Where Melbourne - - Dining Reviews - BY PETER MCBREARTY

FOR SOME TIME now Mel­bourne’s Flin­ders Lane has been evolv­ing into a dis­tinct din­ing strip with an ever-ex­pand­ing range of venues, in­clud­ing a number of local favourites. One of the best known of these restau­rants is An­drew Mc­connell’s Cu­mu­lus Inc. which since its in­cep­tion has been con­sis­tently pop­u­lar with din­ers drawn by its rep­u­ta­tion for top notch all day din­ing. However, those in the know are al­ready well aware that perched above Cu­mu­lus Inc. is an­other of An­drew Mc­connell’s in­trigu­ing din­ing des­ti­na­tions, Cu­mu­lus Up.

While their names may be sim­i­lar, Cu­mu­lus Up def­i­nitely has its own very dis­tinct iden­tity, and ac­cord­ingly the same pa­tron who has en­joyed break­fast or lunch down­stairs is equally likely to be sighted later the same day com­fort­ably en­sconced in Cu­mu­lus Up, wine glass in hand, dis­play­ing a vis­i­ble sense of an­tic­i­pa­tion as they pe­ruse the menu. The loft like space man­ages to be at once mod­ern and yet at the same time also warm and wel­com­ing, with ex­posed bricks, wooden and mar­ble ta­bles and gen­tle light­ing em­a­nat­ing from round hang­ing globes adding to the al­most in­ti­mate air of a hid­den eyrie. The clien­tele is of­ten al­most as eclec­tic and po­ten­tially as en­ter­tain­ing as the menu it­self, which only adds to the ap­peal.

A visit to Cu­mu­lus Up would not be com­plete with­out sam­pling the justly pop­u­lar (and vaguely deca­dent) duck waf­fle with foie gras and prune, while Bruny Is­land blue mus­sels are served with broad beans and pick­led sweet gar­lic. Even those nor­mally wary of beef tartare may find they are tempted by Cu­mu­lus Up’s coarsely chopped beef tartare, tar­ragon and fried an­chovy pro­vid­ing a de­li­cious take on this classic dish. Fresh heir­loom beet­root is served with house made curd and dill, and smoked eel cream and cecina ac­com­pany Jerusalem ar­ti­chokes. Larger dishes in­clude John Dory with sprout­ing broc­coli, nduja and Pil Pil, or a suc­cu­lent brined and grilled pork chop with baked cab­bage and wal­nut. Side dishes may con­sist of spring greens and ground net­tles, red coral let­tuce with orange dress­ing and, of course, the essential for meat dishes—shoe­string French fries. For those in search of an ex­cel­lent steak, a sub­stan­tial (400g) O’con­nor Porter­house def­i­nitely fits the bill—that’s as­sum­ing they are able to re­sist the temp­ta­tion of the even larger (600g) Mur­ray Grey Rib Eye. Desserts such as the blood orange sor­bet with burnt honey and ver­mouth, the nut­meg tart and the choco­late ice cream, cumquat jam and salted caramel pro­vide a per­fect ex­cuse for in­dulging in an ac­com­pa­ny­ing dessert wine, as does the se­lec­tion of local and in­ter­na­tional cheeses.

Trying to cat­e­gorise Cu­mu­lus Up as a bar, wine bar, or res­tau­rant is dif­fi­cult, as it ef­fort­lessly meets the re­quire­ments of each, with a com­pre­hen­sive and broad rang­ing wine list, staff well versed in the dark arts of cocktail mixol­ogy, and a menu which lends it­self equally well to casual graz­ing or a full-scale din­ner. This flu­id­ity, along with the invit­ing na­ture of the venue it­self, may go a long way to ex­plain­ing how quickly Cu­mu­lus Up can fill, even early in the week—and ac­cord­ingly reser­va­tions are ad­vis­able.

Cu­mu­lus Up, Sun–thu 5pm–late, Fri–sat 4pm–late. Level 1, 45 Flin­ders Lane, Mel­bourne. 9650 1445. cu­mu­


n DRAC­ULA’S. The­atre Din­ing. Drac­ula’s Cabaret has been en­ter­tain­ing vis­i­tors and lo­cals alike since 1980. Their cur­rent show “Res­ur­rec­tion” blends mu­sic pro­duc­tion acts, op­ti­cal il­lu­sion, an­i­ma­tronic sculp­ture and rock-cir­cus, with a song list that moves across the AM dial from Arc­tic Mon­keys to Blondie. It’s flashy, kitsch hys­te­ria, with no act too au­da­cious and no heel too high. En­joy a three-course meal and then once the show is fin­ished, guests can con­tinue the evening in the cocktail bar as they meet the stars of the show.

100 Vic­to­ria Street, Carl­ton. Tue–sat from 7pm. 1800 DRACULAS or 9340 2600.


n LUCKY CHAN. Chi­nese. Lucky Chan of­fers guests au­then­tic Can­tonese cui­sine, spe­cial­is­ing in sus­tain­ably farmed live seafood, as well as of­fer­ing the choice of à la carte. Sig­na­ture dishes in­clude the sauteed scal­lops and king prawns with im­pe­rial sauce, but you may also be tempted to choose a lobster or large crab from their live seafood tanks. Their won­der­ful food is beautifully com­ple­mented by an ex­ten­sive list of qual­ity Aus­tralian and Ori­en­tal wines.

The River­side at Crown, 8 White­man Street, South­bank. Lunch Mon–fri 11am–3pm, Sat–sun 11am–4pm, din­ner Sun–thu 6pm–11pm, Fri–sat 6pm–12am. 9696 3966. luck­y­


Saké serves a renowned mix of mod­ern and classic dishes with a dis­tinct local flavour. Flow­ing with the sea­sons the menu utilises the finestqual­ity pro­duce avail­able. Lo­cated in the re­vi­talised Hamer Hall at Arts Centre Mel­bourne and over­look­ing the breath­tak­ing Yarra River and CBD, this venue is set over two lev­els in­clud­ing an out­door din­ing area on the river­front.

Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Mel­bourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Mel­bourne. Lunch Mon–sun 12pm–3pm, din­ner Sun–wed 5pm–10pm, Thurs–sat 5pm–11pm. 8687 0775. sak­er­estau­

SOUTHGATE. Around The World.

Discover a unique collection of river­side restau­rants, cafes and bars at Southgate Mel­bourne, lo­cated along the banks of the Yarra River. With ex­cep­tional city sky­line views, Southgate is a din­ing des­ti­na­tion sure to impress. Find fan­tas­tic casual din­ing at Blue­train, Bavar­ian favourites at Hophaus, Can­tonese cui­sine at Red Em­peror, mod­ern Ital­ian at Tutto Benne, con­tem­po­rary Aus­tralian at Pure South Din­ing and so much more.

Banks of the Yarra River, Mel­bourne. 9686 1000. south­gatemel­


n MU­NICH BRAUHAUS. Bavar­ian. Mu­nich Brauhaus is a traditional Bavar­ian bier­haus, where guests can dine, drink and party like Ok­to­ber­fest never ended. The state-of-theart water­front venue seats over 900 peo­ple and is a bier lovers de­light. Try the venue’s very own sig­na­ture Mu­nich Lager, as well as a se­ries of ex­clu­sively im­ported Bavar­ian Biers, while the menu in­cludes suck­ling pig, sourced lo­cally from River­lea and cooked over a char­coal spit.

45 South Wharf Prom­e­nade, South Wharf. Sun–thur 11.30am–late, Fri– Sat 11.30am–1am. 1300 686 424. mu­nich­

Lucky Chan.

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