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. (more…)
We went to Cutler & Co for a leisurely Sunday lunch recently with Maria and Daz from The Gourmet Challenge. On Sundays Cutler & Co have a set menu for $65, which we thought was a great opportunity to try them out.
The fit out of the restaurant is quite stunning, the long room kitted out in dark tones and with a rather flash automatic door to the loos. We were particularly taken with the industrial looking lights with a super long filament that hung above the tables.
There were four courses for the set lunch. We received all of the dishes listed for the first two courses, and then for mains and desserts we selected one dish each from several options.
We started with three small dishes: French breakfast radishes, Clair de Lune oysters, and cured ocean trout toast.
Bro started us off on our punny lunch by saying that the radishes were radiscal. Oh dear. I can’t say that the jokes improved from there, but I have recorded them for prosperity anyway! Apart from being radiscal, the rather cute, little crunchy radishes were mild in flavour.
The oysters were lovely. Served raw with a squirt of lemon, they were fresh and sweet.
The ocean trout toast was also delicious, with little cubes of ocean trout on top of the crispy toast. In Bro’s words: it was troutriffic.
The bread was so good that everyone had second or third servings.
Next we received a selection of starters to share.
This was beetroot salad with goat’s curd and apple. It was really nice – seemingly simple, but the little beets were sweet and tender, and fortunately for us non-goat-cheese lovers, the goat’s curd was only a little bit “goaty”. It looked beautiful as well.
We received a bowl of pearl barley with radicchio and ricotta salata. I quite liked the firmish barley with the salted ricotta and radicchio, although it wasn’t very popular around the table.
The next dish was garlic sausage, potato and ravigot. This perked us all up after the barley. Bold and salty sausage and a bit of potato. Nice.
Next up: FRIED GREEN TOMATOES. Fried green tomatoes, people! Does anyone remember the movie? I have waited years to eat fried green tomatoes! They were great – crumbed slices of slightly tart green tomato on top of what I think may have been eggplant. I loved the little frying pans they were presented in as well.
The last dish before mains was peppers, migas and tuna mayo. This was another nice dish – the peppers were sweet, the bread was crispy, and while the tuna mayonaise sounded strange at first, we all loved it. Alastair said that it was a-mayonaising. Pun of the day!
For mains, there was an option of four dishes:
Alastair had the local line caught snapper, tomato, prawn and chorizo. It looked pretty good, particularly the big bursty prawn underneath the fish.
Bro and Daz had the roast quail, smoked sausage and sauerkraut. The sauerkraut was served separately in a small pot and it was really something – WOW HELLO PORKY PORK – there was nothing sour about that sauerkraut! (ba bow). It was all bacon porky goodness. Poor boys though, they had the biggest appetites and they received the teeniest dish!
Maria and I both had the braised lamb, buckwheat polenta and gremolata. The lamb was very tender although a bit fatty. I liked the soft polenta and the dark wilted greens too.
The fourth mains option was a baked ricotta, eggplant Calabrese and fennel salad, which none of us ordered.
And for dessert, there were three options.
Bro and Alastair both had the Earl Grey tea ice cream, chocolate ganache, and macerated prune. I had a little taste and thought it was delicious, and I adored the faint floral bergamot fragrance of the Earl Grey ice cream. Bro said that the ganache was also great, although I didn’t try it.
Maria and I both had the quince baba, sheep’s milk yoghurt and cherry. I found the baba a little dry – it was nice, but I was expecting it to be drenched in something. The quinces were gorgeous though. I wouldn’t have minded a massive bowl of just the quinces with the yoghurt!
And Daz had… oh Daz… he selected the Gruyere d’Alpage
and shiraz jelly (which I neglected to take a photo of – because I was in fits of laughter). Why was I in fits of laughter? Because Daz had been expecting dessert… and received cheese and crackers and a teeny dollop of jelly. Oh we laughed at the disappointment on his face (sorry Daz!). If I had been quicker off the mark, I could’ve said, “Gryuere’s your dessert?” (bah bow!) but unfortunately I only thought of that one at home. Isn’t that always the way it goes.
We finished off with a round of coffees, which saw us all whip out our phones and google coffee puns. Really, really, REALLY terrible coffee puns ie if you drink a lot of coffee, you’ll be in a latte trouble.
