Cutler & Co., Fitzroy

by dylan on February 12, 2014

Menu

Menu

Choosing restaurants to dine at during a relatively short stay in Melbourne is never an easy feat. The list is long, the recommendations endless. But with each trip we make we manage to tick off a few more (and add a few others).

Cutler & Co. is Andrew McConnell’s flagship restaurant located in an old metal works factory in Fitzroy, Melbourne. The space has been converted from a factory into an urban chic restaurant. An oversized steel bar sits front and centre, an exposed white brick wall spans the depth of the room, banquette seating, deep woods and a colour palette of browns and greens complete the room.

The restaurant has been awarded two chef’s hats and has placed in the top 10 in the Australian Gourmet Traveller Top 100 list each year since opening in 2009. Naturally it had been on the list for some time and when print guru Lex saw a sample of their foiled and embossed stationery it quickly made its way to the top of the list. Hence we made it there on our most recent trip to Melbourne.

Amuse bouche.

Getting this meal started was an amuse bouche of burnt eggplant on a tapioca crisp. Just like a prawn cracker the crisp dissolved slowly as it hit the tongue, there for this great textural effect and not flavour, whereas the eggplant was everything and more when it came to taste. Hints of dehydrated seaweed added a salty tone but the smoky burnt eggplant puree really dominated in a very good way. Quite a taste bud evoking amuse bouche.

Amuse bouche

Amuse bouche

Hervey Bay scallops, shaved abalone, soy milk custard & chilled dashi ($28.00).

Some of my favourite morsels of seafood in a dashi broth, this had my name all over it. I had picked up on the mention of ‘chilled’ in the description but when she sampled it Lex was surprised it was cold. Even though it was a cold starter the silky broth carried itself wonderfully. The dashi just screamed umami and the delicate soy milk custard went superbly, along with a good zest from the spring onion. The juicy scallops were tasty but they came in second to the abalone, which was fuller in texture and stood out the most.

Hervey Bay scallops, shaved abalone, soy milk custard & chilled dashi

Hervey Bay scallops, shaved abalone, soy milk custard & chilled dashi

Heirloom tomato salad, smoked buffalo ricotta & filo pastry ($24.00).

As we don’t do anything in half measures we’d already had a late breakfast and quite a substantial afternoon tea out on the town, so Lex was looking for something fairly light to kick off the meal. Knowing tomato and cheese is a killer combination and being intrigued by the smoked buffalo ricotta she opted for the salad. Various tomatoes brought different levels of sweetness, tartness and acidity to the dish with lightly pickled onions jumping out here and there. If it were just ordinary buffalo ricotta it would have been a great dish, but the underlying tones of smoke pulled this dish into the realm of amazing. The ricotta was strong without being overwhelming, light and creamy at the same time. Probably the best entrée we’ve had for a long time.

Heirloom tomato salad, smoked buffalo ricotta & filo pastry

Heirloom tomato salad, smoked buffalo ricotta & filo pastry

Dry aged 400gm Angus Club Steak – Served with shaved cabbage & fennel salad, condiments on the side ($50.00).

Did I want the dry aged 1.1kg Angus rib-eye? Hells yes I did but it is for two and Lex wasn’t interested so when it came to mains I was unsure as nothing was taking my fancy. Luckily our waitress came to save the day when she advised there was a special of a 400gm Club Steak (porterhouse on the bone) cooked and served the same way as the rib-eye, including the side salad and condiments. Woohoo.

First to arrive was the side salad, a generous serving for one person but I just love side salads. Strands of fennel and cabbage were dressed in a very subtle vinaigrette with a scattering of chilli flakes and chives thrown in for good measure. It was crunchy and light, exactly what a salad like this should be.

Shaved cabbage & fennel salad

Shaved cabbage & fennel salad

Three small jars of condiments each with their own spoon looked rather marvellous. I had a feeling the horseradish cream would be the winner so I left it to last. First up was the seeded mustard which was a bit lacking, tasting just like Masterfoods’ version. Next up was the Dijon which was an improvement over the seeded but still not what I was after. Finally I dug into the horseradish and I was in heaven. Fresh horseradish whipped with crème fraiche is just the best steak condiment ever.

Jars of condiments

Jars of condiments

And then there was the steak, still on the bone and sliced ready to go. With such a great amount of char and the blushing pink visible before I even dug in the steak was already a winner in my books. It tasted every bit as good as it looked and even more so. With the crusty blackened outer it had robustness and although it was cooked just a tad over medium rare it was still juicy and succulent. Being a cut on the bone there was a bigger burst of steaky goodness than I usually get and I just loved it.

Dry aged 400 gm Angus Club Steak

Dry aged 400 gm Angus Club Steak

Roast chicken, house ground polenta, baby corn & miso ($46.00).

Chicken or fish? Lex changed her mind plenty of times on this one, but I nudged her towards the chicken because I wanted to try it. Rarely does Lex order chicken but I would order it even less which is my own steak loving fault really. When chicken is this chickeny it is a winner. Soft and subtle flesh never lacked moisture, it was superbly cooked, just the way it should be. Soft and luscious the polenta was initially the perfect accompaniment but became overpowering after a while, though not the polenta as such but rather the sweet corn broth it was cooked with. Luckily the garlic and spring onion dressing was able to cut some of that back but not enough to allow the chicken to really shine.

Roast chicken, house ground polenta, baby corn & miso

Roast chicken, house ground polenta, baby corn & miso

Pre-Dessert.

Pre-desserts have definitely been a big hit lately, everywhere we go they seem to hit the spot with great accuracy and Cutler & Co. was no exception. A mulled wine jelly was sweet and ever so vibrant with spices like cinnamon and cloves. Blackberries were fantastically tart and ever so sweet but it was the sheep’s milk yoghurt that took this from great to sensational, a really amazing way to move on from the savouries and into the sweets.

Pre-Dessert

Pre-Dessert

Sauternes custard, white peaches, lemon verbena & raspberries ($19.00).

With my mega sized steak and Lex’s generous portion of chicken we were waiting and waiting for our dessert stomachs to awaken but they never really did. Although partially defeated we knew there was no way we could leave without something sweet. Collectively we decided on the Sauternes custard, but we could only muster the room to share. To our surprise rather than bring out one bowl they plated it separately for us, a nice touch.

Rich and velvety the Sauternes custard was the main reason we chose this dish and it was the stand out. Both the peaches and the raspberries were lovely, sweet and tart and well matched to the custard and lemon verbena. Nearly simultaneously we commented on the crostoli and how they didn’t quite match texturally to the rest of the dish.

Sauternes custard, white peaches, lemon verbena & raspberries

Sauternes custard, white peaches, lemon verbena & raspberries

And we were done. We had finally made it to Cutler & Co. and were full to the brim. The tomato salad was without a doubt one of the best dishes we’ve had in quite some time and the steak was outstanding.

The space is comfortable for those who arrive in jeans or for anyone arriving in a suit, it’s warm and welcoming yet classy at the same time. Service attentive and informed, never overbearing. A restaurant that ticks all the boxes at reasonable prices. You’ve got to be happy with that.

Dining room

Dining room

Cutler & Co.
55-57 Gertrude Street
Fitzroy VIC 3065
(03) 9419 4888
Cutler & Co. Website

Cutler & Co on Urbanspoon

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