HOT: Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

DSC02930 HOT: Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

It’s been a while since my last visit to Cafe Vue at Heide and this time we decided to try the a la carte menu rather than the Menu du Jour set menu.

On a sunny weekend the cafe is a real drawcard for visitors to Heide Museum of Modern Art. There’s often a queue for one of the indoor or outdoor tables serving a casual, reasonably priced sit-down meal or you can get take away and picnic in the grounds of the sculpture garden.

The a la carte menu lists museum-cafe favourites with a twist. So instead of just a toasted sandwich there’s a duck cassoulet jaffle ($13). The burger isn’t just any meat, it’s wagyu beef ($15). And the famed Cafe Vue lunch box is a little surprise package of something savoury, something sweet and a salad ($15).

DSC02918 HOT: Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

The jaffle was declared extremely satisfying, with beautifully grilled thick-cut bread (I dread to think the amount of butter needed to create such a golden crust) encasing a luscious stew that didn’t turn the innards of the sandwich soggy. The burger was also very well cooked with a brioche bun replacing the traditional burger bun.

DSC02913 HOT: Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

The lunch box of the season contained a tomato-based chickpea salad (which would have been better warmed through), a spicy dukkah dip with crispy tortilla chips, a small sandwich bun filled with Provencal vegetables and a little tub of cheesecake with a crumbly macadamia top.

DSC02915 HOT: Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

A museum cafe is often just a pit-stop for museum visitors but Cafe Vue at Heide is a destination in its own right. It’s a lovely cafe in beautiful, artistic surroundings – a perfect combination for a leisurely lunch.

Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen +61 3 9852 2346
Tuesday to Friday 10am – 5pm
Saturday and Sunday 9am – 5pm
Thursday to Saturday 6pm – 9pm
minilink HOT: Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

HOT: Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

DSC07538v1 HOT: Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

Shannon Bennett has expanded his empire to the suburbs with the establishment of Cafe Vue at the Heide Museum of Modern Art. It’s been open since the end of November and I think it’s still experiencing some teething problems in the kitchen and the service.

We had a 12:30pm booking and had been told that we needed to be out by 2pm. No problems. We were seated promptly in the stylish glass-encased dining room (looking over the main Heide building) and waited patiently, then impatiently, for water and menus. After more fruitless attention-seeking, we managed to place our food order from the Menu du Jour – 2 courses for $35, 3 courses for $45 – and a little drawstring calico bag of warm bread was clipped onto our table.

P1030803v1 HOT: Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

Our (shared) entree was prawns en papillote. It came in an unexpected wrapping of banana leaves and the parcel unveiled five juicy prawns simmering in their own juices. Very nice.

P1030807v1 HOT: Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

P1030805v1 HOT: Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

For mains I chose the pork belly with cheese crust with spring vegetables while RM had the roast chicken with corn polenta. This is where the kitchen really excelled – the pork belly was juicy, with the cheese melding into the fat which I’ve never eaten before. RM rhapsodised about the sweet corn puree and the mustard dressed greens. Many of the ingredients come from Heide’s own vegetable and herb garden, and the freshness of flavour was really evident.

Our (shared) dessert was a pistachio crème brûlée. Unfortunately, this was a complete disaster. When it arrived the sugar topping was chewy, instead of crunchy, and on entry with a spoon the toffee lid flipped up to uncover an unappetising pistachio soup. Further delving revealed that the creme at the bottom of the ramekin was more solid, but cold. We explained the problem to the waiter and he promptly apologised and brought out another one.

P1030811v1 HOT: Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

This one fared a little better as the caramelised crust was properly crunchy (though a bit thick) but once again there seemed to be a problem with the creme melting at the top and being the right consistency but cold at the bottom. Flavour-wise it was fine, but both times I’d have to say that it was a poorly executed crème brûlée. Having never ventured to make a crème brûlée myself I can’t say what the problem was, but I’m guessing that the kitchen was rushing too fast to caramelise a just-pulled-out-of-the-fridge creme.

