|Moonlight flat oysters at Cutler and Co|
Cutler and Co’s a handsome restaurant the distressed brick walls contrast with the sleek bar and sculptural low hanging lights. But it’s refined dining not stuffy formal dining. There are no linen tablecloths and the place has a nice buzz and energy to it.
|Rice crackers at Cutler and Co|
The menu at Cutler and Co is concise which I like as it saves restaurant indecision. To start, a complimentary amuse bouche of seaweed crackers with tiny dots of eggplant mousse. There’s also really good bread with rich, creamy butter. The simplest of Cutler and Co’s entrées are the Moonlight flat oysters ($4.50 each). They oysters are served unadorned except for a wedge of lemon. Of the selection of oysters my favourites were the small and sweet Moonlight Kisses.
|Roasted barramundi with squid at Cutler and Co|
Cutler and Co is in Andrew McConnell’s stable of restaurants but it is here that head chef Jean-Paul Twomey really gets to show off turning out some refined dishes. The pan roasted wild barramundi ($45) is emblematic of Twomey’s attention to detail. The dish looks fabulous and the fish is perfectly cooked with the flesh flaking apart and the skin crispy. It sits on top of a smear of rich nettle and oyster sauce and the whole dish is topped with curls of springy squid. It’s a ripper of a dish.
|John Dory at Cutler and Co|
The John Dory ($47) didn’t quite reach the same heights as the flavours of the shiitake mushrooms and octopus were somewhat muddied. For dessert I couldn’t help but have the classiest ice cream sandwich ($19) out there. A vanilla parfait is laced with salted caramel and topped with a thin layer of chocolate and then a scoop of glossy and soft chocolate ice cream sandwich.
|Ice cream sandwich at Cutler and Co|
In contrast to the short menu the wine list at Cutler and Co is extensive but prices are in the nosebleed territory. The Babo Sangiovese ($55) was one of the cheaper bottles on the menu but still delivered – it was light while still punchy.
For me, the thing that makes Cutler and Co stand out is the whole experience. From the minute we walked in and asked for a seat until when we left service was impeccable. When you combine that service with the carefully thought out food it makes for a memorable dinner even if it did happen totally on the spur of the moment.
Details: Cutler and Co, 55–57 Gertrude St, Fitzroy 3065 (Ph +61 3 9419 4888)
Damage: Budget breaking. Our bill came to $185 for two with a shared entrée and dessert.