Monday, October 28, 2013

Cumulus Inc. is Worth the Wait

Although it's one of Melbourne's hottest spots, Charlie and I took our chances and showed up to Cumulus Inc. at around 6:45 last Friday night. I'd read warnings that a no bookings policy leads to hours of waiting, but we were met with a delay of just one hour and 15 minutes. We popped down to Cherry on ACDC lane for a drink or two, and our spot at Cumulus' kitchen counter was ready in seemingly no time. I generally prefer to sit at an actual table, especially on a special occasion such as this (Charlie's day of birth, bless him,) but here I was happy to watch the kitchen buzz through the night's busy service. 
We each sipped at strong cocktails while we watched a chef in front of us shuck our oysters. Cumulus' oysters are all from Moonlight Flat Oysterage in Batemans Bay, NSW. They offer a selection of a few types, and we chose two each of the Claire de Lune Bouton, The Rusty Wire and Label Rouge. I'm fairly new to oyster eating and can't really wax poetic on the differences between each. I can tell you that there were differences and that each was delightfully briny, but I'll have to work on my oyster language as my future eating the molluscs develops. 

After the oysters, the tuna tartare with fresh green pea salad arrived, pictured above. For me, this was the highlight of the meal. Large cubes of silky, melt-in-mouth, ruby red tuna floated effortlessly above a bed of fresh peas and fluffy creme fraiche. So delicate and simply delicious. I'd go back just for this and a glass of wine. 
We also ordered the broccoli salad with green harissa, black garlic and espelette. As boring as it may appear, it was surprisingly complex and pleasing. Each bite size floret yielded a creamy coating of green harissa when eaten. My first experience with black garlic was a success, as well. I'm allergic to garlic, but somehow, black garlic was A-OK. It has a paste-like texture, and subtle taste of anise. The salad was served cold which came as a bit of a shock, but it accompanied the rest of the meal well.
Finally, the whole slow roast lamb shoulder to share. (My second day of lamb consumption in what would eventually amount to five straight days. Of lamb.) Our waitress warned us that it's huge as we ordered and we're like "please, lady." But in reality, it was too much; we took about a third home. Meat just fell off the bone here and was paired with a squeeze of lemon and marinated red onions. Mostly moist (plenty of juices collected on the plate for dipping if needed,) and very flavorful. It's a vaguely Flintstonesque scene – big meat yo – but totally indulgent. 

In conclusion (my favorite way to sum up any essay back in high school,) Cumulus Inc. is bangin'. I hope I'll be back for brunch. And dinner again. And again. 

Cumulus Inc.: 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, VIC 3000. 9650 1445
Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon

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