Before Cutler and Co was awarded Gourmet Travellers’ Restaurant of the year I had the fortunate opportunity to dine there with a few friends on a Friday night… For many months I’d wanted to be able to sample Andrew McConnell’s food, and although we lacked an excuse 2 friends and I were able to score a 6pm booking (although I am sure that has changed now)…
I arrived early and sat in the bar for a drink… A Campari and Blood Orange arrived, beaker and chopstick and all, and I sat back and enjoyed. It was a bottled juice unfortunately, and considering blood oranges were in season, I expected fresh juice… But it was certainly a good drink..
The restaurant has a style of modern art deco, with well turned wooden chairs and bar stools, contrasted with some amazing cloud lamps… The lighting in the restaurant is quite sublime and amazing… And it was a refreshing memory to see the floor staff having their scrum at the start of the evening, a good 20 minutes of tasting and discussion. And it turns out that they even knew I was coming from my email address…
My friends arrived and we took a seat at our table – Amazingly located with a clear view into the Kitchen. Iittala glassware (I also collect Iittala glass), silver cutlery and warm bread arrived – sourdough or rye mini loafs that were to die for…
We decided to partake in the Selection of Entrees as a starter which we expected to be a mezze plate of the dishes described by our amazing waitress, however turned out to be 3 full sized entrees!
We started with Cured kingfish, smoked onion, seaweed vinegar, beetroot and rye
A subtle dish of cured fish with Beetroot jelly, a crème fraiche quinelle, caviar and sticks of rye this dish was wondrous! The smoked onion puree was piquant and tasty. Overall a dish that worked very well for me…
Next arrived a small nibble of Chorizo with octopus on crostini – a lovely little bite with fresh flavours.
The second and third entrée’s arrived together – Mandarin Duck with a Carrot Salad.
The Mandarin duck was a plate of fast food delight in 3 parts! A piece of deep fried crisp duck leg – crisp and delicious on a bed of celeriac puree, a piece of very well smoked duck breast with a bed of puy lentils and a divine crispy foie gras cigar. This was one of my favourite dishes of the night
Raw, cooked and pickled carrot salad, walnut cream and skanklish was full of colour with orange, purple and yellow carrots in different stages with a crumbling of skanklish – which is an herbed dried and aged cheese from turkey made from cows or sheep’s milk. There were also little crunchy bits throughout the salad that we couldn’t work out what they were! They were fregula pasta that had been overcooked, dehydrated then deep fried! And they were awesome!
The selection of Entrée’s cost a modest $39.00 per person, and was worth every penny – however the whole table must partake.
Onto the mains!
Only two here as my friend Lisa and I had the same main, but Pip ordered the Confit ocean trout, wood grilled smoked bacon, mussels and leek.
This tasted like a soft hunk of warm smoked trout and was sublime. It appeared barely cooked with a big piece of shiny skin on top. The bacon was amazing, and the mussels and leek was a side casserole of fregula pasta with a creamy leek and mussel sauce – a dish on its own!
Lisa and I ordered the Slow Roasted Pheasant, Brussels sprouts, chestnuts and quince. A huge plate and worth every cent of the $48.00 I spent on it… A crisp crumbed drumstick, amazingly tender pheasant breast and little sausages made out of thigh fillet wrapped in bacon… This was a plate of utter delight; I love pheasant and wish I had better access to it here in Melbourne.
Now… By this time all three of us were well and truly full, we had enjoyed some lovely wine – a Rose from Bendigo, and I had just polished off a glass of Chablis from France which is delightfully available by the glass (HATE chardonnay, LOVE Chablis – who would have guessed)
So… even though all 3 of us were so full we still went for dessert. We couldn’t decide which ones, so decided to share 3 different ones…
Firstly – Violet ice cream, chocolate ganache, sour cherry and clove meringue.
I have never tasted a violet ice-cream, and to have the experience of eating a flower and then breathing out through your nose and smelling the flower is quite a thrill. The sour cherry was sour and jammy, and the puffs of soft walnut “foam” contrasted, but felt un-necessary for the fulfilment of the dish…
Yogurt Cream, hazelnut, mandarin & carrot granita was next with brightly flavoured carrot ice, mandarin segments, shaved carrots were contrasted by a yogurt “junket” and hazelnut crumbs… A lovely light dish that cleansed all of our palates.
Friends had advised me to try the Chocolate Ice-cream sandwich, vanilla parfait and salted caramel. Appearing like a piece of dense hazelnut cake with a scoop of chocolate ice-cream on top it turned out to be the most sublime vanilla ice-cream encased in dark rich chocolate cake and a quinelle of chocolate ganache on top – A fantastic dish but the violet ice-cream was still my favourite.
To end the evening, Pendro Ximenez sherry each and a piece of fudge – with dehydrated passionfruit and black salt – a lovely ending.
How do I rate the meal? Well it was definitely one of the best meals I have had ever… And it cost less than I expected! Exemplary service – a special note for the bar staff, and Gadijah on the floor. Will I be back??? I booked again the day after for Sunday lunch at the end of October…
A deserved restaurant for Gourmet Traveller’s Restaurant of the year and highly recommended, however, please note they book out on Friday and Saturday nights up to 2 months in advance.
Cutler and Co
55 – 57 Gertrude Street
P: 03 9419 4888