From the outside, Cutler & Co is unassuming. But behind its dark glass doors lies one of Fitzroy’s finest fine dining experiences. And you would expect nothing less from executive chef Andrew McConnell, co-owner of Cumulus Inc., Marion, Supernormal, Ricky & Pinky and Meatsmith.
The decor is as much of a star as the food. Ebony floors, brass fixtures and clean lines create a moody but welcoming atmosphere. The kitchen is open plan, allowing diners to watch genius chefs at work. Fresh produce and ingredients are on display, whetting the appetites of the guests as they filter past on their way to their table.
The menu celebrates the seasons most exciting ingredients in either a two or three-course degustation or a five-course chef’s selection menu. I was lucky enough to attend a private event at Culter & Co and sample a personalised seven-course menu. I was also pleasantly surprised at the staff’s willingness to accommodate a range of dietary restrictions. From vegetarian to fructose-intolerant – all of the guest’s needs were met.
The meal opened with a range of light entrees: Port Lincon raw tuna with purple daikon, begonia and buckwheat tosazu, followed by a summer salad of locally grown vegetables, fromage blanc and cumin seed vinaigrette. As someone who’s not a big fish eater, I found the tuna to be tender, flavorful and fresh. The summer salad was a tad bland but served as a nice ending to a perfectly paced entree course.
Shortly after we moved on to mains: Aylesbury duck breast glazed with smoked maple syrup, served with stone fruit, preserved plum vinegar and smoked almonds. Duck is quite a rich-tasting meat, so pairing it with a tender slice of peach made the perfect combination. Next came dry-aged O’Connor beef topped with poppino mushrooms, karashi and nasturtium sauce and served with organic butter lettuce and a dried herb vinaigrette. As I’m sure you know, cooking beef is a fine art – and this dish did not disappoint. The beef was so tender it could be cut with a butter knife and the mushrooms and vinaigrette brought out its natural flavour beautifully.
As I’m sure you know, no meal is complete without dessert. I finished the meal with an apple mint sorbet, blueberry jam and lemon verbena. Juliette strawberries and sake rice cream served on a green almond biscuit.
As a food enthusiast, I was delighted to find Cutler & Co more than lived up to its reputation as a Fitzroy fine-dining staple. It’s the perfect location for an indulgent lunch, private function or special occasion.