Dining Date: May 2010
2010 Rating: 14th
2010 Star rating: 2
Chef: Andrew McConnell
Location: 55-57 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Victoria
Way back in May we headed off in search of a well priced lunch with Agnes, Alastair and Pat from Off the Spork. Cutler and Co has a fixed Sunday lunch for $65, definitely a winner on the wallet. The lunch was filled with loads of laughter and plenty of food related puns to keep us going for hours. There were some real corkers, and sadly some really lame puns, mostly coming from me, if you want to check out all the good ones, head on over to Agnes' post.
So lets get straight into the food. The lunch was three courses, where the first course was a selection of dishes designed to be shared by the entire table. Then there was a choice for mains and a choice for dessert. To start we had Cured ocean trout toast. The trout was soft and juicy sitting on a very crunchy crisp croûton. I wish I had eaten this a little slower or at least had the brains to hide the plate from everyone else.
Next we have the French Breakfast Radish.Those crazy francophiles, eating radishes for breakfast, what will they think of next? Macarons as door stops? I wasn't exactly sold on eating a radish on its own, but surprisingly I enjoyed it. They were fairly crunchy, to be expected and slightly appetizing.
Next we have the Claire de lune oysters. These seem to have become the popular kid in school, appearing at every party and usually being awesome to hang out with. I'm a fan of good quality fresh oysters, and these are as good as they get at the moment.
Beetroot salad, goats curd and apple. The beetroot was fantastic, the earthy flavour of the beetroot combined with the gamy flavour from the goats curd was spectacular. I made sure to fill my mouth with a small portion of every element on the dish, and the apple jelly still managed to make it to the party and offer its sweet contrast to the competing flavours. The waiter informed us that the dish had dill oil in it, somehow I managed to miss that flavour all together.
Pearl barley, radicchio and ricotta salata. I had my reservations about this dish. My mum often makes salted ricotta when she gets a bit greedy and orders a few kilos of ricotta when all she really needs is a small wedge. We often have it shaved on top of fresh pasta. I enjoyed the pearl barely, it was chewy with a slight firm center, but I felt like the dish was missing something. I think if the ricotta was a bit more salty and a bit more pungent it would have lifted the dish a little. So this was a bit of a miss for me.
Garlic sausage, potato and ravigot. Yum! This one got me interested again. The thick generous sausages were fantastic, I piled a whole heap of this on the warm crusty bread they served and chewed away happily.
Fried green tomatoes. They were served with a crunchy outter shell and a creamy mayo. My notes literally say "They were fried, green and tomatoes". Sometimes I make myself laugh!
Sweet peppers, migas and tuna mayo. Stop everything! This one was the stand out of the day. Peppers with pickled garlic, spanish fried crutons, parprika and tuna mayo. I usually walk away from a meal with at least one dish I would like to recreate at home, and on this occasion it was one element of a dish - the tuna mayo! I'm sure its just tuna and mayo mixed together but it was a taste sensation. At one point I tried to scoop some on my bread and eat it like that, but Daz baulked at me and said it wasnt allowed - something to do with manners, I dont have any and he would like me to grow some. Everyone at the table was impressed by that mayo and as soon as the dish was finished, the attentive staff whisked it away. Leaving us all wondering way we didnt dive in and lick the plate clean.....oh yeah we're supposed to have manners.
Onto the mains. Alastair had the Local line caught snapper, tomato, prawn & chorizo
Agnes and I had the Braised lamb, buckwheat polenta and gremolata. The weather is getting a little cooler, so ordering anything with polenta is a good way to warm up your belly. The lamb was very tender but was slightly too fatty and was a little too intense in lamb flavour, it tasted a bit more like mutton. I ate the whole lot though.
Pat and Daz ordered the Roast Quail, smoked sausage and sauerkraut. It was quiet funny to see the two boys getting the smallest dish on the menu. I looked at Daz' face when the dish came out, I know him pretty well and I'm sure I can read his mind and it said "IS THAT ALL?" Luckily for him the portion size was made up for with plenty of flavour.
Onto dessert. Alastair ordered Earl Grey tea ice cream, chocolate ganache and macerated prune. I didn't get to taste this one, but I must give ten points on presentation, it was a truly beautiful dessert.
Poor Daz. Sometimes, very rarely, I feel sorry for him. He ordered his dessert at the start of the meal, opting for the Gruyère d'Alpage and shiraz jelly. Daz is a little like me and completely cheese obsessed, so when he saw Gruyère he had to order it. Sadly it wasn't what he expected. He thought he would get some sort of cheesecake with wine jelly, when his cheese plate was placed in front of him, his dreams of eating a cake were completely shattered. Of course he can't keep his emotions off his face and showed his disappointment, we all laughed and laughed...he almost cried. The really hurtful part came when he had eaten all of his three paper thin crackers, and finished his teaspoon of jelly and was left with more than half of the original cheese - with nothing to eat it with. Then we laughed and laughed at him again.
Agnes and I ordered the Quince baba, sheep's milk yoghurt and cherry. The baba was very dry, it needed to be soaked in a lot more rum (I feel the pirate in me coming out). The cherry puree was just perfect with the delicate yoghurt and Quince jelly. I think if the baba had been removed all together it would have been an much more appealing dish.
I wasnt exactly blown away by the food at Cutler and Co, but there were enough intriguing elements that has made me conclude that a return visit is necessary. At the very least to order a massive bowl of tuna mayo.
After eating lunch, Daz and I decided to take a walk down to Brunswick street for a bit of shopping. Two doors down from Cutler and Co we discovered an oddly dressed tree. I know winter is upon us, but I didn't know that trees suffer from the cold as well! The tree had been lovingly and painstakingly wrapped in dozens of doilies. I often see doilies at charity shops and wonder who would buy them, now I know....cold trees! Check out the freezing pole to the right.