Bistro Vue, Piggery café – a selection from Shannon Bennett’s empire (part 1)
The fairy tale success of Shannon Bennett’s ever expanding restaurant empire, could easily be pigeonholed into increasing commercialisation. However, in light of a few (and only a few) hiccups along the way, with the new Jardin Tan eliciting polarising reviews on dabbling its in Vietnamese cuisine, and notably the haphazard consistency at Café Vue at Heide (see here + here) – there is otherwise little to fault. Vue de Monde remains an emblem of contemporary Melbourne cuisine, and the various Vue offshoots continue to churn out fairly consistent French cuisine. Shannon’s newly fashioned offspring – Piggery Café – in the Dandenong ranges too has also come with positive light.
Today we will start our food journey in central Melbourne (Bistro Vue), then head out east (Piggery café), before whizzing up 55 floors (Vue de Monde) in part 2.
Where: 430 Little Collins St
Contact: 03 9691 3838
When: 11am-11pm (Mon-Sat)
Established since 2006, Bistro Vue was one of the earlier progeny after Vue de Monde. It is housed in a beautifully classic French country house interior. There is only small social media presence, but it remains regularly full on any given weekday. The cuisine here is one of old school French classics, authentic and magnifique. It is an intermediary between the laid-back of Café Vue, and the haute of Vue de Monde.
I am bashful to admit that until this year, I had not visited this establishment, as it would now rank amongst my recommended go-to places in Melbourne. It serves an impeccable steak tartare, beautifully poached ocean trout, melt-in-your mouth beef cheeks and an exquisite soufflé. Timeless favourites such as escargot, crème brulee, confit duck, bouillabaisse are a recurrent theme here, with very subtle twists of reinvention.
Pictured: Escargot with garlic crust, Beef tartare, Duck yolk and broccolini, Poached ocean trout, Confit duck leg, Slow braised beef cheeks
Pictured: Chocolate soufflé, Tarte tatin, Crème brulee.
Where: 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke.
Contact: (03) 9021 2100. No reservations accepted.
When: 10am-5pm (Mon-Fri); 9am-5pm (Sat-Sun)
Travel tip: take a hike at Kokoda 1000 steps, or a stroll at Rhododendron gardens to work up your appetite.
Shannon’s most recent (and ongoing) development of Burnham Beeches estate is expected to include when complete a boutique hotel, steakhouse, teashop, cheese room, café and bakery. As far, only the latter two are open for business and ready for us to scrutinise. Housed in a former piggery and silo, the completely revamped interior of Piggery café and Burnham bakery resembles a rustic country club, set amongst the beautiful trees of Sherbrook in the Dandenong ranges – making for a perfect locale for some afternoon tea after a morning stroll, if that is your thing of course.
An all-day a la carte menu is available serving a french and highly pig oriented selection (pun intended). Pictured below: Lobster roll, Pressed pulled pork, Grilled swordfish.
Afternoon tea is available from 2.30pm – offering a medley of savoury nibbles and patisserie delectables. At $25 per person, it includes coffee or tea, and would easily be enough to fill a hungry stomach. I kid you not, when I say that ordering 2 portions of afternoon tea, alongside a burger and croque Madame would be overkill for two very hungry people who had just done the Kokoda memorial walk. Whilst there has been complaints of service being hit-and-miss the the afternoon tea remains very good value for money.
Note: in small print on the menu the condition is minimum of 2 people, but as pictured below I have ordered a 1 person portion before no problem (so try your luck).
The nearby Rhododendron gardens during early Spring…