December 22, 2009

Cutler & Co.

55-57 Gertrude Street,
Fitzroy, VIC 3065
(03) 9419 4888
Food: Modern Australian
Date visited: 13th December 2009

Last Sunday saw our long awaited dinner at the new Cutler & Co. With such rave reviews from renown food critics, praise from impressed customers and awards given by The Age's Good Food Guide, I was most curious to discover if the restaurant really deserves the hype and fuss it has received.

Inside the historic building that it inhibits, Cutler & Co. flourishes with warmth, elegance and style. Wood foundations are randomly exposed through its brick walls, which are covered with white, sanded down paintwork. The restaurant features two long, comfy, black leather banquettes against the walls and various types of custom-designed lighting. My favourite are the ones made of wire netting, which closely resemble puffed up tutus. There was also, notably, the absence of white table linen, which I guess accentuates the relaxed, yet buzzing atmosphere in the fine dining restaurant.

The dishes that we ordered tasted absolutely divine and were beautifully presented with a creative combination of colours, textures and flavours. It is no wonder why head chef and co-ownder Andrew McConnell is highly respected in this industry; his food is fresh, seasonal and cleverly executed on the plate with delicate embellishments.

To put the icing on the cake, the service was spot on - we were kindly greeted upon arrival, and throughout the night, the staff were helpful, friendly and efficient with every move, from gracefully maneuvering between tables to clear away plates to topping up waters.

However, there was a slight hiccup - we found a thin piece of plastic (looked like it was the corner, cut off from a packet of something) in the quail terrine! Although we still finished the dish to the very last bit and insisted on paying for it, the maître d' kindly deducted it from the final bill and sincerely apologised for the accident - a simple gesture, but one I know would not occur in many other restaurants of a similar calibre.

Crusty, house-baked Sourdough; Grain Bread from Baker D. Chirico (149 Fitzroy Street, St.Kilda)

Moonlight Flat Oysters - En Surface, Clair De Lune; both natural with lemon. I preferred the En Surface, with its softer, creamier and less-briny flavour.

Asparagus Salad, Seared Scallop & Picked Spanner Crab - The delicate garnish of the Nasturtium flowers and their peppery, green leaves made me feel like I had a slice of a pretty, summery garden on my plate!

Pressed Quail Terrine, Foie Gras Cigar, Orange & Pistachio - the cigar was my favourite part of this dish; the pastry was amazingly thin and the foie gras so soft and velvety.

Amuse Bouche of Crisp Crostini with Tender, Slow-cooked Octopus, Chorizo and Aioli - I would have happily obliged to have a plate full of these as my main!

Roast Suckling Pig, Sweet and Sour Onion, Prune Vinegar - The meat was so tender and moist, with the crispiest and tastiest crackling skin I have had!

Assorted Shredded Leaves, Red Wine Vinaigrette & Shallots; Apple and Cabbage Salad (which was served as an accompaniment to the roast suckling pig)

John Dory, Grilled Red Claw Yabby, Fennel & Nettle Butter - A warm Crustacean Bisque was skilfully poured in by the waiter at the table, which instantly melted the butter and moulded the flavours from the fennel and fish together. However, I wasn't a fan of the battered onion rings on top.

Dessert Amuse Bouche of Whipped Ricotta Cheesecake, Pumpkin Seed Crumble and Golden Delicious Apple - This was a mini version of one of the items from the Dessert Menu. We easily devoured this, it was packed full of flavour and so addictive!

Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich, Vanilla Parfait & Salted Caramel - I couldn't believe how silky smooth, shiny and rich that ice cream was!

Strawberry Sorbet, Vanilla Rice & Verjuice Jelly - The rice felt like rice bubbles in my mouth!

Chocolate and Peanut Cookies - These crunchy delights arrived with the bill :)

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