45 Flinders Lane Melbourne, Victoria 3000
|Opening hours||B L D Daily|
|Features||Outdoor seating, Bar, Accepts bookings, Breakfast-brunch, Business lunch, Late night, Licensed, Long lunch, Private dining, Romance-first date, Wheelchair access|
|Prices||Moderate (mains $20-$40)|
|Chef||Andrew McConnell, Casey McDonald|
|Payments||eftpos, AMEX, Visa, Mastercard|
|Phone||03 9650 1445|
It's impossible to be all things to all people but Cumulus comes very close, adroitly straddling cafe and bar, bistro and fine-diner. No bookings means you'll need to wait (or lurk nearby), but once seated in the artfully raw, airy dining room or at the bar along the open kitchen, the charms of the menu emerge. It relies on unfussy flavour combinations, but with enough culinary pizazz to satisfy the sniffiest food snob. Typical is a beautifully bloody duck breast, perched on a mix of toasted barley, walnuts and pepitas, with lentils and dabs of turnip puree and plum. Sweet, crunchy, oily and earthy, it's a wonderful combination. Spiced cauliflower with goat's curd and pomegranate traverses similar territory, but you can go simpler still with a plate of superb cured meats or a bowl of Padron peppers, deep-fried and lushly salted. Given the quality of ingredients, Cumulus offers very good value, while cheery, helpful staff add to the unpretentious buzz.