Dear oh dear. Apologies for the terrible puns. At least they kept us amused during lunch. Speaking of lunch, I think the Sunday lunches at Cutler & Co are a definite goer. There were lots of staff working that day – there seemed to be about twenty on the floor – so we didn’t have any issues with service. Apart from a few minor things, overall the food was good (although not mind blowing) and good value for the quality of the dishes. We really enjoyed ourselves and I would be keen to spend a lazy Sunday eating there again.
Moon Under Water is the latest offering by Andrew McConnell, who seems to be gradually taking over Melbourne with his restaurant empire: Cumulus Inc, Cutler & Co, Golden Fields, and The Builders Arms.
Part of The Builders Arms, Moon Under Water is the more formal dining room, and I’m not sure if this is part of the formality but the room is white. It’s white white white. The floor is white, the walls are white, the ceiling is white, the linen is white. You wouldn’t think that white could make such a loud statement but it does. (I’m not sure what that statement is, except for: white!)
Foodwise, it’s a set menu – $75 for four courses (and a couple of additional nibbles) that changes weekly.
I am a big fan of Cumulus Inc and Cutler & Co, so was pretty keen to check it out, dragging along Alastair, Maztech, Dazzle, Bro and Bro’s gf (aka the usual suspects group 1).
Following on from our punny lunch at Cutler & Co, we decided to continue the Andrew O’Connell love and headed to dinner at Cumulus Inc with Maria and Daz from The Gourmet Challenge.
Since Cumulus Inc only takes bookings for large groups, Alastair, Bro and I showed up early in the evening to secure a table. Good thing we did, because it filled up fairly quickly. Although now I realise that with five people, maybe we could have booked?!
Between the five of us, we ordered several dishes to share.
We started with a serve of crispy school prawns, sautéed with chilli and garlic ($14), because we can’t seem to resist school prawns whenever they are on the menu – see exhibit A and exhibit B. They were light and crispy with just a tiny hint of heat and garlic.
Oh and we noticed the table sitting next to us shelling their prawns. Sadness. They missed out on the best part, which also would have happened to be most of the dish!
This was a portion of slow cooked octopus with aioli and dehydrated olive ($10). It was teeny, but the octopus was oh so tender and a very nice little mouthful.
Next we had the foie gras parfait with toasted brioche ($17). The parfait was very rich and smooth, but umm… there were five of us and only four small pieces of toast! We had to ask for a bread refill to finish up the parfait.
Oh, this was gorgeous. So gorgeous. The grass fed steak tartare ($21) was delicious. We mixed in the egg and onions, cornichons etc, and tucked in.
It was served with condiments – normal tabasco, jalapeno tabasco and anchovy sauce. The anchovy sauce came with a little dripper – it was very potent! But the steak tartare was so perfectly seasoned that we found it didn’t need the condiments.
And for mains we had a whole slow roast lamb shoulder ($69). This is really good value for money! It was great too – the meat was so tender and juicy. We shared it between the five of us, and it was the perfect amount of meat. I think it’s a main that is best shared between several people, but we saw a couple a few tables over sharing it between the two of them (as well as sides!) They ate quite a lot of it too – I was rather impressed at their lamb eating prowess.
The lamb came with lemon and onions, and a big knife to carve it with. Thanks to Maria for carving it up for us!
We also had a salad – the cracked wheat and freekah salad with preserved lemon and barberries ($11). Although now that I look at all these pictures, I feel like we should’ve ordered some vegetables or greens.
And then – dessert!
Alastair and I shared the pear sorbet with burnt butter shortbread and almond milk ($16). This is one of the best desserts I have eaten in ages. The sorbet was intensely peary, cold, smooth and slick. I loved the super butteriness of the shortbread and the almond milk was soft, resembling a panna cotta.
And Bro had the steamed chocolate pudding with hazelnut toffee and crème fraiche ice cream ($17). He said that it was rich and delicious.
For second dessert (as you do) we all had a madeleine filled with lemon curd ($2.50 each). The slightly crisp crust lead into a fluffy, cakey biscuit that was filled with tangy lemon curd… drool. They came to the table still warm, and were gone very quickly. Next time I think I might be tempted to order two per person!
In case you can’t tell, we loved our meal at Cumulus Inc – actually much more than our lunch at Cutler & Co. It’s obvious why Cumulus Inc has so many fans – and you can count me as one of them!