THA Spill: Vue De Monde and Belvedere Vodka Dinner Feat. NKOTB
Many moons ago back in April, my liver was screaming “TORTURE!” as I went from feasting at high altitudes at the Vue De Monde and Belvedere Vodka Dinner, wine tasting and dining at the amazing Yering Station (long drive!) to more boozing and yes, more overeating at Bursaria’s ‘A touch of…” High Tea at the Abbotsford Convent – all within a span of five days. Man, you must be thinking I’m such a boozer! Well, during that short period, I pretty much was and then some… Fortunately, these bouts of boozing don’t come around that often. In fact, it’s so rare for me to even finish a single glass of wine or a beer these days. I’m so weak. It’s not that I don’t like the taste, I just seemed to have taken on the role of designated driver over the years…wah. One thing’s for sure though – I’d rather drive friends home than have to deal with the horrendous taxi system we have in Melbourne, where it’s somehow normal to reject would be passengers if they don’t happen to reside further than 20 KM’s from the CBD.
Belvedere Vodka Dinner at Vue De Monde
Vue De Monde, to me, has always been one of those places I have kept at the top of my urgent TO EAT DAMMIT list, but for some odd reason, I still hadn’t gone until this point despite listening to years and years of friends telling me how spectacular their experience was. But you know what? I’m so glad I waited. My very own Vue De Monde Fairy was busy preparing for my first visit you see. She took care of everything! Drinks were flowing, a hunk O butter was available at all times and ushered out goodies that entertained my taste buds all night along. I love not looking at the menu sometimes and just guessing what ingredients are in each dish.
Anywho, I was invited along to taste Belvedere Vodka’s range alongside some tasty dishes – kinda like wine matching but with vodka. Ahuh. You read right foolz. I was a little weary of gulping down this amount of alcohol on a Tuesday night, but then I slapped my weak ass back into reality. I arrived quite early, so I chilled for a moment at the Intercontinental Hotel next door before going up 55 ‘ear popping’ floors to the function area of the restaurant some 15 minutes later.
Shake, shake, shake, shake it off
As soon as you walk in, the view just just smacks you in the face …and that’s just the bar. LOL! The actual views of Melbourne that high up is just magical. But what I loved about it is that it isn’t too high so you can still appreciate the detail of the surrounding buildings and landmarks such as the MCG all lit up or the AAMI stadium’s lights twinkling away like a Christmas tree. Having recently taken a trip to the Eiffel Tower’s summit, though majestic it its own right, is so high that I preferred to go down to the general admission floor to see through the mist and to spot some of the landmarks.
That’s what I’m talkin’ BOUT!
Belvedere brought out the big guns for the evening, one of them being one time bartender Clare Smith, Head of Spirit Creation and Mixology to talk us through the journey. Talking to their BDM, I saw how passionate they were about the way they create their products and the way vodka SHOULD be created. Take fruit flavoured vodkas for example. Their belief is that if you are going to release a fruit flavoured vodka, it should actually contain real fruit, no additives, no sugar, no synthetics. They spoke about vodka like how a Sommelier talks about wine. They educated us rather than pushing their products down our throats and made for a very entertaining night. The important thing was to experience Belvedere Vodka and to appreciate the various flavours and aromas with each course.
“Cocktails, when properly matched, aren’t just for the bar, they’re for the dinner table.”
There was a good number of people attending so we all grabbed a drink whilst we waited for the rest of the guests, the first one being Belvedere Unfiltered made from 100% Single Estate Dankowskie Diamond Rye (just like bread!) chilled and freshened up with cucumber to go with the Apple Gel, Macadamia and Saltbush which was so strange in texture I couldn’t quite figure out how delicate it would be if I were to just simply grab it from the tray. Wobbly yet a very cool concept. Friends know how my body automatically expels bad vodka, especially when taken straight. I’m not gonna mention any brands but you know what I’m talking about. The kind that requires a glass of lemonade as a runner! However, I can actually gulp down Belvedere straight up – it has a very clean, smooth mouth feel with a tiny hint of vanilla. However, I felt it was better appreciated on its own rather than served with food. Straight vodka combined with food for me, is a no go. Too many bad memories! Mind you, I was getting tipsy after the second being the Belvedere Pink Grapefruit, pine, lime and rosemary whilst having numerous rounds of the Beef, onion textures, comte to fill my empty tummy.
