It's just the vibe
Okay. I admit it. I'm a bad blogger.
It's been a long time between when I ate at Cutler & Co. and here I am attempting to write something about it. That's not supposed to be the way it goes, and some (and I'm often among them) that would say it is manifestly unfair to write a review of a restaurant so long after eating there. And it is unfair to a point, it's certainly unfair to the chef to critisize food that was devoured months beforehand, with many many meals tucked under the belt between now and then.
So where does that leave me? Well I thought long and hard about this, and figured that I actually could write something meaningful. It might be a stretch, but bear with me here. I'm going to write about the parts of a restaurant that are left with you months later; what sticks in my mind after such a long time? What do I remember thinking at the time? What do I remember discussing with Sarah on the tram home? Because really, that's all a restaurant can really do to excel, to stick in your mind even after eating at dozens of other places, it's the vibe.
I have to further to qualify this post by suggesting that this sort of write would not be appropriate for every restaurant. Obviously my local Indian joint isn't going to leave a lasting impression, but when a venue has the reputation that Cutler & Co. does I think it's justified. We ended up at Cutler & Co. for our wedding anniversary, and it had recently been awarded the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant of the Year (2011). Surely then, if any dinner was going to stay in my thoughts, it would be this one.
I couldn't fault the food, and even if I could it wouldn't be fair to talk about it now, but Cutler & Co. isn't perfect. The menu was quite short, and we didn't end up doing the degustation because there was simply no need, there were only 4 or 5 dishes Sarah and I were particularly interested in so we just ordered those a la carte. I remember there being a fair percentage of hipsters, both serving and wandering past outside, but I guess that's par for the course in Fitzroy. I remember the service being efficient and helpful. And I remember the wine and cocktail list being good.
What stuck with me most, however, was the conversation Sarah and I had on the way home. We had just had an excellent meal, at an award winning restaurant, and yet it didn't blow us away in the way some other places have done. We mused how lucky we are to live somewhere that has so many top class restaurants, that Cutler & Co. doesn't make our top five. This is not to tear down Cutler, but more to applaud the Melbourne restaurant scene in general.
Then our train of thought was derailed by a group of guys with bad haircuts, thick glasses, and skinny jeans.
And that's what I remember of Cutler & Co.