Experience No.045 in Australian Traveller’s 100 Greatest Australian Gourmet Experiences The Cumulus Inc eating house and bar is Melbourne’s great all rounder, the master of casual and elegant dining with neither pretence nor aloofness. The well-travelled Andrew McConnell just earned himself Chef of the Year status from The Age Good Food Guide team on the back of his two fairly relaxed eateries – Cutler & Co being the other.

“Excellent food and a great wine list. Certainly fits my criteria of a Great Australian Gourmet Experience.” – Michael Ryan

At Cumulus Inc, the industrial space has been converted into an airy dining room of simple elements. Two bars split the room and diners can sit at the benches along the stark walls or spectate like meerkats on stools overlooking the kitchen.

The appealing breakfast menu of organic muesli, sardines on toast or Turkish eggs with labna gives way to sophisticated options for later in the day. The oysters come in any mix of styles, with the Shoalhaven options taking the top gong. The cured meats are all first grade. The fish Escabeche has been replaced by a tuna tartare with crushed green peas salad – a bold move, considering the diner’s love for the acidic fish dish.

Whatever the occasion, the busy and inventive Cumulus Inc is more than a safe bet; it’s a great dining experience.

Where: 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. (03) 9650 1445, www.cumulusinc.com.au

Did you know: Andrew McConnell does things a little differently as an exec chef. He doesn’t call or time the dockets, leaving that responsibility to his sous chef so he can float around the kitchen touching every station.

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