Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller before 25th June, 2017 and receive a Laguiole cheese knife set!

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.


There's nothing new about Nordic interiors - blond timbers, concrete surfaces, warm, mid-century charm without the twee - and thank heavens for that. It's a style that augments the beauty of everything around it, in this case, gorgeous Hobart harbour, which makes up one whole wall. What is new here, however, is the food - by veterans of Garagistes, which once dazzled diners down the road, Vue de Monde in Melbourne and Gordon Ramsay worldwide. There's a strong Asian bent, but with Tasmanian ingredients. In fact, the kitchen's love of the local verges on obsessive - coconut milk in an aromatic fish curry is replaced with Tasmanian-grown fig leaf simmered in cream to mimic the flavour. Other standouts include a gutsy red-braised lamb with gai lan and chewy cassia spaetzle, pigs' ears zingy with Sichuan pepper and a fresh, springy berry dessert. While the food is sourced locally, the generous wine list spans the planet. 

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

Farro recipes

Farro can be used in almost any dish, from a robust salad to accompany hearty beer-glazed beef short ribs to a new take on risotto with mushrooms, leek and parmesan. Here are 14 ways with this versatile grain.

Secret Tuscany

A far cry from Tuscany’s familiar gently rolling hills, Monte Argentario’s appealing mix of mountain, ocean, island and lagoon makes it one of Italy’s hidden treasures, writes Emiko Davies.


Prepare to enter a picture of the countryside framed by note-perfect Australiana but painted in bold, elegant and unsentimental strokes. Over 10 or more courses, Dan Hunter celebrates his region with dishes that are formally daring (Crunchy prawn heads! Creamy oyster soft-serve! Sea urchin and chicory bread pudding!), yet rich in flavour and substance. The menu could benefit from an edit, but the plates are tightly composed - and what could you cut? Certainly not the limpid broth bathing fronds of abalone and calamari, nor the clever arrangement of lobster played off against charred waxy fingerlings under a swatch of milk skin. The adventure is significantly the richer for the cool gloss of the dining room, some of the most engaging service in the nation and wine pairings that roam with an easy-going confidence. Maturing and relaxing without surrendering a drop of its ambition, Brae is more compelling than ever.

Grilled apricot salad with jamon and Manchego

Here we've scorched apricots on the grill and served them with torn jamon, shaved Manchego and peppery rocket leaves. Think of it as a twist on the good old melon-prosciutto routine. The mixture would also be great served on charred sourdough.

Discovering Macedonia

Like its oft-disputed name, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia defies simple definition but its rich diversity extends from the dinner table to the welcoming locals, writes Richard Cooke.

2017 Australian Hotel Awards: The Finalists

This year's finalists across 11 different categories include established and new hotels, all with particular areas of excellence. Stay tuned to find out which hotels will take the top spots when they're announced at a ceremony at QT Melbourne on Wednesday 24 May, and published in our 2017 Australian Hotel Guide, on sale Thursday 25 May.

Cutler & Co, Melbourne restaurant review

Andrew McConnell shows he’s still plugged into the zeitgeist with the opening of his latest venture, Cutler & Co. It’s smart, sexy and seriously good, reports a smitten Michael Harden.

The dish that said it all came at the end of the meal. It landed in an elegant glass bowl, looking like a dainty pile of fresh snow - white, clean, refreshing. Apparently a simple, pale granita in charmingly rustic form, it quickly revealed a series of textures and flavours - smooth coconut sorbet, a chilly ginger granita crunch, slippery, subtly aromatic coconut and citrus tapioca pearls, fresh lychee wedges and slight floral hints from shreds of aloe vera - that deftly balanced pared-back simplicitywith touches of luxury and serious aesthetic intent. It perfectly summarised the experience of eating at Cutler & Co.

