Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cumulus Inc

Location: 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Phone: (03) 9650 1445
Link: www.cumulusinc.com.au
Cuisine: Bar, Coffee, Shared

As part of my July trip back to Melbourne, V suggested we head to Cumulus for lunch and I couldn't say no. Not only had I wanted to try out one of Andrew McConnell's restaurants for a while (Cutler & Co is still on my list), the place itself had some significant meaning for me. 

Cumulus Inc
Whilst this was my first dining experience at Cumulus, I had been taken there for coffee by my supervisor during a clerkship experience a few years back. Ironically, or perhaps suitably, the building in the background of the photo above, is where my career really began.

Enough reminiscing and onto the review.

Cumulus Inc is a hidden gem. Tucked away in a laneway off Flinders Lane, it's pretty hard to find unless you either know what you're looking for, or look up in time to see the sign and turn the corner.

Once inside, the atmosphere is relaxed and casual. By 12pm, the coffee drinking crowd have had their caffeine hit, and the place transforms from coffee shop to a foodie's heaven.

We were seated at the bar overlooking the kitchen, which gave us a clear view of the open kitchen and the chefs at work.

open kitchen
Our waitress was pleasant, polite and very helpful. She guided us through the menu choices and gave us an indication of the number and sizes of dishes that would suit us.

complimentary bread and butter
As with all good restaurants, we were served complimentary bread and butter as we waited for our dishes to arrive. The bread was pretty standard for me (but then again, I'm no bread expert) - V, on the other hand, really enjoyed the bread.

Slow cooked octopus with aioli, dehydrated olive
First up, the octopus. The octopus was tender and juicy, slow cooking had definitely allowed it to soak up the flavours and break down. The aioli was creamy and flavourful. Perhaps I misunderstood the dish, but I found the pool of olive oil a little overbearing.

Wagyu bresaola with pickled onions and horseradish cream
Hands down one of the best bresaola I have ever tasted. The meat was nicely cured, and the pickled onions provided a nice sweet, caramelised contrast to the salted meat. Whilst not the biggest fan of horseradish cream, the small dollops of cream worked brilliantly when combined with the bresaola and the onions.

Prosciutto di Parma
Another serve of nicely cured meat. Very thinly sliced and full of flavour, this was a hit, although it would have been nice to have had it served with something to cut the saltiness.

Mustard crumbled pig's tail, celeriac remoulade & caperberries
The menu description of this item caught our interest, and I love eating with V because she's willing to be adventurous too. I can think of many people who would turn their noses up at the sound of pig's tail.

The tail was well cooked, the fat inside had been rendered, and the crumble around the meat was delicate in texture but full of flavour. I wasn't completely certain about the combination of elements on the dish, but the tail definitely needed something to cut the richness, and the remoulade and caperberries did the job.

Roast new potatoes & celeriac, confit garlic and rosemary
As a side, we ordered the roast potatoes. An example of simple ingredients given a 'wow factor'. The confit garlic was delicious paired with the rosemary potatoes.

Finally, dessert time. V insisted that we could not leave Cumulus without trying their infamous madeleines.

Madeleine, filled with lemon curd
And was she correct? It was well worth the wait.  The madeleines were served warm, straight from the oven, and had a similar crumbly texture to shortbread, but softer. The filling inside was sweet and sticky, with the tart acidity of the lemon, that cut through the pastry and the icing sugar sprinkled on top.

The service was great, and they even asked what time we needed to leave so that they could time the dishes to suit our schedule (good for business lunches). A very enjoyable lunch, and I'll be back one day to try the rest of the dishes on the menu!

Overall Impression: 9.5/10 
Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

D said...

Their breakfasts are alright too, and you should try their Crushed Pea & Tuna Tartare Salad -> awesomeness.

And yes, definitely do Cutler & Co, but do A la Carte rather than their Degustation.

And finally try Andrew McConnell's newest joint in St Kilda - Golden Fields! :D