Friday, 25 May 2012

Cumulus Inc.

45 Flinders Ln
Melbourne, VIC

Cumulus Inc.

I am in my happy place. The end of a long week, my three favourite people in the world, and the promise of an excellent dinner at Cumulus Inc.

A no bookings policy and mega popularity saw us arriving at 5:30 on a Friday afternoon, just beating the after-work crowd. By 6, the airy yet cosy hall had conversation bouncing off the walls, and we practically had to shout to be heard over the hubbub. 

With a menu that is centred on sharing, we ordered a whole lamb shoulder, as well as 5 other side dishes, under the gentle guidance of our helpful waiter. We skipped on the $860 bottle of champagne though.


BREAD!!!! Two different types of wheaty deliciousness were stacked into an adorable little cast iron pan. One is fluffy and brioche-like, and the other is a moist and chewy seed-studded loaf. And extra butter too! These people read my mind!

Grilled Octopus, Paprika and Basil ($10)

A small dish of Grilled Octopus, Paprika and Basil ($10) was an excellent wake-up call to our tastebuds. Chewy little morsels of octopus with just a hint of smoky paprika, anointed with a daub of lemony mayonnaise, left us hungry for more. 

Tuna Tartare with Crushed Green Pea Salad ($32)

Tuna Tartare with Crushed Green Pea Salad ($32)

The Tuna Tartare with Crushed Green Pea Salad ($32) was a stunning plate, both visually and flavour-wise. What first appeared to be a simple dish revealed surprising complexity upon closer inspection. The cubes of tuna, so fresh and natural it could have been swimming fifteen minutes ago, was infused with a deliciously peppery marinade. The vibrant bed of crushed peas, mint, and goats curd had a delicate sweetness that paired flawlessly with the savoury tuna. A dish full of the fresh flavours of ocean and land.

Wagyu Bresaola ($19 for 40g) - Photo Courtesy of K

Wagyu Bresaola ($19 for 40g)

I was not prepared for this. I was not prepared for the Wagyu Bresaola ($19 for 40g) to completely blow my mind. The sensual softness of the gauze-thin slices of wagyu, wrapped around the crunch of an artichoke chip and enlivened by the grassiness of the lamb sorrel leaf, was an intense mouthful of umami meatiness and perfection. This is a morsel that invades every one of your senses as the marbled beef melts on the tongue, begging to be slowly savoured, but in reality would prove to last little longer than the time it takes to chew, swallow, and sigh.   

Whole Roast Lamb Shoulder ($69)

Lemon and Pickled Red Onion
Whole Roast Lamb Shoulder ($69)
The piece de resistance, a Whole Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder ($69) made its way onto our table with a big knife, a pair of tongs, and a bowl of lemon cheeks and pickled red onion. Slow roasted at 88 degrees for 8 hours, before being crisped by a quick trip into a 250 degree oven, this huge chunk of lamb sitting in its own juices practically pulled itself apart. Rich but not too rich, gamey but not too gamey, this perfectly cooked piece of meat could only have been improved by some garlic sauce on the side.

Cracked Wheat and Freekeh Salad, Preserved Lemon, Barberries ($12)

Spiced Cauliflower with Goats Curd ($15) - Photo Courtesy of K

We ordered two salads – Spiced Cauliflower with Goats Curd ($15) and Cracked Wheat with Freekeh Salad, Preserved Lemon, Barberries ($12) – to have with our lamb shoulder. These two seemingly heavy side dishes were actually the ideal accompaniment to the lamb. The cauliflower florets were charred and spicy, with the pomegranate seeds adding a fruity pop to every mouthful. The grain salad was a textural adventure, with little grains that rolled around your mouth along with the brittle roasted almonds. A squeeze of lemon and a dollop of goats curd gave the salad its lightness.

A feast. 

The food at Cumulus Inc. is absolutely amazing; what wasn’t mind-blowing was highly enjoyable, and what wasn’t highly enjoyable wouldn’t have made it within 5 miles of the kitchen. Staff were similarly charming and agreeable, never rushing us despite the large queue at the door all night. Cumulus Inc. has indeed reached heights as lofty as its name.

Rating: 17/20 – cloud nine


  1. Wow, this looks amazing! I would love to try this one day. I've seen this place on the Blogsphere way too often, but glad you were seated early!

    1. It IS a very popular restaurant and for good reason; bring a couple friends with you so you can try more stuff! :D

  2. Replies
    1. Have you visited before? The food is quite amazing :)