Saturday, 5 September 2009


55-57 Gertrude St, Fitzroy - ph: 9419 4888

Restaurant's decor: see-through wine cellar and cool light fixtures

The first thing I always do when writing a new post is to categorize it's cuisine. I must confess I had a bit of a hard time working out what category would Cutler & Co fall into. Modern Australian? Contemporary? With French influences? Or simply Andrew McConnell's interpretation of all of the above combined?

In order to make it easy for people to navigate the site, I chose the first (although I actually believe the latter would be the most accurate).

Anyways, back to the topic. Cutler & Co is a pretty cool restaurant. It is basically a big warehouse conversion with a bar at the front and restaurant at the back. The whole place has been done really nicely; the fit out was done by Andrew's (owner & chef) architect wife and has this really cool, modern look. It's sophisticated without being too posh.

Tonight we are celebrating my husband's birthday. We've booked ages ago (it's booked out forever) and have been looking forward to coming here for a while.

For entree, I order their Lyonnaise salad - traditionally, a combination of salad leaves, egg and bacon. The plate that I get looks nothing like the traditional recipe.

'Salad Lyonnaise' with pancetta, garlic sausage and smoked tonge ($19)

That doesn't faze me at all: my plate looks & tastes fantastic! The egg yolk is covered in a hard caramel (I have no idea how you would do that?); the pancetta strip is the finest and crispiest I've ever tasted; garlic sausage comes in little cubes and melts in the mouth - and all goes really well together. It's a small dish, but quite filing and delicious.

My partner orders the quail and loves it. It is well cooked and goes well with its slightly sweet sauce.

Wood grilled quail, fois gras parfait and fresh figs ($20)

I get to try a bit and we both agree the highlight of this dish is the fois gras parfait - the little 'cigars' on the picture). The pastry is incredibly thin and crusty and the fois gras is unbelievably light and creamy. I highly recommend trying this - can still remember its texture and flavor while I write about it.

Fois gras 'cigars'

Then it is time for mains. I must confess the mains' options weren't as enticing as the entrees. My partner chose the pork and, although he enjoyed it, it wasn't a memorable dish. The pork was not that tender and crackle not that crispy - a bit of a disappointment really.

Roasted sucking pig with shallots and sherry vinegar ($39)

I chose the pastry filled with fetta and silverbeet. Have to say I was also disappointed with my main. The pastry was this doughy bread-like mixture, which on its own tasted quite good. However, the filling also included a lot of diced potato - and the combination just made the whole thing too starchy. The best part of my dish was the creamy curd around the pastry covered in middle eastern spices and pine nuts.

Fatayar pastry filled with silverbeet, pinenuts and fetta ($29)

My main came with a side salad of shredded cabbage and assorted leaves, red wine vinagrette and tarragon that tasted surprisingly good, even though I don't normally enjoy raw cabbage.

Cabbage and assorted leaves salad

The highlight of the night for us was definitely dessert - which we finished in less than 5 minutes and were actually tempted to order another one! We ordered it out of curiosity: beetroot ice-cream with pain d'epice and blood orange jus.

Beetroot ice-cream with pain d'epice and blood orange jus ($17)

The ice-cream was really earthy and only slightly sweet, but went really well with the spiced cake (pain d'epice) and the thick, tangy blood orange reduction. The dessert definitely surprised us and left us wanting more.

Overall, I really enjoyed the dining experience. The ambiance was really nice, service was good and food is quite reasonably priced for what you get. Going there again, I would order 2 entrees instead of entree + main.

Note: the bar at the front is pretty cool and something I am now looking forward to trying. They make cool cocktails and serve tapas-style dishes - seems like a good option for a week night out.

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