Andrew McConnell’s fine diner has been hitting 'em for six since 2009 and there are no signs of slowing down at this Fitzroy favourite

We have one really big regret from our recent meal at Cutler: not ordering the 1.1kg Angus rib eye for two. Sure, ordering a big hunk of brown meat might not be as riveting as four courses of chef Andrew McConnell’s earthy, deceptively simple-yet-mind-blowing fare punctuated with clever bursts of sweetness. And ordering the steak somewhere like Cutler is kinda like ordering a pie at Vue de Monde. But hey, we really like giant steaks.

Architect Pascale Gomes McNabb has worked her magic here too – creating an urban jungle of plush ferns, walls of distressed brick, big green glass vases and light shades that look like rotting lace jelly fish (you know, in a good way) all bathed in a low, golden glow. It’s a beautiful room.

Sadly, though, the front bar area and its ripper bar food menu have all but disappeared, replaced with more dining tables. Word from our waitress is that McConnell and co are opening a bar next door some time in 2013, which is exciting, but that front section injected an exciting note of fun and frivolity that made Cutler stand out from the rest of the fine-dining pack.

Chin up, and get tableside. Though the bar’s done its dash, the food’s better than ever. Start with seaweed and tapioca crisps, puffed up and ready to be broken and dipped into a moussey eggplant puree. Or maybe it’ll be a tiny Noma-esque rye crisp sandwiching crème frâche, smoked trout and Avruga caviar.

Service is friendly but they stick to their brief. Your food will come out in a timely manner, you’ll get what you asked for and wine recommendations are really solid. It’s perfect if you’re happy to be left to your own devices, but you wouldn’t want to be floundering on a bad date, for instance. They’re unlikely to fish you out.

There are deftly handled bursts of sweetness throughout the menu – gingerbread ground down to a fine powder over fried duck hunks, slices of smoked duck breast, redlof and a sweet sticky bar of morcilla, say, or the sticky prune puree with the roast pork, little lily pads of mustard and gently braised turnips.

Dessert is no slouch, either. In fact it’s the highlight of the meal. Wild and freeze-dried strawberries poke out from an avalanche of buttermilk snow. The careful mess of sour, sweet and bitter is joined by big halves of plump, juicy dark cherries and sweet fresh strawberry sorbet. The whole thing is a stand-to-attention lesson in balance when it comes to sweetness and acidity.

We salute you, Andrew McConnell, and your excellent snacks. Bring on that bar.

Sign up to our monthly food & drink newsletter

First published on . Updated on .

By Myffy Rigby   |  

Cutler and Co details

Address
55–57 Gertrude St

Fitzroy 3065

Telephone 03 9419 4888

Price per person including drinks $101+

Open Tue-Thu & Sat 6-11pm; Fri 12 noon-3pm & 6-11pm

Cutler and Co website

Fitzroy area guide

Restaurants near Cutler and Co

Supernormal Canteen

9m - Gertrude Street has officially become the hottest place to take your...

Sonido

50m - Nothing says power breakfast like a Colombian hot pocket. Arepas are disks...

Sparrow's Philly Cheesesteaks

97m - The Philly Cheesesteak – Philadelphia’s gooey gift to mankind in the...

Bars & pubs near Cutler and Co

Economic Industries

16m - Having secured his reputation as one of Melbourne's most influential chefs,...

The Catfish

97m - We can’t lie. We’re usually sucked in here by the meaty, cheesy allure...

The Wilde

417m - The venue formerly known as Rue de Fleurus reborn as an ode to the great...

Other venues near Cutler and Co

Cottage Industry

45m - It’s winter, and Cottage Industry makes us feel all warm inside. Channel...

Little Salon

56m - If you've run out of gift ideas then head to Little Salon, stocked with cute...

Saint Cloud

61m - Saint Cloud delightfully brings together fashion and bicycle culture in a...

Readers' comments, reviews, hints and pictures

Community guidelines

blog comments powered by Disqus
 


© 2007 - 2014 Time Out Group Ltd. All rights reserved. All material on this site is © Time Out.