Wednesday 28 January 2015

Bright Lights, Big City

A big blow out in the city was always on our list.

Essentially we are not really drawn to the neon of city nightlife but once in a while, going the full hog with a good dose of decadence, is just the best fun!

Throwing caution to the wind along with a few dollar notes too, we decided to embrace the whole experience of staying at the Crown.

The Crown is a phenomenon in Melbourne. It is a huge entertainments, dining, luxury shopping and hotel complex but more significantly it houses the largest casino in the southern hemisphere. It is where all the film premieres, celebrity red carpet gala events and awards ceremonies take place.

On arrival the lobby was buzzing, many of the players competing at the Australian Open Tennis tournament were staying here and all eyes were peeled to catch a glimpse of a big star.

At check in we were told we had been upgraded to a loft  room, we couldn't believe it and didn't question it at all just in case it had been done in error.

It was a huge corner suite with floor to ceiling windows on both sides giving way to fantastic views across the city and the Yarra River.

We wasted no time in getting changed and made our way up to the Sky Bar 28 on floor 28, funnily enough. It was quite a muggy night and a misty haze hung over the skyline but it was still spectacular.

We then took a short taxi drive to the Rialto Tower, the venue for our dining experience that night. We were both very excited at the prospect of finally experiencing the Melbourne icon that is Vue de Monde.

Situated on the 55th Floor, this ridiculously awarded restaurant is owned and run by the ridiculously talented Shannon Bennet.

As you step in the lift, there are no floors to press, this lift goes to the 55th floor and nowhere else. Vue de Monde is more than a restaurant, it is foodie experience, a mystery tour that takes you on a journey with a sense of theatre, a sense of fun and also a sense of irony.

As the lift doors parted, we were greeted immediately and ushered into the Lui Bar for a signature pre-dinner cocktail. Yet another stunning view, this one was over Port Philip Bay where we could clearly make out Brighton and the marina, the place we've called home these past 3 years.

mmm decisions, decisions

Hubster opted for a Campari, Cointreau and Cognac affair, rocket fuel!

A delicious, briny dirty martini for me, happy days. (Vodka not gin)

Just a minute before our 8.30pm booking, we were shown to our table. We were delighted that it was in the corner of the restaurant where we didn't need to look at any other diners, just each other and the view, call us anti social but that was perfect.

There is no menu to choose from, you merely choose how many courses you want between 5 and 10.

Each course however may consist of 2 or 3 plates and each plate is a tasting size portion. So this is where the adventure began as we anticipated what we were going to be served.

We chose 6 courses. It may not all be to your tastes and Shannon clearly likes to use offal, as is very fashionable right now, but that's part of it, take it or leave it. However, on the whole we took it!

Are you ready for the ride? Its not a case of fasten your seat belts, more likely to undo them!

A Nibble.

Homemade Salt n Vinegar Crisps and Macademia Mayo Dip

I'll try and remember them all! Oyster, Ocean trout with a toffee glaze, little lamb heart skewers, little duck tongue skewers, fish roe with and emulsion I forget and a crispy salad.

Fish Course 

Roasted Barramundi Head where the Waiter carefully removed the succulent cheek and served it in a crispy lettuce cup with a burnt butter sauce

Crispy Barramundi collar with a delicious crunchy coating

Main Courses

I didn't take photos of everything! 

The next course was pigeon, which was our least favourite as it is very gamy. 

Pigeon neck terrine served with the head of the pigeon for garnish. (Mmm too confronting!)

Pigeon Breast served in a sauce I don't remember as I decided to pass on this.

Blackmore Wagyu Beef with Smoked Bone Marrow and Saltbush
Palate cleanser of cucumber sorbet with wood sorrel dehydrated at the table with liquid nitrogen

Duck Yolk, Truffle and Radish with a view!
Have you loosened that belt yet?

Marron, pine mushroom cream and a marron wafer.

Cheese Course 

A beautiful cheese trolley was presented and we chose to share this plate, little did we know it would come with an array of accompaniments.

Served with wafers, dried fruits, jellies and a strawberry and rhubarb lollipop of course
I passed on the dessert course and let Hubster wave his valiant flag, what a trouper, but I don't think it was too hard, that Chocolate Souffle went down a treat.

So finally our gastronomic marathon was complete...............well not quite.................

Make way for the Petit Fours!

In total awe of our experience, we took a bow and let the final curtain fall on an incredible evening. Theatre indeed.

Our designs on hitting the black jack tables somewhat waned in direct correlation to our widening waste lines so there was only one thing for it, we decided to retire to our loft room and enjoy the view that we could drink in merrily, without consuming a single calorie more.

The next morning we slumbered and watched the Red Bull Air Race from the comfort of our beds. The only thing that wasn't perfect about our whole stay was that Paul Bonhomme failed to qualify.

Believe it or not, once we'd managed to ply ourselves from our pit and  after a stroll by the Yarra River, I managed to pack this little lot away! What the heck?

1 comment:

  1. It all looked wonderful Debbie, and what a beautiful suite. Another item for the memory box, fabulous food, not surprising that the casino wasn't calling too forcefully, although surprised that Mr T-J could forgo it, must have been the rocket fuel!! Stunning views, aircraft pilots and a River. A most wonderful looking breakfast too, you are going to miss the ubiquitous avo with everything. Love xxx