A bustling, buzzing restaurant that seems to be in the forefront of many Melbournians, as there seemed to be a non-stop line of diners coming and going throughout a Monday evening, and so it was that we found ourselves at Cumulus Inc. mylifestylenews writes.
Melbourne is a foodie’s heaven without a doubt and unless you live there, you have to make some difficult decisions when it comes to choosing which restaurant you wish to patronize, based on special occasions, current obsessions or any other such whim or fancy. Situated in Melbourne's famous art and fashion precinct in Flinders Lane, Cumulus Inc. is set in the location that is an historic turn of the century rag trade building, so it is blessed with high ceilings, large windows all along the street level façade and some simple design elements that show a quirkiness but allow you to focus on the acclaimed food of Andrew McConnell more than anything else.
The ambience is with a touch of warehouse/industrial looks with bistro tables and chairs packing the central floor space, and a quirky light fitting in one corner. With the chattering background noises filling the air, it only adds more exciting vibes to the already dimmed lighting mood in the entire restaurant, borrowing some strong street lights through the giant lass windows, with the evening seemingly still as bright as dawn and the lights never going down.
Image courtesy of Cumulus Inc.
As the name suggests, Cumulus gathers the buzzing dining vibe for urban diners. If you are looking for a quiet evening, this is not the place, as the dining space is quite reverberant and tables are close to each other, so you will hear some other conversations, but the vibe is great and you can immerse yourselves into an ambience that is warm and welcoming. We were lucky to secure the best seat in the house, the corner banquette overlooking the whole dining room and bar, with a close up connection to all the activity in the kitchen. We were dining on a Monday night and it was packed.
The kitchen is small, but on perusing the small menu you realize that they have judged everything perfectly by not creating an enormous list of dishes and doing what they do best, with a friendly menu, plus you can order the kitchen selection dishes and let the kitchen surprise you with 4 courses – the omakaze way.
We chose the a la carte menu to tailor the evening to our mood with a couple of tapas starters as sharing plates as well as main course and we found more than enough menu items to interest our palates while sipping our fruity and aromatic 2017 petit Chablis.
We started proceedings with a daily special of Port Phillip scallops that were pan seared with a touch of nori seaweed. The taste was very fresh and beautifully dressed, but very small.
Marinated razor back prawns and mussels sounded like a great combination with shallots. This was in a Mediterranean style with middle eastern spices and was very tasty.
Heading in the opposite direction we followed up with zucchini flower dolmas – 2 pieces – that were stuffed with rice and pickled lemons. Incredibly delicious with a zestiness that complimented the overall richness.
Spanish ham can be divine and the 30g of Jamon Iberico Joselito did not disappoint, with a rich and deep colour and an intense flavor to match. Ole! The light bodied but full flavour of Brouilly G. Descombes is worth having. Fresh, almost effervescent on the note and well paired with both foie gras and the Iberico ham.
Foie gras parfait is a classic and what’s not to like about this dish. It had a gorgeous lightness to the parfait and a lovely sweetness in the brioche, so the perfect combination to enjoy to the full.
We could not pass up the opportunity to try the Wagyu Bresaola. This was very creamy and had a great depth of flavor and really hit the spot, plus a rather generous portion we thought.
Given all the rich dishes tasted so far, a salad was required to cleanse our palates and we opted for the zucchini salad, marinated in cabernet sauvignon vinaigrette with sumac, saltbush leaf and pinenuts. This is a beautifully balanced and complex salad that packed a punch in flavor and served to reorient the palate and is a must order.
Mains were not difficult to decide and first up was the Eugowra Chicken with sweetcorn and verbena. This was a standout due to the provenance of the chicken meat that was so tender and flavoursome. In short, fantastic!
As a contrast, we had to try the Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder on a bed of almond cream and red peppers. This was a very generous portion and simply superb in all respects. The meat was so tender and piquant in flavor and the almond cream and peppers were the perfect foil for the rich meat, along with a side dish of kipfler potatoes with horseradish, which we loved. It was also a very generous portion of lamb, so great value. Both the chicken and lamb dishes were complimented by the garnet red with ruby hue Barolo d.o.c.g. with the elegant, intense and clean scents of roses, vanilla, roasted hazelnuts, licorice, tobacco and cinnamon as well as a fruity scent of strawberries and mulberries.
kipfler potatoes with horseradish
As always, we had to try at least one dessert and settled on the Baked Meringue with mango and coconut sorbet with white chocolate and yoghurt ganache. This is a stunning dessert with a deftness to its execution and so light in the mouth and yet a delicate intensity from the coconut flavor in the sorbet. We thought we were done and then we were presented with two warm madeleines filled with lemon curd to try, which were equally delicious.
To be honest, before arriving we were not expecting greatness, but the evening was a huge hit on all fronts. The front of house team were so switched on throughout the whole dining floor especially our server Emma – juggling a few tables with efficiency in no time - as well as the restaurant manager Eric who manages to sit everyone down flawlessly. The food could not be faulted, the wine pairing was spot on and enabled to try some wines we were not familiar with and the flow of food was well judged and gave us time to rest in between. Once again, Melbourne dining delighted us unexpectedly and gave us so many reasons to explore even more next time.
Tried & Tested:
Design & Decor: 3.5/5
Food & Beverage: 4.5/5
Value For Money: 4.5/5
45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne,
Tel+61 3 9650 1445
Image Credit: Copyright of mylifestylenews & Cumulus Inc.
Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated.