I’d had many recommendations to give Cumulus Inc a look so on a gloriously sunny Monday, I donned as bright an outfit as was at my disposal and tootled down the road to their Flinders Lane premises.
I found a buzzing lunchtime service in progress. As a solo diner, I was seated at the kitchen bar which is pretty much my preferred and constant location in Australian restaurants.
The menu and wine list were left with me and daily specials explained by my attentive waitress. It quickly became clear that there were more dishes on the menu that I wanted to try than was practicable, so I chose to let them bring me the chef’s selection which cost $75.
I accompanied things with a Mornington pale ale which was pretty good.
The selection of dishes started with a trio of snacks which comprised a local oyster, some tuna tartare with goat’s curd and crushed peas, and burrata on a cracker with pickled onions. The tuna was absolutely outstanding.
A quartet of medium sized plates followed: a roasted carrot salad with macadamia and sherry; cracked wheat and freekeh salad with preserved lemon; some house charcuterie; and calamari with fried bread, nduja and radish. The squid dish was amongst the best dishes of its type I’ve been served in a good long while.
By contrast, the main course was a slightly pedestrian flank steak with braised cavalo nero, roast potatoes and bitter leaf salad with sherry vinaigrette. I’d had a very similar dish at Bar Liberty a couple of nights previous and the Liberty dish was comfortably better. In particular, the Cumulus roast potatoes were leathery rather than crisp.
Things were rounded out with a first rate strawberries and cream riff that was a lovely fresh and fruity note on which to end.
So overall, one weak dish aside I really enjoyed my lunch at Cumulus Inc. It’s a place with a well-deserved reputation for quality and excellence. I’d recommend a visit next time you are looking for a joyful parade of lunchtime dishes to tantalise your palate.
Blythe scores Cumulus Inc
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 16.5/20
I ate: chef’s selection
I drank: pale ale, water
I wore: all orange
Total bill: $101
Address: Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000