The beauty of travelling to Melbourne during weekdays is that you're not jostling with other tourists/foodies/locals (who already know it's all good) to get into places. This was certainly the case with the Cutler and Co., Andrew McConnell's fine dining venture (see my review of casual diner Cumulus Inc. here) located on Gertrude St, Fitzroy. I think i was a little too excited, when i walked past Radio bar & cafe on the same street which has featured a couple of times on Offspring (plug, plug). Man, the restaurant front was pitch black, except for the neon blue ampersand (&) tucked in the glass window. We could well have walked straight past...
|Front and centre: the front half of the restaurant is the designated bar, where there are smashing cocktails and bar snacks to be had... Photo by the Round|
We were one of the first tables to be filled in the restaurant so we had a chance to admire the interiors. S was not really a fan, opting for the schmancier, polished look of the Press Club from the night before. I on the other hand, liked the work of Pascale Gomes-McNabb - who is responsible for the design all of McConnell's restaurants. I would call it 'modern eclectic': a roughly whitewashed walls (juxtaposed? haha) with an ultra-modern glass atrium full of wine (temperature and humidity controlled, no doubt), mesh encased hanging lights and sliding automatic glass doors in and out of the kitchen. Flash.
|The dining room. Apparently being on time (i.e. us) is not cool, so we had the restaurant (almost) to ourselves for a moment|
|What a fine choice. Nothing much beats a slab of suckling pig on a winter's evening. All I need now is a crackling fire and a wool blanket.|
|¡Hola! Presenting the wild barra, prawn, young garlic, pickled pine mushrooms & nettle (I always thought that was a weed) main.|
|Quenelle'd perfection: violet ice cream, chocolate ganache & sour cherry & clove meringue|
Sadly, we couldn't go with the dessert smorgasbord that we did last night, because our numbers had halved (just the 2 of us). We managed to show some restraint and picked one each. Mine was a simple play on texture and flavour, that was very well executed. The ganache & ice cream were the best parts. What I would do for an ice cream churner...honestly! The powderised, sherbety stuff was pretty interesting - still not entirely sure what that actually was. S on the other hand ordered a sexed up version of an iced vo-vo...
|Fun times with a piping bag: strawberry marshmallow, white chocolate, coconut ice cream & shortbread.|
The mallows were the bomb by the way. Funny how you admire the dish for a split second and then promptly proceed to demolish it (we're all class). A good dessert is one way to win the hearts of diners, and 'Pastry' has certainly won mine. Somehow we had managed to stretch out our dinner for 2.5 hours - woot go team. We had an awkward moment, post bill paying when we just sat there waiting for our coats to be brought out, only to ask for them and then be ushered back to the front where the maitre d had them ready. I swear, I had no idea how this thing worked. The Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide, ranks Cutler & Co. as the #1 restaurant in Australia (2011). That's a big call, they're certainly up there I'm sure. I'm not sure if my 'dining experience' is broad enough to be able to qualify it just yet...something we'll just have to fix! Until next time xo