Cumulus Inc.

45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD
Phone: 9650 1445

Next in the series of posts known as “Melbourne institutions which I have shamefully only recently visited”, we have Cumulus Inc. Open for about two years now, Andrew McConnell’s ‘casual fine dining’ offering is still always busy, and with good reason, I recently found out. The atmosphere is usually buzzing – especially on a Friday night – and the food is pretty great!

When I say recently, I mean about two months ago, by the way. Which I mention in way of explaining why my recollection of the food that evening is a little patchy. Still, seeing as it’s such a highlight of Melbourne’s restaurant scene, it should be memorable, right? Well, we’ll see about that.

I was there with @jeroxie and a group of friends, who had all been to Cumulus before. Happy to go along for the ride, I deferred to their experience when ordering. We started with smoked eel with parsnip (or was it potato? nashi? anyone’s guess). This wasn’t particularly memorable, as you can see.

It’s always hard to go past a soft-shelled crab, and so we didn’t. This was quite good – the only problem with Cumulus’ soft-shelled crab is that it’s one of those ‘designed to share’ things. Given the choice, I wouldn’t share this with anyone!
We then had a (Broad bean? Artichoke?) soup with blue swimmer crab. I wasn’t a huge fan. It was rather bland, although there was a nice big chunk of crab meat in the bottom of the tumbler.
Then there was some cured meat. Kurobota Lomo I think. I’m gonna be honest here, and admit that these thinly sliced cured meats – the bresaola, the prosciutto, the lomo – don’t really do it for me. Yes, they’re tasty, but do I really need to be eating them on their own? I’m willing to be convinced, but it hasn’t happened yet.
In the spirit of eating the gratuitous, we followed that up with fois gras parfait, served with brioche toast. The little candied cumquats (cumquats? I think they were cumquats) were a nice sweet foil to the richness of the parfait. We were really annoying and asked for more brioche toast. The staff were most accommodating.
At this point, the multiple glasses of wine were starting to kick in. The next dish to arrive were clams of some description. I remember them being good, but I can’t remember exactly why. The value of this blog post is becoming exponentially smaller.
Thankfully, we’re almost there! Next up was a slow-roasted shoulder of lamb. The meat was meltingly tender, and lip-smackingly laced with the collagen which had broken down, releasing the flesh from the bone.
This was paired with a cracked wheat and freekeh salad. I had never heard of freekeh, and just assumed it was some sort of herb or spice. Turns out, it’s another grain. Or maybe I read the menu wrong, because it sounds like freekeh is cracked wheat…

Anyway, onto desserts! Wait, I really don’t remember what was going on here, apart from the part where I put too much rum on the rum baba… so maybe I’ll just leave it there.

In any case, a good night was had by all. Cumulus tends to get a bit crowded and then raucous, so it’s a place I suggest you go to enjoy good times with friends. Perhaps not so much a place to hit up for a date on the weekend. Though I’ve been told it’s a bit more sedate during the week.

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