Apple Gel, Macadamia and Saltbush
Beef, onion textures
As I just finished the second drink, we were presented with a third as we were seated for the artfully presented Crab, tomato and dollops of wasabi to go with their Bloody Mary, cucumber, nettle, lemon and absinthe. The crab and the heat from the wasabi went well with the sweet and sour notes of the drink giving a beautiful clean aftertaste.
Crab, tomato and dollops of wasabi
Bloody Mary, cucumber, nettle, lemon and absinthe
The function room, with Melbourne’s city skyline as the backdrop was perfect for the candle lit occasion. In between the courses, Agnes and I went ballistic on the butter and were trying to figure out a way to take it home. So sad but comon, you would too.
Keep away from maaaa buttaaahh!
The Belvedere Unfiltered, raisins, vermouth and orange came to the ball with the Sweet corn, duck, brown butter and truffle. The drink – sweet at first, ended with a bitter aftertaste that actually still lingered until the next mouthful of the sweet corn and truffle specks until the cycle begun again. It was so strange discussing how these cocktails were going so well with the dishes, certainly something we weren’t attune to doing.
Belvedere Unfiltered, raisins, vermouth and orange
Sweet corn, duck, brown butter and truffle
So um, how the heck is this post related to New Kids on the Block?
Best palate cleanser ever, especially since liquid nitrogen is involved. Beyond refreshing and interactive too as we pounded the herbs and sang NKOTB’s Step by Step...well, we didn’t really but I wish we did because…
STEP #1: we can have lots of fun
STEP #2: there’s so much we can do
STEP #3: it’s just you for me
STEP #4: I can give you more
Now this was the course I was was waiting for. The star of the night. The Beyonce of meats. Blackmore Wagyu beef, potato and nettle (an ingredient used in drink #3) served with my favourite of the night, Belvedere Bloody Mary, quince, calvados and lemon. Served alongside a perfectly tender steak, I could taste the subtle hints of black pepper (definitely not from the meat) and some heat in the aftertaste, probably from the horseradish. My gawd it as so much better than a tired red. It was fresh, firm on the nose and helped to cut through the meat. I could have done with another round of both! I’m serious. I would have sacrificed my dessert!
Blackmore Wagyu beef, potato and nettle
Belvedere Bloody Mary, quince, calvados and lemon
OK, I take that last line back about dessert because homeboy, ain’t no hiding from this hit. The deconstructed lemon meringue was a journey on its own amongst cubes of white chocolate, ice cream and dollops of lemon curd had me swaying side to side like I was an American Idol judge. Note – I was likely swaying due the amount of vodka consumed. Continues…then came our drink finale, Belvedere, coffee and cereal milk. One word: Obsessed. Creamy and malty like Ovaltine.
Belvedere, coffee and cereal milk
The evening ended on an extra sweet note with an array of of petit fours then washing it all down with coffee…with more sugar!
It’s an eclipse!
For more information on Belvedere Vodka and their rad masterclasses, visit their website at www.belvederevodka.com (note, you must be of legal drinking age!)
Though this post is filled with booze galore, drink responsibly and don’t be one of those losers that roam the streets at night yelling at random strangers!
Food Rehab attended as a guest courtesy of Belvedere Vodka, Vue De Monde and BLACK Communications.
Have you signed up for updates from Food Rehab? Get on the list and I’ll do my best to keep us learning about none-other than glorious, GLORIOUS food! Also, follow me on Facebook or Twitter if you have either of those addictive things.
Keep eating…LIKE CRAZAAY!