57 Gertrude St, Fitzroy - ph: (03) 9419 4888
We had a couple of friends in town for the weekend and wanted to take them to a nice but casual dinner.
I had been to Cutler & Co restaurant before. I really enjoyed the food, although the atmosphere at the dining area was a bit too formal. I remember walking through the bar as we were about to leave and finding it much more relaxed.
Flowers at the Cutler & Co entrance
Tonight we ate at Cutler & Co bar. The bar doesn't take bookings, so you need to try your luck. We got a table straight away at about 8pm on a Saturday night and the bar was full shortly after that.
The bar offers table service, but the waitress took a long while to bring us the menus and drinks. On the other hand, food started coming fairly quickly after we ordered.
These little toasts were amazing. I think the fish was cured with either lemon or lime; it had a delicious zesty flavour. The avocado - on the dish description - seemed to have been replaced by sour cream which, together with the black caviar, reminded me of blinis.
One of the guys said the anchovy pastries were like hot chips - he could have had a bowl of them. I thought they were a bit too doughy for my taste, but then again, not everyone shares my love for anchovies...
Again, great little toasts. If the kingfish one was inspired on Russian food, this one was definitely Spanish. I loved what I believe was a paella inspired combination of chorizo and seafood.
This salad was a winner for me. I have never eaten chicken this tender before. Incredible. I also really liked the roasted quinoa. The prune was pureed into this rich, sweet sauce that blended amazingly well with the rest of the dish.
Salad of spiced heirloom carrots, eggplant, pistachio and radish ($21)
Another delicious salad. The eggplant was slightly smoked and processed as tick emulsion. Carrots, beetroot and sweet potato were lightly cooked and still a bit crunchy, adding a nice texture to the dish. I enjoyed the combination of pureed and and whole versions of the same vegetables.
I'm not a big fan of salami, so can't say much about this one. The olives were nice, but nothing remarkable.
Steamed pork bun with Shanghai chilli vinegar ($15)
Pork bun was the last dish to come and probably the table's favourite. The sweet buns were really soft and chunky pieces of pork were amazingly tender. I also loved the rich sweet and sour sauce served with it.
Oh my god! How creamy can a desert be? The chocolate ice-cream was unbelievably smooth and creamy. I wasn't that keen on the vanilla parfait; a bit too rich for me. But I did like the contrast between the salty caramel and the sweet chocolate.
We had a great night with lots of good food, drinks and good conversation. The atmosphere at Cutler & Co Bar is much more relaxed than the restaurant and the place was buzzing the night we visited. What's even better - I thought our meal was a bargain for about $60 pp including drinks.