by James Ridenour
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Cutler & Co

Every once in a while there is a sublime moment in your life when everything comes together and you are at one with the universe.  Cutler & Co is the dining equivalent of this.

Located on Über trendy Gertrude Street, Fiztroy Cutler & Co is without a doubt one of the best dining experiences you can have in Australia.  What is so remarkable is that every detail of the restaurant is so well designed the gastronomic experience is enhanced by the decor of the dining room and the sublime service on offer.

During dinner I had the pleasure of  chatting with General Manager Pippa James and I was amazed to hear about how much she loves working in the dining room.  Restaurant designer Pascale Gomes-McNabb has completed a thoughtful and workable fit out in a way that most designers fail to achieve.  The design has kept utility as a paramount consideration.  Pippa happily told me of the space efficiency in the wine cellar enabling the restaurant to store a large quantity of wine with sacrificing valuable floor space.  Even the waiters stations have been designed with the user in mind, fully plumbed to reduce unneeded steps to the kitchen.  I particularly love the automatic sliding glass door into the facilities and I also compliment the restaurant on the  use of luxury Aesop toiletries.  Ultimately though the designer has created a space with reverence to the building’s original use as a metal factory, which is alluded to with the lighting, flooring and wall treatment.

Owner Andrew McConnell is one of Australia’s most inventive and passionate chefs.  The man simply is a culinary genius.  In most restaurants vegetables are an accompaniment offered as an add on to your main course and usually suggested by the server as a way to round out your meal.  Andrew puts so much thought and attention into his vegetables that they in may ways overshadow the meats.  That noted, meat eaters should not be deterred.  Our meal started with a steak tartare, smoked hens egg, pickled pine mushrooms and artichokes all crowned with a forest of greens.  Followed by Golden chicken broth, Rottnest Island scallop, abalone & mushroom. Next was WA marron, cauliflower with a shellfish vinaigrette and mace.  Next we had what I consider to be one of the best dishes in Melbourne, Cutler & Co’s smoked and fried duck with morcilla and gingerbread, I dream about this dish!  For dessert we savoured the incredible combination of Earl Grey ice cream, chocolate, Pedro Ximenez prunes and honey.

I must commend Cutler & Co’s suppliers as it is clear that there is an incredible amount of care and attention that goes into the produce for the restaurant.  Andrew is on a first name basis with over 50 different suppliers in order to be able to offer his guests such a magnificent menu.

Cutler & Co is located at 55-57 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy and can be contacted on 03 9419 4888

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