Lately, I’ve been going to a lot popular eateries and getting used to waiting in line. So when Winnie suggested that we meet up for dinner at Cumulus Inc, one of the most hyped restaurants in Melbourne, we decided to go there nice and early to secure ourselves a prime eating position.
At 5:30pm on a Tuesday evening, Cumulus Inc was not yet full with customers. I was somewhat expecting a queue already or at least a slight wait for a table of 4 but thank goodness. It seems to be a norm these days for such restaurants to not accept bookings. This is good for people who can make it nice and early but bad for those who can’t get off work until peak dining hours. One member of our party couldn’t get there until 6:30pm and by then, people were standing around in the corners of the restaurant or just eating on the bar counter. Half of me felt bad that we weren’t ordering food even though we had been there for almost an hour, half of me was rejoicing that we weren’t the ones waiting for a table. I know, I’m quite evil when it comes to that.
Winnie pointed out that the kitchen at Cumulus is actually quite small. We believe this could be due to the small menu on offer. There were only 3 main hot dishes – we ordered 2 of them – and most of the other dishes are charcuterie which don’t require cooking.
There was a nice but reasonably small bar on one side of the room as well.
Yuye ordered a beer while I ordered a cocktail – the Flying Peach ($18.50) with Aviation gin, Luxardo Maraschino, fresh lemon, peach bitters and cherries. I was expecting a fruitier hit but it was quite a strong drink with not that much peach flavour. Wasn’t my kind of drink but some people might like it.
The free bread was soft, aromatic and quite tasty. There were two types – multigrain and white, both were good but I liked the multigrain more. We actually had extra servings of bread, in fact, we had about 3-4 servings. That’s a lot of bread!
As we were getting hungry waiting for our last guest to arrive, we decided to order the wagyu bresaola (40g) with truffle cream and artichoke for $19. What we got were very thin delicate pieces of perfectly salty and fatty wagyu that almost melted in my mouth. They were so well with the truffle cream and the crunchy little bits of artichoke. Taste, texture and appearance were all there. I just wished there was a bit more of that delicious truffle cream because the bottom pieces didn’t really get any.
Eugene finally arrived and we ordered the rest of our dishes. The first to make it to the table was another entree from the charcuterie menu – the foie gras parfait with toasted brioche ($17). To be honest, I’ve had better versions of this dish. The foie gras wasn’t all that fatty, it was more like a less fatty version of a Pâté
. The brioche was very crunchy but there wasn’t enough of it, we ended up putting the foie gras on the free bread.
The dish that we all agreed on and was highly recommended by the waitress who served us was the whole slow roast lamb shoulder to share – $69. It was indeed spectacularly good. It wasn’t as big as I expected when it arrived on the table but by the time we were done with it, we were all quite content and full. The lamb could have been a little more seasoned, but it was so tender and tasty all it needed was a little bit of extra salt really.
The lamb came with a bowl of seasoned lemony onions which went very well with the lamb. I could have done with a bit more onion though as the last bit of meat went without any. It gives the meat a slightly more refreshing feel and gives it a good crunch as well.
Since there were only 3 mains to choose from, we opted for the roasted Aylesbury duck breast, toasted grains, lentils & quince for $36. I was expecting a slightly larger duck portion for the price, but it really wasn’t that big at all. There were only 5 pieces of duck, although the duck was perfectly cooked and tasted lovely. Very tender and juicy, the dish just needed a little more sauce to go with it all.
We loved the crunchy grains that sort of made it taste like ‘bird food’. If birds ate this kind of food all day, I wouldn’t mind turning into a bird myself.
The last dish we ordered was the spiced eggplant, sheep’s milk yoghurt and pomegranate for $16. I had wanted to order the spiced cauliflower that I’ve so much about on other blog posts but the menu had changed to cater for seasonal produce. I quite enjoyed the tanginess of the dish and its perfect combination of flavours and textures. The eggplant was a bit too mushy so I thought maybe I’d have liked the cauliflower a bit more.
We didn’t end there. We couldn’t possibly have left without trying the desserts and coffees. We ordered 2 lattes, 1 cappuccino and 1 soy latte between us but the coffee wasn’t as strong as I wanted. Eugene was telling me that coffees are better in the morning when the place opens a fresh bag of beans because as the day goes on, the coffee aroma disappears bit after bit. This makes me not want to order coffee after dinner anymore!
To go with the coffees, we got 2 madeleines, one to share between Yuye and myself and one for Winnie and Eugene. They were regularly sized madeleines for $2.50 each and they came with creamy lemon curd. It was simple and delicious, but it had a 15 minute wait which meant we had finished our coffees already!
We ordered the apple sorbet, burnt butter custard & almond for $16 which also came after the coffees. This dish was very light, refreshing and quite tasty. The zing from the apple sorbet went beautifully with the burnt butter custard (although it wasn’t all that burnt I thought) and there was enough crunchy elements on the dish to keep me happy. I had to chow my portion of this dessert down very quickly to make way for the rum baba.
It was such a gorgeous dessert too don’t you agree?
The rum baba is a classic French dessert that has been passed down for generations. It’s essentially a yeast cake soaked in rum. What I loved the most about this dessert was the fact that a waitress handed me a WHOLE bottle of rum. She suggested that 2 teaspoons is a good start and if we loved rum, we could add as much as we wanted. I’ve ordered many liquor infused desserts before but never have I been handed a near full bottle of rum! I wonder if Cumulus Inc has ever had people who misused the bottle?
We added a bit more than 2 teaspoons in the end which made the cake quite alcoholic and oh so beautiful. The cake was moist, sweet and went down very well. We were all so full by the end of this dessert though that I struggled to finish the last bite.
Dinner for the four of us including wines and drinks came to $261 which is $65 per person. Not too bad considering we ordered so many different dishes, but of course not so cheap that I could do this every day. Apart from a few small factors such as a slightly small portion of the duck dish and not as good coffees, we enjoyed the evening and the dishes that we had ordered.
If you’re planning to pay them a visit, I suggest going very early (before 6pm) or after the dinner rush as they only do bookings for groups of 7 – 14.
Phone: (03) 9650 1445
45 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000