Cutler and Co.

55-57 Gertrude St
Fitzroy, VIC 3065
The stars seemed to have aligned just right this year, because just a couple months after an extravagant long lunch at Vue De Monde, I found myself at Cutler and Co, the flagship restaurant of my beloved Andrew McConnell of Cumulus Inc. fame. Did I mention I also plan on having dinner at Attica before the year wraps up?
Photo via
Chris and I have been to enough nice restaurants to have a list of places that has our favourite bread, butter, and bathrooms. Cutler and Co takes the cake for best interior though. I thought it had the air of an abandoned cottage in the woods, with a hint of the fantastical about it, whilst Chris, who was facing the bar, thought it slick and modern. We both agreed that it was gorgeous though. Unfortunately I couldn’t take (or find) any photos that did the decor justice, so you’ll have to go and see for yourself. 
Like all of Andrew McConnell’s other restaurants, the menu is very much designed to be shared. And because more is always more when it comes to food, we opted for the 6-Course Tasting Menu ($130pp) in order to try as many things as we can. When I came back from the bathroom (definitely top 3 material), there was a basket of bread sitting on our table, along with house-churned butter, sea salt, and beetroot chutney. This spread took the awards for best bread and best butter in one fell swoop, the lashings of pale, creamy butter melting into the hot rolls of sourdough, which were ensconced with a crust that crunched audibly with each bite. 
Fromage Blanc Cigars
We were treated to a mini-entree of Fromage Blanc Cigars, presented whimsically in a Cuban cigar case. We were instructed to start at the end that contained the salty olive tapenade, work our way through the centre of mild cream cheese wrapped in the crispiest of wafers, finishing with a zing at the dollop of white balsamic vinegar. Simple yet stunning, this nibble set the tone for the rest of the meal.
Cured Kingfish, Eel Brandade, Dill Oil, and Buttermilk
Cured Kingfish, Eel Brandade, Dill Oil, and Buttermilk
Our first dish, the Cured Kingfish, Eel Brandade, Dill Oil, and Buttermilk was a dainty sculpture sitting in a shallow pool of herbed oil and buttermilk. Thickly cut and lightly cured, the plump slices of fish balanced between the verdant fronds of dill, and the buttery eel brandade. The elements came together so harmoniously that I couldn’t believe my tastebuds; though light and fresh, it was an undeniable riot of flavours. 
Jerusalem Artichoke, Turnip, Chestnut, and Bread Sauce
Nothing was going to top the cured kingfish, but I don’t think the Jerusalem Artichoke, Turnip, Chestnut, and Bread Sauce tried to. After the delicate yet complex flavours of the previous dish, it was good to have something so reassuring. Covered in the velvety bread sauce were chunks of crisp, sweet roasted Jerusalem artichoke. The aroma that wafted up from the soft grating of cheese was so tempting that I regretted immediately not paying the extra $25 to have some truffle on top of this dish.
Flounder, Smoked Mussels, Leek, and Brown Butter
The Flounder, Smoked Mussels, Leek, and Brown Butter was another deceptively simple dish. The fillet of flounder was cooked to perfection, the skin brittle and crisp, the fish falling apart in silken, pearly flakes. Adding to the aroma was leek done two ways – in a buttery puree, and grilled over hot coals.  The single smoked mussel was a salty, briny spotlight amongst the sweet earthiness. 
Smoked and Cured Duck, Golden Raisin, Candy Striped Beets
Forget turkey and cranberry sauce, the Smoked and Cured Duck, Golden Raisin, Candy Striped Beets is where it’s at. The duck, gently cooked, was allowed to remain fatty and plump, its flavour augmented with honeyed beetroot and golden currants. Sitting underneath was the most fabulous charred onions, adding an extra layer of smokiness to the duck. 
New Zealand Venison, Quince, Burnt Onion, and Morcilla
New Zealand Venison, Quince, Burnt Onion, and Morcilla
Our final savoury dish of New Zealand Venison, Quince, Burnt Onion, and Morcilla was a surprisingly substantial one. The stout chunks of venison were pink and juicy, rubbed with a mix of ground spices and pepper. And for that little extra bit of indulgence, a cube of rich, crumbly black pudding on the side. To balance out all that protein was the most exquisitely roasted pumpkin, and little dollops of quince jam served quaintly in onion petals. 
Coconut Sticky Rice with Ginger and Lime
Before our dessert proper, we were given a little jar of Coconut Sticky Rice with Ginger and Lime. For such a plain, and dare I say it, bland looking dessert, the amount of flavour it packed defied logic. The luscious coconut milk, the fiery crystallised ginger, the airy yet zesty lime cream – it collided in an explosion of flavours and textures, leaving my knees a little weak as I scraped the last vestiges of cream from the jar. 
Warm Pressed Apple, Bourbon, and Cream Cheese Pastry
At long last, dessert. Taking a simpler approach, our dessert of Warm Pressed Apple, Bourbon, and Cream Cheese Pastry was a deconstructed apple pie for grown-ups. The brick of poached and pressed apple pulled apart into warm layers fragrant with cinnamon, to be eaten with the buttery layer of pastry underneath, and a scoop of heady bourbon ice cream. 
Turkish Delight
Our meal was wrapped up with little jewels of Turkish Delight. Instead of being overly sweetened and flavoured, these little sugar-dusted cubes were delicate and floral, and just a little bit sour. It melted in a way that brought to mind the Turkish delight from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. A perfect ending to a perfect meal.
Cutler and Co. has me smitten. Each dish was a work of art that had us appreciating it with every sense, and every part of our meal was dazzling in a simple, understated way. There isn’t much else to say other than ‘I love Cutler and Co.’ – it’s my new favourite restaurant for sure.
Rating: 19/20 – copping out on the 20/20 because what is perfection anyway?
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit. 

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1 Comment

  • Reply Sue @ suelovexx 11/09/2014 at 10:44 am

    Eeeep I work in Fitzroy and pass Cutler & Co everyday….. MUST try it!!! Looks amazing!

    x Sue /

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