On our last trip to Melbourne, I kicked myself for missing out on eating at Cutler & Co, The Age Food Guide’s 2009 Restaurant of the Year. It wasn’t until seeing Andrew McConnell on Masterchef four days before we were due to fly to Melbourne again that I picked up the phone and made a reservation.
When our flight landed at 7pm, we raced from the airport to the city, dropped off our bags and caught the 86 tram to Fitzroy. The restaurant had a great vibe when we walked in and our party of four was shown a table near the back.
We had a bit of trouble deciding what to order from the menu – the dishes all sounded really fantastic and we wanted to cover as much ground as possible. We did travel farther than anyone else to eat there after all.
Mr. Taste and I shared the Salad Lyonnaise for our entree, which had a poached egg yolk encased in caramel as its centrepiece. I had seen it on the food blog, Melbourne Dining Experiences beforehand and was dying to try it.
I absolutely loved this dish, it was a smorgasbord of contrasting textures, colours and flavours. The egg was a real highlight and had me wondering how I could recreate it at home.
Our friends, Wendy and Molly shared the Asparagus Salad as their entree. Decorated with Nasturtium flowers, this dish tasted as good as it looked. “Real” crab is hard to come by on restaurant menus. We normally see the frozen variety, but at Cutler & Co, we were pleased to find fleshy chunks of spanner crab lining the plate.
Mr. Taste’s main, the line caught snapper, had him enthralled from the first bite. The glistening flakes of fish, accompanied by the broad beans, shallots and potato aioli was a winning combination.
The pork belly was also a memorable part of the evening. Cooked sous vide (a method used all too often on Top Chef), the pork was pull-apart tender, with lots of flavour. The crisp layer of crackling on top provided the perfect finish.
While I’m not a big lamb eater, I chose the slow roast lamb for my main. The dish was accompanied by a ‘spring roll’ filled with a confit of slow braised lamb. The roast lamb was probably a little too rare for my liking, but its braised counterpart was right up my alley.
Throughout the night, we had excellent service from our attentive waiter who didn’t hesitate to check up on us regularly. This made us wonder whether we had been sticking up with Sydney’s notoriously bad customer service for too long.
Although our original plan was to skip dessert at Cutler & Co and head somewhere else, we found it hard to move (literally). So we settled on a third course of strawberry sorbet on vanilla rice and chocolate sponge with violet ice cream. The two desserts couldn’t be any more different and yet, we enjoyed them all the same.
Cutler & Co
55-57 Gertrude St, Fitzroy
03 9419 4888
Open for lunch on Friday and Sunday from noon and dinner from Tuesday to Sunday from 6pm-11pm.