I have been wanting to sample the goodies offered by the Andrew McConnell brand of Cumulus Inc and Cutler & Co. for quite some time. Unfortunately the timing was never quite right (a couple of failed attempts to book at Cutler & Co. and the prospect of waiting at Cumulus Inc. just did not appeal) until Kelley came to town.
I suppose if there was a place that everyone raved about in Melbourne in the past couple of years or so, this would be it. So we rocked up there relatively early (about 6pm) one day after we finished work and luckily scored the last table without booking. Mind you, I really don’t tolerate waiting for a table, if there was no prospect of getting one within 10 minutes, I honestly would have moved on. As I always say, I’m too old to queue up for anything other than toilet.
Anyway, gripe with not being able to book over, the menu was interesting – divided into Oyster (which I really wanted but party-pooper Josh wouldn’t let me eat raw stuff), To Start (which means absolutely tiny little morsels of food), Charcuterie (cured meats), Salads and Comestibles (side dishes and salads), Fish (main-sized fish), Meat (main-sized meat) and Dessert.
(slow-cooked octopus with aioli – $10)
We decided the slow cooked octopus with aioli to start with. The tiny plate contained tiny morsels of lovely, tender octopus topped with aioli and doused with oil. We wolfed then down with the lovely, chewy bread we were given. Almost mopping up every bit of the oil (hey, we were hungry!)
(slow cooked egg with artichoke, asparagus and bread – $16?)
Soon after our next salad dish arrived: the slow cooked with egg with artichoke, asparagus and crunchy bread.
(hmmm egg yolk)
This salad itself was really lovely but I’m really not too sure it was fit for sharing. It was a bit awkward trying to divvy up liquid egg yolk. And we had no choice but to share considering each dish we had that night arrived one at a time.
(spiced cauliflower with goat’s curd – $15)
The spiced cauliflower was gorgeous. I am a big fan of random side vegetables and this one absolutely passed with flying colours. The cauliflower florets were well cooked and had spicy, smokiness to it that was just so spot on. The little random gems of pomegranate made everything so pretty. Again this side dish came on its own and we shared it.
(cracked wheat and freekah salad – $12?)
Our third dish was the cracked wheat and freekah salad. I still have no idea what freekah is and unfortunately, I can’t remember too much about this dish except for the fact that one dish at a time arrival was really beginning to bother me.
(whole pan-fried flounder with lemon butter and capers – $36?)
Then came along the star of the night – the flounder. It was perfectly cooked into lovely lemony butter and it was so meltingly tender and just, just wow. It was the best fish dish I have had in a very long time. I feel like we should eat more fish after this dish. Unfortunately for Kelley, she doesn’t eat fish (what’s wrong with her!?!?) and refused to try it. She missed out I say.
(pork belly with lentils? – $28?)
Our last dish was the pork belly with lentils. The pork belly was mostly fat with a thin strip of meat at the bottom and the rind was salt and soft, rather than the crunchy texture I expected. The lentils also had a good amount of fatty salt pork (of some description) in it and I have to say I was very disappointed with the dish. After a few minutes, it became cold and left very fatty taste on the palate. The pork itself was also very fatty.
I can’t say I was blown away with the food as I expected to be (I supposed high expectation doesn’t help) and I really didn’t like getting one dish at a time and find that the dining pattern was just too restricted and left us no choice. It just simply speaks poor service to me, especially at this price range.
Maybe I’ll go back because some of the dishes were truly, solidly good but overall impression and the fact that you can’t book represents a poor value.
Cumulus Inc. [ Web Site ]
Address: 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: 03 9650 1445
Last year this time I ate at: Anada, Fitzoy