The Railto Tower in Melbourne, I think, still is the tallest commercial building – in the Southern Hemisphere – Australia has a lot of structures with superlatives – in the Southern Hemisphere. There was an observation deck but this was converted to a restaurant in 2009 – Vue du Monde. If you want a fancy place for a swanky dinner in Melbourne, this has to be a top choice. The other claim to fame was that some years ago, 2 suavely dressed men went to the small outdoor observation balcony, ordered some cocktails, had a quick drink, then took off their clothes James Bond style and jumped off with parachutes. I don’t think they have been found and I am sure they are known legends in the BASE jumping community. I believe they have since installed window barriers to prevent this from happening.
The picture of the sunset was taken from a table at the window from the bar area. The sunset was glorious but there was reflection of from the inside roof, which explains the smudging.
Before we got to the window seat, we sat at the bar with those crazy and, in my opinion, laughably stupid looking bubble bags hanging off the ceiling known as high art to some.
In the next picture, you can see the Crown Casino complex. It’s a huge complex. On the left and almost out of the picture, is the first Crown hotel. The complex extends to the right with other fancy restaurants and gaming floors in the middle. On the right side is the theatre side. It then extends back connecting to 2 other smaller and more economical Crown hotels.
You should notice the reverse L shaped lake with the small island. I am pretty sure that is Albert Park – where the Formula 1 is held.
The Crown casino is owned by a listed company and the majority owner is James Packer – one of the wealthiest men in Australia. His family history has been most interesting going back at least 2 generations. James in his younger days, lost some 1/2 billion dollars (it was a crapload of money back in those days) during the tech boom (of all things, this was a joint venture with Lachlan Murdoch – the Murdochs and Packers were and still are arch rivals in the Australia media sector). As a result, James went into financial banishment for a while, was one stage a scientologist, recently divorced and reportedly having romantic links with Miranda Kerr, who was also recently divorced. Even more recently James had a very public on the street brawl in the early morning hours in Sydney with a top executive (formerly his best mate) of a television channel. He was apparently on his way to see Miranda. Channel 9 was previously owned by James’s father (who sold it to Alan Bond and bought it back cheaply during the 87 market crash but that’s another story). The Murdoch papers bought the photo rights to the pictures of the fight.
As a side story, Lachlan Murdoch also went into financial banishment not long after the tech wreck. He came back recently as the anointed successor to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
That’s enough of billionaires’ stories and back to our humble dinner at Vue du Monde. We were not fortunate enough to be sitting at the window.
We had the 4 course degustation meal – no a la carte for dinner.
We had many stone like ornaments placed on the table and once food was placed on top, we felt that our table was transformed into a Japanese garden.
Artisanal butter. It tasted fantastic with the bread, but we knew we didn’t want to order more bread just to taste the butter.
This was the entrée – cured trout. A delicate start, with a clean finish.
Herb leaves bath in liquid nitrogen. This is the moment where we were blown away. We were encouraged to participate in the end product of this dish. They got frozen and we were instructed to mortal and pestle up the herb leaves and the crackling sound of this part of the act made us present in the moment. We wanted to take more photos to capture this unique experience, but the waitress asked us nicely to stop the photo opportunity because it was warming up too quickly for the breaking up of the leaves with a pestle. Pure Theatrical and Uniquely Memorable.
Two types of lamb served – pulled lamb shoulder and lamb loin.
The utensils are heavily engraved silverware. You can taste the texture on the back of the spoon. We goggled and they were about $200 each! Impressive.
You can see the green ferris wheel. This was a new main attraction about five years ago and may have been the biggest – in the Southern Hemisphere. Unfortunately, they had immediate fatigue problems. . It was rebuilt and reopened recently.
We were so happy with the meals, we had no hesitation ordering some tea after the desserts. They came with a tea specialist elaborating on the different blended teas we may request and a timer for the tea to be brewed perfectly. The tea tasted great, no doubt. It was only when the bill came that we realised the tea was $15 each. Mind you, our tea was simple mint and green tea, not the tailored type. Imagine how much it would have been if we asked for double decaff, lightly tannin, soft on the palette type tea.
Two up gelatine as part of the parting petite four.