Posts tagged ‘contemporary’

April 14, 2011

Cumulus Inc, Melbourne

by minibites

Cumulus Inc

It’s the only time that I have appreciated a no bookings policy, meaning that we could rock up nice and early to grab a seat along the marble bar to watch young chefs in action. Andrew McConnell’s slightly more casual diner, Cumulus Inc. Cumulus Inc brings fresh dishes which are a little less experimental than Cutler & Co, but still keeping it sexy and interesting. It’s an open room with high ceilings, gorgeous windows looking out to the alleyway and most importantly, an open kitchen and beautiful white marble bar.

Cumulus Inc

Cumulus IncMoonlight en surface rock oysters

Cumulus Inc Slow cooked octopus with aioli, dehydrated olive

Cumulus Inc

There’s delicious warm bread that arrives in a small pan to keep us occupied. The work station of the chef who prepares our dishes happens to be right in front of us, and casually serve our entrees; freshly shucked rock oysters and an intriguing and vibrant dish of slow cooked octopus. The oysters were oysters, but the octopus were amazingly interesting with the unexpected firey pow wow! A definite try to kick start the taste buds.

Cumulus Inc Seared scallops, fresh bacon, pearl barley & sorrel

Next along the agenda was a gorgeous dish of seared scallops and generous tender confit duck leg. The scallops are slightly seared on a bed of pearl barley and bright green pureed sorrel with cubes of fatty bacon.  One of the most ingenious marriage ever: bacon and scallops, and my favourite dish of the night.

Cumulus Inc Aylesbury duck, confit leg, roast breast, plum sauce and spiced turnips

The confit duck is tender and falls off the bone and well balanced with sweet plum sauce and slightly spiced baby turnips. If no one was looking, I would have picked up the duck leg and nibbled through…

Cumulus IncChoc-chip and black olive semifreddo with strawberries

Cumulus Inc

Lemon curd madeleine

The dessert menu is of the obscure kind, but if you’re thinking of dining at Cumulus Inc, your mindset should already be out of the box. Our first sweet delight is a choc-chip and black olive semifreddo; a slather of black olive tapande added a touch of bold flavour to a seemingly simple and stone cold semifreddo. And to finish off the meal and to cleanse the palate; a piping hot, light lemon curd madeleine. Delish!

Cumulus Inc
45 Flinders Lane
Melbourne
www.cumulusinc.com.au

Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon

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March 23, 2011

March into Merivale’s Abracadabra Lunch by Dan Hong

by minibites

Abracadabra! Dan Hong kicks start my Saturday morning with a 5 course lunch degustation for his contribution to March in Merivale. Lotus was decked out with card houses, silver stars, magic wands and rabbits in hats. Also complete with quick hands magician, Liam Power who wows and woos the crowd. He came around table by table showing us card tricks and coin tricks. So amazed. I think I still am.

Belverdere Flaming Moe

To kick start the lunch, it’s a liquid meal called the Flaming Moe, Belverdere grapefruit vodka shaken with nashi pear and Cinzano Bianco; an Italian brand of vermouth, of the sweeter kind. We’re wow’d because the waiter brings you a cocktail on arrival and the garnish is a flaming orange peel. In a poof of smoke, the peel disappears… into thin air. And all you smell is the amazing citrus aftermath. And still wondering where it’d all go.

Sashimi of sea scallops, foie gras, avruga, hazelnut oil

First up was were sashimi of sea scallops topped with foie gras, avruga caviar and surrounded by hazelnut oil. I’ve never dared to try raw sea scallops so I admit that I was slightly unsure by how I’d react. But with a complete bite with everything, it works. The simplicity and rawness of the scallops was balanced with the pungent foie gras, bursts of avruga (a caviar made from herring), sweet hazelnut oil and the crunchiness of the apple. A very interesting opening dish.

Spanner crab, dashi custard, asparagus, ginger consomme

Moving along was my favourite dish of the afternoon, as well as my fellow foodie companions’ pick. It had an amazing mix of flavours; a wobbly dashi custard topped with slices of spanner crab, sprinkled asparagus and spring onions sitting in a ginger consomme. The ginger consomme was subtle enough to mix well with the dashi custard. Delicious!

Pork belly, almond gazpacho, watermelon, chicharron

And it seems that no degustation is fulfilled without a pork belly dish. Dan Hong serves up crispy, caramelised pork belly that sits on cold almond gazpacho and watermelon spheres topped with crispy chicharron, made from pig’s skin that is dried, fried and puffed. Not a huge fan of chicharron, but definitely adds an interesting texture.

Rangers Valley wagyu, spiced beetroot & white fungi

The last of the savouries was a generous portion of seared wagyu beef with wedges of spiced beetroot, beetroot puree and white fungi. White fungi isn’t commonly used in Western dishes, but definitely seen in the sweeter Asian dishes. I particularly enjoyed how instead of a potato mash, this was served with good ol’ bright red beets and a contrast of white fungi.

Lime creme, chocolate & vanilla meringue, coconut sorbet

Dessert rolled along and presented in a gorgeous arch of textures, flavours and surprises. There was a fluorescent lime creme base with light chocolate and vanilla meringue pieces, crunchy cookie crumble, a scoop of super cold coconut sorbet and hidden amongst it all… popping candy! The end of our lunchtime conversations were interrupted by random burst of crackles and pops.

Petit fours

And just before we left, some complementary petit fours; wobbly peach jelly cubes, very moist chocolate brownie triangles and fluffy cloud tasting tonka bean marshmallow cubes. Tada!

Most of these dishes are on the daily Lotus menu, so it’s not too late to go and have a taste.

Abracadabra event was apart of March into Merivale 2011.

Lotus
22 Challis Ave
Potts Point, Sydney
www.merivale.com/#/lotus/lotus

Lotus on Urbanspoon