There’s something to be said for restaurants that can defy the trends, welcoming guest after guest, night after night, to consistently deliver a superior dining experience.
Cumulus Inc. is just one of these. A legend of Melbourne’s hospitality industry, it’s been looking after the needs of corporates and casuals for eight years, offering dishes designed to be shared from morning to night. Along the way, it has embroidered itself into the fabric of the city, creating a name that provokes exclamations of pleasure from even the most critical of food-focused friends.
Just who could ignite such a response? That would be Andrew McConnell, the Box Hill-born chef who has created an empire of remarkable restaurants do ed throughout Melbourne. His current collection of venues includes the pan-Asian Supernormal; Fitzroy staple Cutler & Co. and neighbouring wine bar Marion; luxe-pub Builders Arms Hotel – with its Chinese dining room Ricky & Pinky – and heritage butcher Meatsmith, supplier to home cooks and restaurants alike.
In his decades of running kitchens, Andrew has surrounded himself with an incredible collection of staff that espouse everything he stands for: real flavours, showcasing the best produce and a minimalist approach to dining. This is all in full flight at Cumulus Inc., where an expert team of chefs turn out dishes that celebrate Aussie ingredients and floor staff operate with autonomy, ensuring your every whim is satis ed.
Take a seat near the open kitchen to peek at what’s happening on the other side. If you’re there for breakfast, you might spot the house-made crumpets with whipped rico a and rooftop honey being whisked out to a nearby businessman, or a couple of friends sharing the shakshuka and marinated mushrooms with black barley and 65/65 egg.
Come midday, the dishes become more suitable to afternoon eating, but the same classic techniques continue throughout. Charcuterie is given plenty of air-time, with a comprehensive range of cured meats and accompaniments on o er. Create your perfect plate or let the kitchen do it for you.
If you’re after more than just a snack, you’re in for a treat. Ethically shed barramundi is paired with borlotti beans, smoked clams and nettle, while a whole lamb shoulder is slow roasted, perfect for sharing between a few. You can pair both of these with a selection of sides, including baby cos with ruby grapefruit and spanner crab, or chopped broccoli with walnuts and anchovy.
This same crafted approach to dining continues onto the drinks list, where a staggering number of wines, beers, cocktails and spirits sit, just waiting to be tried and tested. They are also available upstairs at Cumulus Inc.’s sister bar, Cumulus Up., where the same attention to detail is applied.
The artful design of both spaces is thanks to architect Pascale Gomes-McNabb, whose intelligent repurposing of the space has every guest feeling welcome as soon as they step off the street.
Each little element culminates into a sophisticated dining experience that’s casual enough to be everyday but special enough for an occasion. Considering this, it’s no wonder Cumulus Inc. shares its name with a type of cloud – after a meal here, you’ll be in heaven.