Lunch with a new vue

Vue de Monde

Level 55, 525 Collins Street (Via express lift from the Vue de Monde desk in the Rialto lobby)

Vue de monde

She says:
This post is brought to you by express lunches, guest-writer Colin Hill and the number 7.

My birthday is coming up this week and so my friend Colin Hill suggested that we go to the recently(ish) relocated Vue de Monde in Rialto and try their express lunch (2 courses – main and either entree or dessert- for $60). To be honest my birthday actually had nothing to do with the lunch, but it was still a great idea anyway and I will take the invitation as a birthday present.

I’d been waiting to try vue for a while. A long while. My interest didn’t have a lot to do with the food though. Last year I was working in an office on the 36th floor of a building opposite Rialto and spent what felt like about 6 months watching various bits and pieces of construction equipment and restaurant being craned up to level 55 from the street. One of my favourite procrastination hobbies was watching things sway around on windy days. Easily (and sadly) one of the most exciting things to happen last year was when on a particularly windy day a big piece of metal (an industrial oven maybe?) was swingly around and ended up swinging back and smashing one of the building’s windows and sending the office workers inside running.

I’d only been to Vue proper once before for a lunch with Colin Hill and his family back in 2009. That time we had a full lunch at the chef’s table and it was easily one of the best dining experiences I’ve had in Melbourne (or anywhere else). With that in mind I had very high expectations. My expectations were resoundingly met – in terms of food, service and atmosphere.

When we arrived at the desk in the Rialto foyer we were escorted to a lift and sent up to the restaurant with a remote (the buttons in the lift don’t go up to level 55). From the minute we stepped out of the lift the service was impeccable – friendly and helpful without being too formal or overbearing.

I don’t think I’d heard anything about the fit out and when we got upstairs I was really surprised. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting but I had been to functions on level 55 before it’s transformation and all I can say is that the place has been completely transformed. I absolutely wouldn’t have recognised it. The restaurant, which features a big open kitchen, is gorgeous in what I would say is quite a masculine and minimalistic but elegant kind of way. There’s a lot of leather, fur and stone. Amazing.

Speaking of stone, the centrepieces were what appeared to be a pile of sticks and stones. I was surprised (and excited) when I realised that the bits and pieces were actually crockery (the sticks for cutlery to rest on, the stones beneath them as bread plates, the large stone on the left of the photo below opened to reveal salt and pepper and so on).


This is where I would normally say something about the view but there really wasn’t much of one of they day Colin Hill and I visited because of fog (and maybe rain?). I should say though that even though I work in a building opposite Rialto not all that far below level 55 I still enjoyed the novelty of having the view from a restaurant instead of a desk. On a clear day, it could be spectacular, especially if you’re looking out on the King St side with a nice bay view.

My only regret was not having longer to stay, I was incredibly jealous when I saw on twitter that Ed from tomato was still enjoying his express lunch almost 3 hours after I got back to my desk. Next time my pretties, next time.

Open kitchen

Colin says:
[Edit from M: A big thank you to Colin Hill for volunteering to share his thoughts, I'm sure nobody wants to hear me drone on for another 500 words.]

Hello avid readers of two munch! Colin Hill here honoured to be filling in the part of Gerard for this review of Vue de Monde, what I would consider Melbourne’s premier restaurant (despite what fans of Attica may think). I’m no n00b foodie myself, having been lucky enough to have tagged along with two much to some amazing restaurants this year and having been to Vue de Monde at Normanby Chambers about 2 years ago.

Anyway, down to the crunch of the review. $60 for two courses. Sounds expensive when you’re talking about lunch, doesn’t it? Well I can easily say that it is not (see below – two courses does not mean that at Vue de Monde).

First impressions are important and Vue de Monde didn’t fail. Personal escort to the lift and then upstairs into a very slick modern and somewhat maze-like entrance, including a walk through a well stocked cellar before arriving in the main dining room.

Being situated on level 55 of the Rialto Building means that the entire dining room is very well lit and allows an amazing view (of the office building in which I work). Vue de Monde features an open kitchen which I think any restaurant of good repute should have – it lets the kitchen really show how sh*t is done.

Now to the food – which was f*cking amazing (save for one exception). As I said before there was much more in store for us than the two listed courses. But I’ll let Marg write that up. Suffice to say that a) My wagyu beef with marrow, apricots and artichokes was absolutely amazing – the beef was tender, succulent and …beefy (the last of which I’ve found can be lacking in the meat of even quality restaurants), b) butter should always be served from a rock and c) YOU MUST GET THE CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE. It was da bomb.

So overall, what do I think? Vue de Monde, despite the amazingly high standard it had already set, has at the very least maintained its quality if not improved it. I will be back as soon as my wallet has more money in it.

