It began as a joke. Shannon Bennett, proprietor of the triple chef-hatted Vue de Monde, had closed up the 55th-floor Melbourne restaurant for the night time when he bumped into some friends within the ground-floor lobby keen to hold on their festivities over a bottle of Dom Pérignon.
“I just have to organise that vending machine,” Bennett recollects joking, earlier than ducking again upstairs to get them a bottle.
The factor was, Bennett determined to look into it. When he discovered there wasn’t 1 anyplace on the earth – partly due to the danger of bottles exploding on the drop – he sought out a Sydney-based robotics engineer to design him 1.
The Dom Pérignon Illuminator, constructed at a value north of $100,000, now sits within the restaurant’s new street-level entrance.
Bennett palms me a weighty brass token within the form of the Dom protect, I slot it in, and a bottle of chilled 2006 materialises with no whisper.
Naturally, this all got here with Dom Pérignon’s blessing. When Bennett proposed the concept of the merchandising machine, as he likes to name it, chef de cave Richard Geoffroy merely mentioned, “Let’s do it.”
But the Illuminator was solely a part of greater plans. Last November, Bennett and Geoffroy started speaking about designing a brand new unique expertise based mostly across the champagne home’s extra prestigious 2nd cuvée Plénitude, abbreviated as P2.
Dom Pérignon ages this champagne in its Épernay cellars for 12 to 15 years – common vintages are aged for a minimal of seven – throughout which period the standard takes a measurable soar. (For the 3rd Plénitude, or P3, the champagne spends a minimum of 20 years maturing on the lees.)
“It’s less about fruits and flavours and more the tension and harmony,” says Dom Pérignon senior model supervisor Bruce Nancarrow.
The final indulgence
That collaboration between Dom Pérignon and Vue de Monde – known as the P2 Ultimate Experience – opened late final week, beginning at $900 a head. “The experience is for people who have never tried P2 and may never again,” says Bennett.
Bennett and government chef Justin James have designed a tasting menu to match a number of Dom drops, together with the P2-1998, first launched in 2014. The variety of programs is versatile, going as much as 12, and is mentioned with every visitor.
On opening night time, the 10-course menu teamed up the P2-1998 with tender David Blackmore wagyu with truffle shavings and fermented spud, in addition to salmon roe-topped kohlrabi rösti in swirls of smoked macadamia milk, lemon verbena oil and finger lime. Marron tail with macadamia was paired with Dom’s 2005 drop, and a fruity 2004 rosé washed down a beetroot sorbet with sorrel granita and hay-infused yoghurt.
“A few of the dishes tonight are very brave,” mentioned James. “We’re using wild garlic, for example, with champagne.”
Bubbles within the sky
While the P2 has starred at many particular dinners worldwide, Vue de Monde is simply the 2nd restaurant to supply the P2 Ultimate Experience. The different is chef Alain Ducasse’s Ore restaurant, on the Palace of Versailles.
A important part of the eating expertise is the involvement of Japanese-Australian set up and efficiency artist Hiromi Tango, whom Bennett commissioned to create a ceiling set up for the Dom Pérignon room, an Elenberg Fraser-designed non-public eating area first opened at Vue about 5 years in the past.
“I wanted to make [the installation] feel light, like champagne bubbles rising into the sky,” she says.
In January, Hiromi put in an preliminary blue layer, crafted from leftovers of the aged wallaby leather-based used to wrap Vue’s eating tables, and “bubbles” of Japanese silk. In April, she added a 2nd inexperienced layer, with tendrils of neon. On launch night time, she connected strands of Tango chirimen, a conventional Japanese silk.
The set up floats above the 16-seat desk, the size of the room.
But again to the lobby. For Bennett, there was no true P2 Ultimate Experience with out an entry befitting the Dom Pérignon label.
Whetting the urge for food
“I wanted to whet guests’ appetites even before they took the elevator up,” explains the chef, who believed the ground-level entry had turn out to be too austere and company for the restaurant, the Lui Bar and occasion area on the 55th flooring.
The new $250,000 ground-level entry, created by Melbourne-based Mim Design, is darkish, shiny and subtly lit. Bronze parts trace on the metropolis’s gold rush previous, and there are plans for tree-like poles wrapped in kangaroo leather-based and a ribbed characteristic wall mimicking marshy reeds, in a nod to town’s pre-settlement origins.
The Dom Pérignon Illuminator is predicted to dispense maybe half of a dozen bottles of the classic cuvée every week (the present 2006 will promote for $290), nevertheless it is not the one merchandising machine Bennett has in thoughts for the lobby.
From January, one other will dispense limited-edition women and men’s sneakers provided by Harrolds, and retailing for $500 to $700.
“We get so many Dunlop Volleys coming out for the big occasion,” says Bennett, estimating the Lui Bar turns away 150 guests a weekend, of which half of are inappropriately dressed. “We want to protect guests who make an effort from those who don’t.”
P2 Ultimate Experience from $900 a head. Bookings are for eight to 12 friends. The host of a celebration will obtain a token for the Dom Pérignon Illuminator, or they are often bought for $290 per token thereafter.
This story initially appeared in Life & Leisure.
Paul Best from executivestyle.com.au