On our last full day in Melbourne, we continued to trend of eating only two big meals for the day – this time the highlight was Sunday lunch Cutler & Co in Fitzroy.
Far from a simple Sunday roast, Cutler & Co do a four course Sunday lunch ($75 per person, plus $50 per person for matched wines) with some relaxed sharing plates but the pomp of a degustation. As the menu changes weekly and I was to engrossed in the food and conversation to take notes, I’m afraid I can’t be exact about the menu, but there were certainly some highlights.
We were told that one in ten of these peppers would be super hot, a pepper Russian roulette. Between the four of us, I think I ate more than my share hoping to get the special one – but they were all just fruity and peppery, without any heat amongst them. It’s a bit hard to begrudge them when they tasted pretty good, but getting that hit of heat would have made it much more memorable!
After my experience at Hardware Société I was excited to see croquettes arrive at the table – is it becoming a trend? I’m going to have to resolve to take photos of any future croquettes opened up, because I can’t for the life of me remember much about them other than being enjoyable.
Matched wines are always good fun, especially this chilled rosé served with a slice of grapefruit. The price of matched wines might feel a little steep, but the pours were generous and the wines, some local and some international, were perfectly matched.
Our next share plates included a delicately sliced kingfish sashimi with radish and apple; a simple but incredible heirloom tomato salad that made me want to try growing heirloom varieties at home; a beetroot, pear walnut and lamb’s tongue salad; and haloumi with prunes. All simple but elegant and beautifully executed dishes, making the most of the season’s produce.
I always find main dishes at degustations less exciting after the imaginative preceding courses – what a first world problem to have! With a choice of leather jacket fish or striploin, I went with the beef. There was a time when I wouldn’t eat such a rare piece of meat – until my early twenties, I liked my beef cooked well done, until it was definitely good and dead. These days I can appreciate a good medium-rare, and this one was perfectly succulent and tender.
Dessert was an easy choice – I saw ‘Earl Grey ice-cream’ and instantly knew it was meant for me. Served with some fluffy almond cake, candied walnuts, chocolate mousse and a chocolate crumb it was quite the impressive dish, and the subject of much food envy from the rest of our group who went for the other option. Not that there was anything wrong with it – a fig leaf ice-cream with strawberries and meringue.
Little complimentary extras like petit fours always go a long way to winning me over at restaurants, especially when it’s a bit of a splurge. These little chocolate cups filled with ganache and topped with a freeze dried raspberry were a beautiful end to the lovely meal.
Cutler & Co is certainly deserving of its place amongst Melbourne’s best restaurants – the quality of produce and the care with which it’s cooked and presented was clear with every dish. The Sunday lunch managed to be both elegant and casual, a feeling echoed in the understated interior design. I’m not sure if it’s just our timing but our lunch felt relaxed and unhurried, with the restaurant not so densely packed as to inhibit the conversation with noise. If you want the fun of tasting menu without having to get all dressed up or taking such a big hit to the wallet, this is the perfect place for lazy Sunday long lunch.