I have been hearing about this restaurant for years and went there for the first time last week. Everyone who has been there has said nothing but amazing things and I finally got to experience it for myself. Everything I ate was brilliant! This relatively small space is brought to life by the great energy that fills the room. On one length of the room there is a bar with people seated along it and on the other side there is an open kitchen where the chefs are creating the meals. People were seated on round tables in the middle and along the bar and kitchen. It’s a small cozy space with a lot of style. Our waiter politely introduced us to the menu and was thorough in her menu descriptions, which was great.
We got some oysters to start. There was a list of oysters on the menu, written like a mini wine menu. This was new to me because the only options I’m used to choosing with oysters are whether I want ½ a dozen or a dozen. Our waiter explained the different types and they all sounded divine. We tried a range of different oysters from the selection. Previously I thought that oysters were just oysters but each of those oysters had such varying characteristics, different tastes, different sizes, different textures. Wow! I like the small sweet ones over the mature textural ones but they were all really good.
Next up, baked chilli mussels. The mussels were individually presented with a tomato based chilli sauce that had a decent kick to it. It was then sprinkled with Parmesan breadcrumbs on top with a spot of aioli to put out the fire. They were delish!
The thickly sliced triangles of brioche were very light and buttery and had a nice crunch to it, divine just on its own. The foie gras parfait was decadent and perfectly smooth, a great pairing for the toasty brioche. It’s delicious in a small dose so you appreciate it. We had three people and ate too much each. I found that if you get greedy and eat too much of the fois gras parfait it starts to leave an oily feeling on the roof of your mouth (that layer of grease feeling you get when you eat a cold sausage roll). Lesson learnt, don’t be greedy.
We ordered the special on the night, which was Flounder with lentils, bacon and radicchio. It was truly delicious! It was the perfect meal for a cold winters night (well cold autumn night). It was comforting and delicious. It was like a lamb casserole but the fish version, layers and layers of complex flavours served in a humble way. It was moreish and full of amazing flavours that worked perfectly. The salty bacon, the bitter riddichio, the creamy lentils and perfectly cooked flounder made it a stand out dish.
We had trouble deciding on which salad to get because they all sounded good but we shortlisted them down to two salads. We were tossing up between the two options but our waiter informed us that we could get a half serve of one salad and a half serve of the other salad. This was grand, we got the best of both worlds. Yay! I was very excited about this. It was so accommodating. It was a great solution. We decided on the half serve of Cracked wheat and freekeh salad, preserved lemon, barberries, which was so delicious, it was a flavour sensation, there was so much going on, lots of textures and lots of flavours, but it all worked really well. The dollops of yoghurt really brought it all together.
For the other half serve we ordered the roasted pumpkin, pomegranate molasses, shanklish (middle eastern cheese) & toasted seeds. It was so sweet. It was literally big chunks of roasted pumpkin with all the ingredients sprinkled on top. It was so sweet and really delicious! I loved how the pumpkin was the star and the other ingredients changed it into an interesting and complex flavour combo.
For dessert we ordered the chocolate mess , which was a chocolate bonanza. Chocolate mousse, chocolate brownie, chocolate bits, chocolate everything! The ice-cream on top tasted a bit sour like a yogurt, which was good because the tartness offset all the rich chocolate tones. Very clever.
On the menu the madeleines say that they take 15 minutes, which I think is because they are made to order. Yum fresh! They looked beautiful sitting upon little beds of lemon curd. The delicate shell-shaped cakes were golden and crispy around the edges and a were soft and buttery in the middle with lemon curd centres. Delicious! These are perfect with a cup of coffee or tea to finish a wonderful meal.
The food was really delicious, and most of all, our experience was fantastic and memorable. There was a good flow of meals (a nice brief break between meals) and the service was great. I was especially excited about the oyster knowledge imparted. I was impressed with the presentation of the food and even more impressed once I tasted the food. It was all very exciting. Will definitely be back. Although sad the flounder is not permanently on the menu. Loved it!
I heart Cumulus Inc.!
Address: 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9650 1445
Trading Hours: Mon-Fri: 7am-11pm Sat-Sun: 8am-11pm