Monday, 18 July 2011

Cutler&Co

55-57 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
Cutler&Co has become somewhat of an institution amongst Melbourne’s fine dining scene, despite its relatively new existence in this wonderful city I call home.  A two hat restaurant run by Andrew McConnell and partner Pascale Gomes-McNabb, it really is a must for anyone that appreciates great food and faultless service combined with an atmosphere that is fresh, modern and intriguing. 
Having booked a table some months ago I would be lying if I said I wasn’t just a tad excited that the evening had finally arrived. Dressed for a special occasion and with enormous expectations, we walked into the Gertrude St restaurant with keen anticipation.
The restaurant itself is a large open area; however despite the abundant floor space, Cutler&Co’s creative design, soft lighting, rusty wine racks and classic wooden and leather furnishings ensure that you have an intimate dining experience. For me the walls are the winning feature. A unique touch that sets a dynamic scene; exposed wall to ceiling bricks that have been roughly white washed to give the restaurant an absorbing industrial feel. The space is sincerely modern and ‘Fitzroy’ to a t.
Greeted at the door we are guided seamlessly to our table, jackets taken, napkins fanned out, water poured and our waitress for the evening introduced, all in a instant. To start we order a dozen natural Rusty Wire Oysters and a glass of sparkling to match. The oysters are deliciously fresh and barely needed the lemon that accompanies them.  Along with the tangy sourdough rolls that I spread generously with soft salty butter, the entree is complete and sets the mood for the evening ahead.   
There is something to be admired about restaurants perfecting the wait between delivering entree and main courses. All too often these day’s kitchens hastily rush out meals leaving you to feel as if they are pushing you out the door to make space for the next sitting, or alternatively talking so much time between courses you often need to remind the wait staff that you are in fact still there! There is no such problem at Cutler&Co who have certainly mastered this understated but none the less important aspect of dining. After ordering a bottle of Tuscan Sangiovese we are lost in conversation and are enjoying the gentle buzz that surrounds us when our mains arrive with a perfect precision, as if the kitchen knows that our taste buds have again begun to salivate.
Roast Suckling Pig
The slow roasted duck breast with confit leg pie, mustard fruit, turnip and cavolo nervo that I have ordered are the perfect combination of soft, pink flesh and the decadent flavour of rich confit that I adore.  Opposite me is the roast suckling pig with mosellia, sweet and sour shallots and almond, again the meat itself was cooked to perfection but the thick salty crackling that crunches loudly in your mouth before melting away was the star of the dish.
With some wine still to finish our waitress kindly suggested the Ossau Iraty to help accompany it; a plate of hard ewe’s milk cheese from the Pyrenees and Basque country. Sliced thinly and served with pickled cherries it was, as it had been suggested, the perfect way to end the meal, allowing us to saviour the flavours that had taken us on the evening’s journey.
Looking back fondly I do not have enough positive praise for Cutler&Co. Although it is a fine dining establishment the atmosphere is refreshingly casual and relaxed having avoided the pretence of some premier restaurants. The food is delectable and the service is second to none that I have come across in my Melbourne dining adventures to date.
Cutler&Co; warehouse dining with a five star rating!!
Rated 18 O’s out of 20
Cutler & Co on Urbanspoon

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