If you were to ask me what I missed most about Melbourne when I lived in London, the answer would have been "food" (yes, not family or friends... sorry guys). At Chef Andrew McConnell's flagship, Cutler & Co., you'll be drooling over the fitout as much as the food.
Melburnians love their food; this is a city where eating is a hobby (or at least, it's my hobby). Queuing for hours to eat dinner at no-bookings restaurants, or even cafes for weekend brunch, is a regular occurrence. But we Melburnians are a savvy (or snobbish) bunch and if the food doesn't live up to its initial hype, it's unlikely the restaurant will be around for long, with fierce competition from a continual wave of new openings.
Andrew McConnell's restaurants are some of Melbourne's most beloved (including my high rotation fave, Cumulus Inc), standing the test of time for good reason: stellar food. The crowning jewel of McConnell's culinary empire, Cutler & Co. on Fitzroy's Gertrude Street recently turned 8 years old, undergoing a revamp, with a new fitout and a more relaxed approach to fine dining.
The constantly changing menu based on seasonal produce gives you sound justification for repeat visits. I've already made two visits in just two months back Melbourne... though your tastebuds will be pleased, your wallet may be less so! This is where the Cutler & Co. front bar comes to the fore. A destination in its own right, the front bar serves up some exceptional food (donuts with sour cream and salmon roe, anyone?) that will still leave you with change from a fifty (with value like that, perhaps the bar is more dangerous on my wallet than the restaurant after all)!
Every one of the dishes eaten over those two meals, was delicious, making it hard to pick just one stand out. The roast chicken at Sunday Lunch would have to be up there though, I can almost taste its juicy savouriness right now. However, a poll of our Sunday lunch party would return a surprising result: the bread with miso butter. Seriously, that bread... no words. No, actually nine words: possibly the best bread I've tasted in my life.
I love when quality ingredients are just allowed to sing and that's exactly what the food here is about.
The stunningly beautiful new fitout is by local firm IF Architecture, who are located just down the road in Collingwood. The palette is restrained, but luxurious, offsetting the incredible lighting design of Apparatus Studio with the original brickwork. The designers have done a great job to create a fine dining space that still feels accessible and cosy. And come on, just check out that green marble; it's the stuff dreams are made of!
Cutler & Co. has always been the ideal special occasion restaurant, but I am so glad the new incarnation includes the sensational front bar offering. If you're looking for me, I'll be in the front bar. L x
Cutler & Co.
55-57 Gertrude Street
Fitzroy, VIC 3065
+61 3 9419 4888