September 29, 2012 by eatfreak
Well it was the expiry date of a Groupon voucher, so despite being extremely tired, the Eatfreaks boarded a bus and train and headed to Bondi. I’d read mixed reviews of Vue, and that’s also how I felt after dining there. Rather mixed.
Vue is located upstairs on Campbell Parade and the outside dining area is very pleasant, but the inside design rather sterile. The covered balcony would be amazing on a summer’s evening, and on a spring night it still held a nice ambience, softly lit and with a view over Bondi Beach – even in the darkness. The things we didn’t like… the laminated menu (pet hate), the ding of a bell for the wait staff (of which there were only two) to pick up food, and a sticky table.
The menu is basically tapas style, which is well suited for a date night – which most of the diners seemed to have come for. Couples were out in force! Having said that, I think it would be a good spot for a girly catch up too.
We started with the salt and pepper squid, an old favourite. The squid was longer and thinner than I’m used to, with a very crispy crust, and we thought overdone. It was served with a thick garlic aioli. Okay, but I’ve had better…
There is a range of 7 or so pizzas also available and we went with the 3Ps pizza – prosciutto, parma and pepperoni topped with basil and truffle oil. Well… it would appear it was topped with rocket, and I don’t recall much prosciutto on the pizza. I still found the flavor satisfying, however the base needed to be crispier and EF#2 suggested that it was too dry overall.
The Italian risotto arancini balls were actually rather enjoyable when served together with the tomato-based sauce. What we found odd though was that they were cut in half and the presence of large peas throughout. The authenticity of the dish was severely undermined as well as the aesthetic appeal – we eat with our eyes after all!
I love the combination of beetroot, walnut and goats cheese, so the salad was clearly headed in the right direction. However when teamed with baby spinach leaves, pear, and cherry tomatoes in a very oily dressing… well it was just a bit much. I would definitely omit the tomatoes for this recipe. The beetroot seemed to be canned and diced and they would be better to be roasted baby beets. A dish with potential but they’ve made it a bit too complicated.
Lastly, the gnocchi gorgonzola was a small but heavy dish and packed a lot of flavour. Unfortunately the flavour of salt came through the strongest and overpowered the gorgonzola. A pretty difficult thing to do given how strong gorgonzola can taste. The gnocchi itself was actually rather delish, not too stodgy and perfectly cooked.
Return factor? Probably not. The components were right, but it failed in execution. Each dish had something ‘wrong’ or ‘not quite right’ with it. Service was haphazard and understaffed, so when we couldn’t get served for 15 minutes and despite having credit left on my voucher, we skipped dessert and left. Now, skipping both ‘free’ food and dessert is almost unheard of for this Eat Freak so that’s saying something. However, we did feel this place had potential. A great location with a menu that looks good at first glance, but the food and service needs to step up to the plate and deliver on this potential for us to want to return.