For those who haven't been to Cutler and Co, the place is curtained up and you can't see what's happening on inside and the only clue that you are in the right place is the blue neon "&" logo.
I wonder, does the extra element of mystery contribute to the extra hat?
Service was good from the minute we walked in. Jackets were promptly taken from us to store and menu put to our hands. What I loved was how the waiter was never pushy with alcohol or bottled water. Even after I finished my glass of champagne, he didn't ask if I wanted another one.
I wonder again, is good service worthy of the second hat?
While mystery and service was good, the noise level was bad. Don't expect a nice quiet meal because this dim dining area is anything but quiet. Almost full house on a Thursday night, we had to speak out quite loud to get a conversation going.
Although the noise level put us off, the fresh hot sour dough roll and a generous amount of butter put wide smiles on our faces. Got to give them credit when they asked if we wanted seconds!
The starter of pickled octopus with aioli got the Wife smiling even wider. Although it sounded a little weird, it worked and was yum.
It was only the weekend before that we decided to share a dozen of fresh oysters at the market. With that experience at the back of my mind, I was blown away when I had this Moonlight oyster. The taste was so fresh and sweet (in a seafood way). At $4 a piece, its 4 times as much as a normal oyster would cost in the market but it was probably close to being 4 times as good.
The smoked and fried duck, morcilla (blood sausage), golden raisin and beetroot.
The wife loved it for the strong and bold flavours and well anything fried is always welcomed. The deep fried duck was succulent and tasted like pulled pork from the small pieces I had unless that was the morcilla, hmm I am confused but I can say it was good.
The hand picked spanner crab, abalone, king brown mushroom with golden chicken broth was fantastic and I thought was way better than what the Wife ordered. The fresh crab meat, the tender abalone slices and the crunchy snow fungus (a first in a savoury dish) all tied with a oh so gorgeous broth.
We looked at the short list of mains and only one tickled our interest; the striploin, short rib, kohlrabi, onions with jus. While the striploin was good for that bovine flavour, the short rib was better which was slow cooked and probably had a bit of a time on the grill with a sweet glaze. There wasn't much of a side on the plate and was advised to order a side to share. A small plate of lettuce coated with a dressing costing us $10 was probably the only sour point of our night, deemed a big rip off.
Time for desserts.
Violet ice cream, chocolate ganache, sour cherry and clove meringue seemed a little out of sync to me and the components didn't gel from the taste I got. The "violet" was prominent enough in the ice-cream without tasting like soap powder but apart from that, we felt this dessert a little below average.
What could go wrong with a chocolate ice cream sandwich, vanilla parfait and salted caramel? Apparently a bit if the "sandwich" is way too thin and hard and the caramel wasn't salty enough. In the end it pretty tasted like ice-cream and desperately needed some more texture in it somewhere.
The apple terrine, toasted cereal ice cream, burnt butter and oat crumble sounds and tasted like breakfast. While I can appreciate how thinly the apples were sliced in the terrine, it was kind of one dimensional even though you had the "oat crumble" sprinkled all over the plate.
We couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed over the dessert options. However you still got to give them credit for the sweet oyster, magical chicken broth and the juicy short rib we had that night. Overall, is it 2 hat quality? I don't know, time will tell when we try out more restaurants.
Prices are in the 100-150 region per pax and luckily that night, our friend foot the bill after being awarded a nice referral fee from getting me into this new job of mine.
Address and contact details:
Verdict: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars. If the place was less noisy and the desserts more accepting to our palates, this place would deserve more than 4 stars in my books.