Cutler & Co
57 Gertrude Street
I have a soft spot for Cutler & Co. I’ve always had very fond memories of my first tasting menu experience here. Beyond the stark neon blue lights, It’s dark, sleek and mysterious. I find myself lured by the tasting menu each and every time. At $140, it offers a delicate and delightful adventure, both visually and on your palate, through a careful selection off its carte menu. This time, I steadfastly avoided eye contact with it, and opted to create my own degustation.
The Irish Soda bread sounded intriguing but was forgettable compared to the half-conical Sour Dough bread which was beautifully crusty and warm on the outside, and fluffily soft on the inside, perfect with the creamy butter. I had two of these babies.
A crisp, with tiny dollops of bean puree.
Cured Kingfish, Avocado, Pickled Cucumber & Bonito Dressing ($26)
Fresh cold crisp fish bites, with sour pickled cucumber, creamy avocado dollops and crispy cracker bits.
Hand Picked Spanner Crab, Corn Custard, Pickled Ginger & Nasturtium ($29)
There seems to be a standout at each of Andrew McConnell’s ventures. The spanner crab toast at Cumulus, the Angus tartare with kimchi and the Lobster roll at Golden Fields. I fall in love with C&C’s spanner crab dish each time. I distinctly recall a spanner crab and sweet corn soup which I adored.
True to my recollection, this was no different. The cold dish was a clear favourite of the night - the spanner crab morsels were divine, so sweet and fresh, the corn custard invades your senses with its creamy texture and it’s sweet and salty at the same time, tiny specks of garlic bits, thin slivers of sweet radish, an assortment of mushrooms, hints of ginger in every bite and little broth gelee drops. The plate was visually stunning to behold, and each bite was a true pleasure, carefully tasting and discerning each component.
Raw Hervey Bay Scallops, Chilled Pea and Sorrel Soup & Avruga ($28)
Another dreamy dish, the raw scallop slivers were gorgeously fresh and sweet, but visually outshone by the exquisite cold pea and sorrel soup - creamy with mint undertones, trails of avruga give a little pop and finished off with delicate blossoms.
Smoked & Fried Duck, Morcilla, Golden Raisin & Beetroot ($27)
The smoked component of the duo was a clean slice with a tinge of pink. The fried duck was truly superb. The crustiest savoury coating with a plump layer of fat concealing a juicy tender duck morsel, complemented beautifully by the sweet grape slivers and earthy beetroots and those delectable sweet sticky shards. The morcilla bite, blood sausage or familiarly known as black pudding, was quite pleasant with onions.
Pan Roasted Snapper, Mussels, Cuttlefish & Green Tomatoes ($44)
The golden snapper fillets, mussels and cuttlefish slivers were fresh and sweet. I found the pickled onions a little strong for my liking.
Grass Fed Beef Strip Loin, Braised Short Rib, Cauliflower & Onion ($46)
I started on the rib first, then the loin second, and in comparison the loin was noticeably rougher despite being beautifully pink and plump. I noticed the toughness the leanness of the cut. The cauliflower puree was deliciously smooth creamy yet light, paired wonderfully with the caramelised onions. I stopped for a while and nursed my drink, hoping it would improve over time. I cut smaller bites and could appreciate the juiciness of the cut and noticed the smoky sear on the bottom.
Similar to the duo of duck, I favoured the braised short rib over the strip loin. To blame for my initial lack of enjoyment of the strip loin, I couldn’t help but shake my head in disbelief and emit ridiculously explicit sounds of pleasure at this stickily sweet cut comprising tender strips of juicy beef intertwined with delicate little fatty strips which only added to the lusciousness of each bite.
Wood Fried Zucchini & Garlic ($10)
The zucchini slices were sweet with a mild dressing.
The clear winners of the night were the spanner crab & corn custard, that luscious braised short rib and the fried component of the duo of duck. Cutler & Co specialises in food I adore, it’s visually stunning and the components are delicate yet purposeful. And the desserts are spectacular. I recall my initial apprehension at the inclusion of a sheep’s yoghurt component in their sweet treats but have since learnt that there’s nothing I love more than a dark horse.