple, vinaigrette and rabbit combination but found the rabbit a bit too soft and mushy for my liking. Perhaps I had a bad piece as Steve said his wasn't mushy. The flavours were good but the texture of the meat made this my least favourite of the night.
Wagyu beef rump and oyster sauce, eggwhite omelette of pickled chokos,
grated daikon and chilli, our ketchup sorbet
2006 Dalwhinnie ‘Jacques Reymond Selection Cabernet’, Pyrenees, Vic
This was the winning dish for me. We opted for the extra shaved black truffle to go on top and the combination was just divine. The 9 grade Wagyu melted and had this buttery soft texture and the deep meat flavour remained in the mouth after it had been eaten. The spicy chilli and daikon cut through the fattiness of the meat and the ketchup sorbet was a great flavour enhancer. The accompanying eggwhite omelette was tasty by itself and the pickled chokos quite Asian in flavour but it didn't really add anything to the meat flavours.
Iced coffee and chocolate martini, Tahitian vanilla, caramelised nuts
Once again Steve held back on the coffee and had a gin fizz foam on his instead. This was a delightful palette cleanser with the iced coffee and chocolate being naughty and then the bottom fruit layer was sharp and tangy cleansing the palette.
Deconstructed cheese cake: galette of fresh Timboon fromage blanc l‘artisan,
warm fruit pudding, mountain bush pepper berries ice cream
2006 Pressing Matters Riesling R139 Coal River Tasmania
I was pleasantly surprised at the lightness of the cheese filling and the accompanying crispy biscuit was so light and delicious; almost brandy snap like. The icecream was nice enough but not a flavour I would choose to have if I was in an ice cream shop!
Coffee and petits fours
We actually opted for tea and I was a little disappointed that it was pretty weak and not the brew that I like but in all honesty this was the only blemish in our meal. From the moment we walked in we enjoyed the experience. I had wondered prior to our meal whether Chef Reymond would be in the kitchen and it was good to see him come out and walk the floor later on in the evening.
Steve and I agree that this was hands down the best meal we've had in Melbourne; also the most expensive but we can tell the difference between two hats and this place and in the extra $200 dollars. It's obviously not an every week or even every month restaurant (although the table next to us seem to be once every couple of weeks patrons) but everyone needs a place they go to for a treat.
Competition for this place in the Barley cluster of culinary experiences put it vying for top place the likes of Joel Robuchon and Alain Ducasse in Las Vegas, Le Quartier Francais in South Africa which we went to when it was in the top 50 of World restaurants and the two Michelin starred Restaurant Sat Bains in good old Blighty.
So if I took Steve to Jacques Reymond for his birthday, do you think he'll take me to Vue de Monde for mine? Or even better for our wedding anniversary in September?