We ate:
Although we were at Vue for the 2 course express lunch we were served a lot more than 2 courses (closer to 7 if you count everything), there were plenty of bits and pieces in between courses that also fell within the $60 price and really made the experience.

Just after we sat down we were presented with house made potato chips with a dipping sauce that I can’t for the life of me remember what was in. It was very tasty though.

Potato chips

The next surprise mini-course was a set of doughnuts which were unexpectedly savoury (filled with bacon and herbs). They were delicious. If I could have ordered a follow up dish of these, I would have.


We were then presented with menus and a selection of breads with butter dished out from what looked  almost like a butter churn.

I ordered the Salade de langue de boeuf (ox tounge salad w/gascony butter). It was a salad of ox tongue with flowers, turnips, radish, small (possibly quail) eggs and greens. The ox tongue (below the salad in the picture) was tender and so good. Easily the best ox tongue I’ve had anywhere.

Ox tongue salad

Colin Hill had ordered a dessert instead of entree so after the salad we were served a palate cleanser of “foraged” herbs and flowers with cucumber sorbet. I’m not sure where this foraging goes on but I’m pretty sure it’s not on Collins St. This was where the drama came into the meal. We were presented with little bowls of flowers and herbs which I was setting up to take a photo of when I got distracted by the waiter telling us that they were about to freeze them by pouring liquid nitrogen over them at -196 degrees.


Once they were well frozen we were instructed to take crush the flowers and herbs with the supplied pestle. Interactive dining (in a non dinner theatre kind of way)? Yes please. After we’d done our work the waiters topped the results with a scoop of cucumber sorbet.

Cucumber sorbet

Finally we were instructed to mix it all up and enjoy. The resulting mix was great. Refreshing but flavourful.

All mixed up and no place to go

Next up were the mains. I had ordered the Flet, estragon, rutabaga (flathead with tarragon and swede). The tarragon was served as an emulsion and the waitress also added a honey, vinegar and herb reduction. The fish was perfect, especially covered with a little of the tarragon and  the reduction. The swede was also really tasty, not something I’ve ever said about swede before.


Colin Hill went for the manlier boeuf, coing, artichaut (wagyu beef, quince, artichoke, mustard, bone marrow). I tried a little and it was, predictably, really good. My opinion is backed up by Colin’s rave review above.


The mains were also served with two sides – a salad of creme fraiche, cucumber and greens (the greens baked and fried to take on a crunchy texture with a slightly salty taste). I didn’t manage to take an in focus photo of it because I was too excited about eating. Shame on me.

We were also served a side serve of fried potato.

Fried potatoes

Cutely the potato came wrapped in newspaper tied with twine that the waiter cut at the table before unfolding the packing. Just another example of how the service at Vue de Monde goes beyond your average dining experience.

Roast potatoes

Following the mains was another palate cleanser, this time ‘Beer and nuts’. Again I didn’t manage to get a decent photo but it was essentially small frozen ‘nuts’ of liquorice and coconut served with a champagne glass with a shot of passionfruit (and consomme? I wasn’t entirely sure what it was). I wasn’t a fan, the flavour of the ‘beer’ was very, very strong. A little more passionfruit and a little less of whatever else was in it might have changed my mind.

Colin Hill had ordered the souffle au chocolat (chocolate souffle) which he generously shared with me. The souffle was filled with chocolate mouse, topped with dark chocolate. The waitress also broke it open and poured in creme anglaise. I have nothing to say about this – chocolate, chocolate, chocolate and cream? I’ll be dreaming about this for a while.


Vue de Monde is a true dining experience and easily one of the best you’ll have without having to fly across state or country borders. It’s definitely not cheap, but if you can afford it I absolutely recommend it. The $60 express lunch is definitely a splurge but is a great way to get a taste of Vue without emptying your wallet on a full $150+ meal.

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  • Piggyeatalot

    LOL I wish I could see that big piece of metal crashing against the window. GOD I am evil. I hope Shannon Bennett treat all those poor office workers to a degustation menu for the stress caused.

    Anyway I love your photos and generally agree on ur review of Vue de Monde except the bit where you said the souffle was awesome.. I find it a bit too sweet.

    Btw it’s funny cos I posted my blog on Vue de Monde the same day and I half expected me to be in your pic… thankfully we must have gone on different days :)

    • Marg

      The window crash was pretty funny/exciting. I’d been watching it swing around for about 10 minutes before it hit, people walking past my office were coming in to watch. By the time it hit the window there were about 5 of us just staring.

      I was a huge fan of the souffle, but I’m a big sweet person, if you’re not so into sugar hits I can see that it might be too much!