A few weeks ago we combined all sorts of anniversaries, birthdays and other reasons to celebrate into one, and decided to celebrate them all at one time at Vue de Monde, arguably the best restaurant in Melbourne, maybe even Australia. The food and experience were exceptional and we enjoyed every single minute of it, the stunning views of Melbourne from the top of the Rialto tower, our view of the chefs busy preparing our meals in the open kitchen, the tea sommelier who prepared a selection of teas for me to drink that paired perfectly with some of the 10 different courses we had for dinner. The food had all of these fascinating nods to things Australian, from wallaby and kangaroo, to eucalyptus sorbet. As we were the last to finish our meal that evening, we even got a tour of the kitchens where they use over 50 innovative cooking techniques , and use homegrown and small-farm organic produce wherever possible. The whole evening was made even better when we were given a little bag full of goodies to have for breakfast the next morning including muesli, tea, honey and some hot cross buns.
First opened when was he only 24 years old, chef Shannon Bennett’s Vue de Monde restaurant has now expanded to include a couple of other side concepts, including a handful of cafes. So after a fantastic night at Vue de Monde we thought we would follow up with a hot chocolate at Café Vue at Heidi. Heidi is a Museum of Modern Art and is spread over 15 acres of land covered in beautiful towering gumtrees. The core of the collection in the main building was assembled over five decades by the Museum’s founders, John and Sunday Reed and has since expanded through many individual gifts and donations. My favorite part of the Museum though is the outside gallery, a large park attached to the museum with a range of beautiful sculptures and art work as well as a garden where the café grows a lot of the herbs and vegetables that they serve. At the moment the garden had lavender, oregano, mint and thyme.
We chose to go just around Easter, on a beautiful sunny Melbourne day. A giant Easter bunny was walking around the grounds of the Heidi accompanied by a blond haired girl in a long blue dress who looked like Alice in Wonderland. The two of them were giving out chocolate Easter eggs in exchange for smiles. We sat outside on the terrace next to the rotisserie oven that was filled with juicy chickens roasting. There is also an inside area which looks a bit more classy. On weekends they have a Dessert Buffet from 2.30pm to 4pm which was already set up and torturing visitors. The Buffet itself also looked like it fit into my imagined Alice in Wonderful theme.
I would have been really surprised if Café Vue didn’t have a good hot chocolate. Considering how much I loved my experience at the restaurant I’m not sure I would have been able to handle that. Luckily, and not surprisingly, the hot chocolate was beautiful. It came in a ceramic mug covered in reflective silver (another nod to Alice?) The talented team behind the counter, mostly French speaking, created an incredible design with chocolate on the top in the shape of an Easter bunny, of course. It was creamy and light, decadent while still being wonderfully light and airy.
After having the hot chocolate we ended up returning three mornings in a row to have them again, and enjoy a walk around the garden. Each time it was equally delicious.
Verdict: Loved it…everything about it. Café Vue Heidi, 7 Templestowe Road, Buleen, Melbourne, Australia