Hi everyone! Sorry for the retro review yesterday. We didn’t get home from dinner until kinda late and, honestly, I didn’t feel like doing a post. We were only in Melbourne for three nights, and they went by really quickly! We are already on our way to the Great Ocean Road! The Great Ocean Road is a coastal drive will lots of things to do along the way, plus some beautiful places to stop and take pictures. At least that’s what Justin in telling me. Most of the time I have no clue where we are going until we get there!
Anyway, back to Melbourne……..
Yesterday, we spent some more time walking around the city (although, I REALLY didn’t want to leave the hotel room). We intended to walk to the Royal Botanical Gardens. Unfortunately, we never actually made it there. We saw some of the park, but it was so hot and sunny that I could literally feel my skin scorching…….oh the lucky dermatologist who gets to see me after this trip…….!
After much complaining and fussing about how I was getting sunburned, we turned around and headed back to the hotel. It was still the early afternoon, so we decided to go the the hotel pool. And when I say “pool,” I actually mean the indoor hot tub. We hung out for a little while, then went back to the room to get ready for dinner and (more importantly) the club lounge.
I am really going to miss the club lounge. I swear, I would sleep in a cot in the hall in order to have club lounge access. Yesterday, they had sushi rolls (yum), dim sum, and prawn toast. Along with the usual smoked salmon, cheese selection, fancy spiced/sugared nuts (my personal favorite), and desserts. Basically, I ate a meal prior to dinner.
In case anyone was curious, I have gained 10 solid pounds in the last 8 weeks and Justin easily slipped into his custom made suit. Sometimes, I hate him (not really). But seriously, how is that possible?? Uggggghhhhhhh!!!!
So, after our “Pre-meal” meal and drinks at the club lounge, we headed out to dinner. Actually, in the interest of full disclosure, I had to go change dresses because the one that easily fit me in Hong Kong and Japan is way to tight now! Ugggghhhh (again). Of course, it’s no secret how this happened. We have been on vacation for almost 8 weeks and have eaten our way around the world. I just wish that I wasn’t the only chunky Ittmann in Australia.
For dinner, we ate at Vue de Monde. This is considered one of the best restaurants in Melbourne and is located on the 55th floor of The Rialto. They offer 2 menus, a 4 course a la carte menu or the Chef’s degustation. We decided to go with the a la carte menu. It was 100$ cheaper than the tasting menu and, honestly, neither of us was really hungry.
It was one of the more creative/modern style restaurants that we have eaten at. (reminiscent of Takazawa, but not quite to that level). When we sat down, there was a centerpiece display of river rocks. It turned out that each of those pieces played an important role in the meal. For example, one of them opened up to reveal the salt and pepper. They placed the butter (from the butter cart) on another smooth rock. There was alot of that kind of stuff.
The meal started out with four small amuse bouche. Each was different and delicious. My favorite was the smoked eel with white chocolate, caramel, and caviar (and I don’t typically love eel). For our first courses, I had a pork dish and Justin had a smoked trout dish. Both of them were good, but maybe not as memorable as some of the other dishes we have had. For our mains, I got the beef dish, and Justin had lamb. Again, they were very good and there were certain aspects that were really delicious (such as the beef cheek and diced beef tongue), but we both found the portions to be on the small side.
A couple of side notes:
1. In NZ and Australia, appetizer=entree and entree=main
2. The server commented that he rarely had had people that cleaned their plates like Justin and I. I’m not sure what that says for the food, but he obviously hasn’t served people with hearty appetites like us. Of course, I’m going to sop us every last bit of sauce with bread. That’s just the way I was raised.
3. One of the palate cleansers was freeze dried herbs in grapefruit sorbet. The herbs were frozen, table side, with liquid nitrogen then they provided a mortar and pestle to grind up the herbs and mix it with the sorbet. I liked it more than Justin did (he didn’t mix enough and got a mouth full of herbs).
The next course was the cheese course. I’m not sure if I mentioned this, but I LOVE cheese. Actually, my nickname in my family (at least one of my nicknames) is “cheese.” Real flattering, right? Actually, that’s better than some of the other ones! So, they wheeled out the beautiful cheese cart and made us a tasting of 5 different types of cheese ranging from goat to bleu along with some accompaniments (bread, jams, and my new favorite- honeycomb).
Before they brought dessert, they brought a “beer and nuts” course. The “beer” was a carbonated passion fruit juice. The “nuts” were small round coconut sorbet balls. Both were yummy!
For dessert, I got the chocolate soufflé, and Justin got truffle ice cream with a spiced cookie. I was overstuffed by this point, but I still managed to eat 80% of my big, rich dessert (and its a mystery why I can’t fit into my shorts).
Lastly, they brought out little “petit fours” to say “thanks for coming.” This is pretty standard at most fancy restaurant. They were really good and creatively presented.
Overall, we enjoyed the meal. There were a couple of things that we both found annoying:
1. It cost 30$ to get a glass of wine. Justin ordered each of us each a glass of Cabernet from one of the vineyards we visited in NZ. We know for a fact that the whole bottle doesn’t cost much more than 40$. As much as we enjoy wine, we don’t typically order more than a glass or two at restaurants because the prices are outrageous. Also, it seems like it is very uncommon for a restaurant to allow you to bring your own bottle and charge a corkage fee.
2. A bottle of water was 10$, so we purposefully tried to only drink one. We had it perfectly timed to where we would finish the bottle at the end of the meal, but then the server opened another one without asking us. Kinda annoying.
3. There was a “tea sommelier” who asked us if we wanted to have a tea pairing with our dessert. We are typically coffee drinkers, but we have noticed that tea is very popular in many of the places we have been so we have been drinking more tea. Anyway, we decided to do the tea pairing. It was a nice presentation and the tea is brewed table side. But when we got the bill, it was 15$ for each cup of tea. Crazy!
I don’t mean to rant about these things. Obviously, we don’t have a problem paying for a nice meal if it is worth it, but it doesn’t feel good to be nickel and dimed. We really did enjoy the meal and those things did not ruin the experience, but it’s the little things that set fine dining places apart.
As we were leaving, they gave us a little bag containing little treats for “the morning after.” It had 2 mini chocolate chip cookies, granola, honey, tea, and a mini loaf of brioche. I ate most of it when we got back to the hotel. I couldn’t eat it for breakfast because I was going on a diet 🙂