• Vue 401

401 St Kilda Road
Melbourne 3141
03 9866 8055

Seeing Vue 401 on the list of city restaurants, I had assumed the name meant 401 Little Collins Street (near the original Vue establishments). But with sunny weather and a clearish schedule, it was an enjoyable tram ride past the Botanical Gardens to the newer bistro. Set up with opened French doors, pink detailing and an innovative interior, Vue 401 is cute upon entering. It seemed everyone had the same idea as us today, with the tables full (except for our little booking towards the middle of the restaurant).

Vue 401 has the same delicious desserts as the original café, and the menus are very similar. For the festival lunch the vegetarian options were an heirloom tomato salad for entrée and ricotta gnocchi with spring vegetables for main.

The accompanying wine was a choice of a Heathcote shiraz or a Mornington white. The shiraz (Tar & Roses 2009) smelt like blackberries and was a big wine with extreme tannins and a lasting finish.

The tomato salad was beautiful. I enjoyed comparing the different tomatoes: softer texture, sweeter flavour, juicier. I felt like I was at the show, judging the different growers’ produce. The skins had been removed and dehydrated separately. The way the dish was created let me appreciate the quality of the ingredients. It was refreshing in taste and concept.

It seems I like gnocchi. I was recently asked whether I named Nouveau Potato after my love of the pasta. The gnocchi had an interesting texture, firm but with more ricotta on the outside so that the outer was crumbly like the moist cheese. The spring vegetables were buttered and looking at this dish did in fact remind me of a spring garden (not that I am enough of a gardener to know which vegetables grown in spring).

Gazing at the cake cabinet throughout the meal, we could not help but order dessert. The chocolate caramel cake was amazing. The chocolate mousse cased like velvet, concealing a moist milk chocolate centre with a light sponge base.  Welled in on top, the burnt caramel dripped down as I spooned each mouthful. Heavenly.

As if the meal could not become more extravagant, we also took pleasure in a dessert wine: Frogmore Creek Iced Riesling. It smelt like sweaty cheese but tasted delicious with a lot of acid and flavours of peach and honey on the end. I will certainly be trying to find a bottle of this one to enjoy at home.

We did not decline coffee to finish.

There is nothing like a beautiful meal and beautiful company to get into a relaxed state for a long weekend.

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