Nevertheless, overall I’ve decided to give Cafe Vue at Heide a HOT. Some of the food was really impressive and I trust that Mr Bennett cares enough about his brand and his business to ensure that the other wrinkles are ironed out.

To read about the fabulous Pick and Eat Winter BBQ that I attended at Heide, click here. To read about my experience at the other Shannon Bennett restaurants, read about Cafe Vue and Bistro Vue.

minilink HOT: Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

HOT: Pick and Eat Winter BBQ, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

One of the joys of not working is that on a balmy winter’s day, I can go for a bike ride through bucolic scenery and bask in the sun after a picnic lunch, while everyone else is cooped up, grey-faced in a temperature-controlled office cubicle.

So I was most excited when I woke up this morning, dazzled by a bright blue sky, because it was the day for my trip to Heide Museum of Modern Art. Two things: I love fresh food and I love sculpture gardens. So a Pick and Eat Winter BBQ in amongst the outdoor sculptures at Heide would count as one of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon.

 HOT: Pick and Eat Winter BBQ, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

DSC05120 1024x847 HOT: Pick and Eat Winter BBQ, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

For about two hours, head gardener Dugald Noyes (who worked for 10 years at National Trust properties) and his assistant Anna led a group of gardeners and foodies on a tour of the vegetable garden and the kitchen garden. They talked about the history of its construction, the philosophies of the planting and the practicalities of soil quality, composting, planting and harvesting. I never knew that:

  • you shouldn’t save your own seed for brassicas, as they tend to cross-pollinate very easily. Meaning you could end up with an alien hybrid cabbage-cauliflower;
  • potatoes should be harvested using a special potato fork with flatter prongs so as not to damage the vegetable;
  • Londoners survived the Blitz by eating a lot of easy-to-grow jerusalem artichokes; and
  • the third quarter of the moon’s cycle is the best time to plant root crops.

Everyone donned their gloves and got down to hoe potatoes (check out the giant one), snip chillies and unroot bright pink radishes.

 HOT: Pick and Eat Winter BBQ, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

DSC05106 1024x685 HOT: Pick and Eat Winter BBQ, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

DSC05100 1024x727 HOT: Pick and Eat Winter BBQ, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

 HOT: Pick and Eat Winter BBQ, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

When the Heide Cafe (run by Shannon Bennett as Cafe Vue at Heide) opens in November 2009 it will be using the produce from the gardens. I can’t wait! Today, however, our harvest ended up in our delicious lunch made by Ed Dixon Food Design and take-home goodie bags. Sitting in the warm sunshine, we sampled crusty bread with a crushed herb paste, mellow jerusalem artichoke soup (made with no cream, but mineral water!); barbecued marinated chicken and herb baguettes, a crisp green-leaf salad, silverbeet, pea and goat’s cheese tart and prettily pink pickled radish salad. To finish off, baby pavlovas with poached rhubarb and delicate edible flowers. The lovely staff kept topping up the flutes of Chandon sparkling wine too, although I stuck to pink grapefruit Tiro.

 HOT: Pick and Eat Winter BBQ, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

DSC05130v1 1024x684 HOT: Pick and Eat Winter BBQ, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

 HOT: Pick and Eat Winter BBQ, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

If all that wasn’t delightful enough, when I got home I unpacked my goodie bag – silverbeet, herbs, radishes jerusalem artichokes, potatoes, lavender, recipe cards, a pair of tickets to Heide’s indoor exhibitions and some giant sunflower seeds. The flowers went in my bathroom, the silverbeet and herbs were paired with some organic rainbow chard from Organic Wholefoods ($2.99 a bunch) for a yummy jalousie tart and I’m going to try my hand at the jerusalem artichoke soup this weekend.

The next Pick and Eat will be in spring. If it’s on a weekend I will definitely go again to sample different spring produce. For $45 I think the whole experience is fantastic value and a really special day outing, especially if you pair it with a trip to the gallery.

 HOT: Pick and Eat Winter BBQ, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen