Tuna tartare with crushed green pea salad
I need to go back to Melbourne. Working there for three days last week was but a tease, and though I managed to stuff myself full of dumplings, noodles, pastries, chilli, hot dogs, cupcakes, Malaysian and my Mexican cousin (yes, I ate my Mexican cousin, but no I don’t have one. Go figure.), the short trip has whetted in me an appetite for more things Melburnian, like more awesome stuff from Burch & Purchese, for example.
Amongst all the deliciousness, there was one unanimous winner (as voted by me, and my multiple personalities). Cumulus Inc., recommended to me by one of the very few people I blindly trust, was stellar.
Fresh off the press with one hat from 2013’s Good Food Guide, I couldn’t recommend Cumulus Inc. more. They take reservations for groups of seven or more, but honestly? It’s worth the wait. My friend Leon and I arrived at about 7pm on a Friday night, ordered a drink and waited about 40 minutes. Not really that long, when you’re having a great time analysing the crowd and making up stories about who’s with who and who does what. I mean, everyone does that, right? Right…
We were eventually seated at the “bar” bar, which is not as good as the “kitchen” bar, but much better than say, a table shared with four strangers. The menu is small and interesting and full of sharing dishes. We shared:
Grilled octopus, smoked paprika & basil
Fried soft shelled crab & school prawns, kimchi, lettuce, kewpie
Wagyu bresaola with fried onion & cream parmesan
Brussel sprouts in butter, bacon & parmesan
The absolute highlight of the night is way up top, the tuna tartare with crushed green pea salad. How something so seemingly simple can be so mind-blowing I don’t really know. I wanted the dish for the tuna tartare, but what rocked my socks was the bed of peas (peas!) it came on. Peas, mint and crème fraîche. When we got down to the last piece of soft, buttery tuna, I offered it to Leon in exchange for the peas. I mean, seriously.
All of the other dishes are amazing too. The fried soft shelled crab, though mixed with an abundance of prawns, was still delicious, paired with blended kimchi and kewpie mayonnaise. Life is always better with kewpie
The Wagyu bresaola melted in my mouth and the brussel sprouts. AHHHH. Love.
Apple sorbet, burnt butter custard & almond biscuit
Being impressed didn’t end there. I ordered the apple sorbet, burnt butter custard & almond biscuit for dessert, 100% for the “burnt butter caramel” part. But oh my god, that apple sorbet! And cooked apple bits! Again, it’s the simplicity of it that amazes me. There doesn’t seem like there’s anything to it but it just Tastes. So. Damn. Good. I mean, what burnt butter caramel and almond biscuit?
Anyway, this dinner at Cumulus Inc. was the highlight of my trip, my week, my month maybe. I’ll compile all my other Melbourne eating into an instagram recap. Be warned though, you might gain a kilo or two just from looking at it.
45 Flinders Lane
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
(03) 9650 1445