When Kat suggested going for lunch somewhere nice last Sunday, she neglected to mention that it was for her birthday! Naughty bugger. Happy 21st birthday again, dear!
So for Kat’s secret birthday lunch, we went to Cutler & Co. On Sundays there is a set menu for $70, which highlights Victoria produce. You may remember that I ate at Cutler & Co about a year ago – at the time, I thought it was fine but it didn’t blow me away.
For the Sunday menu, there are four courses. The first two are shared amongst the table, and then you select your own main and dessert from three options.
We were all given two slices of bread to start with. They were both fantastic, soft but chewy. And I love their butter knives!
And then the food started coming. As an aside, one person in our group was vegetarian, and she received her own dishes whenever there was something on the menu that she couldn’t eat.
First were Pittwater oysters. Sadly, there was only one each – they were fab and fresh with just a squeeze of lemon juice.
These were bowls of Mount Zero olives and toasted seeds. The olives were good, large and meaty, and the toasted seeds were rather moreish, being covered with a spice mixture.
So that was part one. When part two came, our table was soon covered in food!
We received two plates of chilli and fennel seed salami with mustard fruits – pretty generous serve. You could definitely taste the fennel in the salami, and the dollops of mustard fruits were sweet and jammy.
I really liked the wood grilled leek, with egg yolk, ravigote and Manchego. The baby leeks were darkly smokey, almost with a slight bitterness, but still retained their natural sweetness.
I also really enjoyed the pickled kingfish, with horseradish and Avruga. The slightly vinegared kingfish had an interesting firmish texture, and a bit of heat from the horseradish.
The buffalo milk haloumi, with honey and lemon was the best haloumi I’ve ever eaten in my life. Hands down. With hardly any squeak, the inside was soft and fluffy. I wanted a whole dish of this to myself.
For many on the table, the raw and cooked beets, with apple and wild rice was the favourite dish of the lot. (FOOLS. Did they not taste the haloumi?) It was definitely the most beautiful dish (shame about my blurry photo, sigh) The diced apple seemed to be flavoured with a bit of rosewater, which complimented the sweet, earthy beetroot. The wild rice looked like grubs (they did!) and tasted like crunchy, toasted cereal.
For the mains, there were three options to select from:
1: Braised john dory & line caught barramundi, wood grilled prawn, mussel and rouille.
2: House made ricotta brik, green tomato and globe artichoke (I didn’t get a photo of it.)
3: Twice cooked beef brisket with coleslaw.
There was also a special main that wasn’t printed on the menu, which was a cassoulet topped with gremoulata, to be shared between a minimum of two. I’m happy that Alastair took my (not so subtle) hints and agreed to share the cassoulet with me. Happy dance!
When I instagramed the cassoulet, I captioned it with: Swoon. Just… swoon. And it was totally swoon worthy, but I’ll try and be more descriptive because it was SO good. The creamy beans were packed with savoury ham-ish flavour, and had an occasional crunchiness (breadcrumbs?). On top of the beans was a duck leg, fried and crispy, but the most incredible part was the pork hocks. It was all meat, but it had a very thin, very crisp skin with a small amount of fat separating it from the meat. The contrast and flavour of that thin skin with the meat was ah-mazing.
For dessert, there were again three options. The first was a cheese – Chebris with apple chutney (which no one ordered).
I choose the second option – a steamed quince and suet pudding with rosemary ice cream. It was a perfect winter pudding, and a touch of clove and cinnamon made me feel all cozy. A layer of quince in the middle of the pudding gave it some tartness and interest. However, I wasn’t really into the rosemary ice cream. It had a strange tang to it, and I would’ve preferred a plain ice cream with the pudding.
Alastair had the Mandarin parfait with chocolate ganache and clove meringue. I stole some of course, and I think his may have been the better dessert. And I don’t even really like mandarin flavoured things that much.
Price wise, Sunday lunch has gone up $5 to $70 since our visit almost exactly a year ago, however with the small increase in price, it seems they have kicked the food up a notch. Lunch was superb and now I’m totally in love!
You will need a booking, probably a month in advance, but it’s worth the wait. And if you’re offered cassoulet, do whatever you can to convince a friend to order it with you. Bribe or threaten – whatever it takes.
Now on to the epic reading list… check out these blogs (in no particular order and forgive me for not having read all of them) for more on Cutler & Co:
[googleMap name="Cutler & Co" width="600" height="300" directions_to="false"]55-57 Gertrude St, Fitzroy 3065, VIC, Australia[/googleMap]
Cutler & Co
55-57 Gertrude Street
Phone: (03) 9419 4888