45 Flinders Ln
Ph : (03) 9650 1445
Cumulus is in a large open warehouse like space with an almost deceptively casual décor. I say ‘deceptively’ because once you sit down and look around, you realise that it’s actually quite a beautiful space with an understated style. With a mix of tables, a front bar and a long rear bar which frames the kitchen, I sat at the latter, and was pleasantly surprised to find bag hooks underneath the bar. A small thing to some, perhaps, but it would be nice of it was the norm rather than the exception.
Dining solo, and with a desire to eat as much as I could on this first visit (and rare visit to Melbourne), I decided, with consultation, on three courses that I thought I could manage. I was offered the choice of having a half-size of the main, but a communication breakdown at some point during the discussions meant that I ended up receiving a full-sized version. Which I finished.
Before that, however, was the complimentary bread and butter, served in a small cast iron 'tray'. The bread turned out to be useful for my first course, foie gras parfait with toasted brioche ($17).
Fortunately, parfaits are light, or I’d have felt, by the end, that I wasn’t going to manage the three courses. I'm not sure how much foie gras was actually in it, but nontheless, it was airy with a strong gutsy flavour, definitely rich enough to share. The bread supplied wasn’t enough, so I used the complimentary bread with it as well.
My next course was, as I’ve noted, the full size rather than the half size that I thought that we’d ended up agreeing on, but no matter, as I did manage to finish it (though it’s a good size for sharing), it was a joy to eat, and a dish I’d love to eat again and again.
Tuna Tartare with crushed green pea salad ($32)
A simple beautiful dish, with cubes of sashimi, smashed peas combined with a good hit of mint, spring onion and what turned out to be goat’s curd. It was so mild that I thought it was a form of yoghurt. The tuna was topped off with garlic chive flowers and pea shoots.
This was a corker of a main that was just a pleasure to eat; the fish superbly fresh and in good-sized pieces, vinegar and lemon for tartness and citrus, the classic pea and mint combination adding texture and lightness. A wonderfully bright, refreshing summery dish perfect for a muggy hot Melbourne evening.
After finishing this, I was starting to wonder whether I could fit in dessert, but the word ‘malt’ drew me in.
Malt parfait, spelt crumbs, soft chocolate, passionfruit ($17)
The dish was put together in front of me, one of the advantages of being seated at the kitchen bar. A bar of malt parfait with spelt crumbs topped with soft chocolate mousse and a tart hit of passionfruit, the chocolate was sweet and creamy but not too rich, the parfait crunchy (though I’d have liked it with a bigger hit of malt taste), and the passionfruit quite tart and best eaten mixed with the other elements of the dessert.
A not inexpensive dinner, my evening at Cumulus was, looking back, an overall experience which was worth it. The service was warm and professional, the food a pleasurable experience to see and eat, and the bar seating comfortable as I watched the very quiet hum of the kitchen. It was a relatively quiet night that evening, and for me at least, it made for a better meal than if it had been at capacity.
Would I like to return? Yes.