In true Fitzroy character, Cutler & Co is situated in an old metal works factory and illuminated by a neon sign from the outside. Whilst it may appear small from the front, the restaurant itself opens up to a large space and features an open-plan kitchen, with several round tables making it suitable for group dining.
I recently dined at Cutler & Co after being asked to suggest a restaurant for my partner’s relatives who were visiting from overseas. This was their first visit to Melbourne and as they love exploring new cuisines, I was given two requirements – Modern Australian and something a ‘little different’.
Now, I hadn’t been to Cutler & Co before this visit but another of Andrew McConnell’s restaurants, Cumulus Inc., is one of my personal favourites in Melbourne and I have had a fantastic time on each visit, be it for breakfast or dinner. Since Cumulus Inc. does not take reservations unless you have a party of 7 to 14 guests we decided to opt for Cutler & Co.
The focus here is slightly ‘unusual produce’ so whilst this, in addition to the vague menu descriptions might make you feel a bit wary at first, almost all the elements on each of the dishes we had were well balanced and worked incredibly well together. In short, Cutler & Co delivers nothing short of an excellent dining experience in Melbourne and everyone in our party of six (myself included!) left with a smile at the end of the night.
So, what moment sealed the deal? Absolutely the Roasted Suckling Pig – A must order.
The A La Carte menu
House bread with home-made butter and beetroot relish (Complimentary)
Flounder, brown butter, pickled onion
At first glance, I wasn’t quite convinced by the various components of this dish so I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. The flounder was delicious, tender and crispy whilst the pickled onion was not too strong and provided a nice acidity to the dish.
Deviled Crab, Cos Lettuce (One per serve)
This was creamy and delicately seasoned, a great little starter.
Roasted Suckling Pig (1/4 beast for $220, this was just one of the portions)
The Roast Suckling Pig is one of the two ‘sharing’ dishes available and was served with two side dishes – roasted cauliflower and a cos lettuce salad. We were advised that this dish is suitable for 3 people, so we decided to also order two additional mains to share.
With the Suckling Pig, there is a slight waiting period and you have the option of the top or lower half of the pig. (We went with the lower half) Once the dish was ready, it was carved and served on individual plates with some roasted carrots, in addition to the two side dishes. I can’t think of a better superlative than delicious to describe this dish, and everyone was pleased at how juicy the flesh was and the crispiness of the skin. If you go with the A La Carte menu here, the Suckling Pig is a must order.
John Dory, seaweed, grilled octopus, shiitake & eggplant
I loved the Asian-inspired feel to this dish, especially the Shiitake which was intensely flavoured. Every bite of this dish was a mouthful of flavour.
Roasted duck, boudin noir, endive & quince
This was another dish with some interesting flavours and rather eating everything all at once, we all agreed that this was best enjoyed by tasting each element separately. Overall, this was very tasty and I particularly liked the boudin noir (similar to black pudding).
As a pre-curser to dessert we were presented with a medley of pears: pear and elderflower yoghurt, pear sorbet and poached pears. This was light, refreshing and a lovely way to end our main courses.
Apple confit, burnt butter ice cream & salted caramel
I don’t think salted caramel is ever a bad combination so its not surprising that almost all of us ordered this dish! As a standalone, the confit was rather decadent but all the components as a whole worked perfectly together and the salted caramel was divine.
At the end of our desserts, we were all presented with a plate of light, fluffy marshmallows. A fitting way to end the night.
Cutler & Co
55–57 Gertrude St.