After all the cheers and accolades that swamped Cumulus Inc, Andrew McConnell's city eating house, when it opened last year, it was difficult to see how this new venture, following hot on its heels, could rise above anticlimax status. Out of the CBD, at the badlands western end of Fitzroy's Gertrude Street and housed in a large former industrial workshop, Cutler & Co seemed to be setting itself its own challenges. But McConnell and partner Pascale Gomes-McNabb have created a truly exciting restaurant in the old machine factory, a place where the food and the décor are edgy and glamorous but completely accessible. Everything comes with a welcome lack of pretension.

Gomes-McNabb has been responsible for the design of all McConnell's restaurants - diningroom 211 in Fitzroy, Carlton's Mrs Jones and Three, One, Two, as well as Cumulus Inc - and Cutler & Co is a great advertisement for the benefits of experience. Behind a ruthlessly plain mirrored-glass frontage, the rustic, peeling-paint walls of the structure have been left untouched, giving the large space a rough-hewn warmth that is balanced by clean-lined smoked-glass and mirror surfaces, the stark matte black metal of the large square bar, and the "toilet block" that juts out at the back of the restaurant.

Buttery soft pale-grey leather banquettes run along two sides of the parquetry-floored dining area. There's a raised carpeted section at the back of the room, and a glassed wine storage area to one side. Bare timber tables that tone down the formality without robbing the room of any sophistication. The lighting is dim and moody, coming from black puffy "cloud" lights designed by Gomes-McNabb, and industrialesque clear glass pods with elongated elements that look like hanging candles. It's an undeniably sexy space and it incorporates clever elements: over the bar, an angular metal canopy perforated with tree shapes casts intricate patterns on the ceiling, which reveal themselves the more you gaze around the room.

McConnell's food comes from the same direction as the décor: his dishes slowly disclose intricate layers and pleasant surprises that may not be apparent at first glance. This is where Cutler & Co's assured, personable and fairly mature service team are in their element. Enthused but not over-excited, they strike the right balance in introducing the dishes and avoiding the trap of explaining away the magic of every element. If they're asked, though, the finer points and intricacies of each dish are at their fingertips.

Cutler & Co's kitchen, designed from the ground up by McConnell, has a mallee root-fired charcoal grill that is put to good use. Its primary purpose seems to be servicing the shared 1.2kg dry-aged Angus beef rib eye (imported from Sydney's Vic's Meat), but it also proves its worth with an entrée of Yarra Valley quail.

There's something initially straightforward and barbecue-friendly about the quail, slightly smoky from being cooked over coals, but as you fossick through the pretty dish there are other discoveries to be made. Caramelised figs with a thin sugar coating (crunchy from an encounter with a blowtorch). A parsley root purée. Pomegranate seeds and barberries tossed with shredded radicchio and chervil. A pastry "cigar" filled with foie gras parfait. It is a busy dish but never seems crowded because all the ingredients seem so happy sharing a plate.

McConnell's version of salade Lyonnaise is a must. The traditional foundation of bacon and poached egg tossed with frisée lettuce is still recognisable, but it has been studded with all sorts of other morsels that make picking through it a treasure hunt. Fried pancetta and a slow-cooked egg yolk check tradition, but there are also shavings of smoked waygu tongue, a gorgeously rich house-made garlic pork sausage, confit gizzards and thin shreds of crisp potatoes. (The only downside of the dish is that it comes in one of those wide, deep-sided bowls that encourages cutlery to slip down into your food, handles and all.)

Grilled leatherjacket (or rock flathead, depending on availability) arrives looking like an abstract landscape. The fish, finished with lemon, is scattered across a plate strewn with flash-fried school prawns tossed in a salad of shredded fennel and cabbage and dressed with wonderfully smooth chardonnay vinegar, honey and pounded thyme leaves. Small dabs of a powerful condiment of shallots stewed in crustacean-infused oil complete the picture, melding superbly with the delicate fish flavour.

The single vegetarian main course is a ripper, a truffled pecorino and whipped ricotta tart encased in the shortest of pastries lined with sweet confit onion drizzled with truffled honey. It shares plate with sautéed Jerusalem artichokes and fried zucchini flowers.

Those looking for something sweeter than the charms of the snow-like granita will be well pleased with the chocolate ice-cream sandwich. The rich whiskey-tinted ice-cream, more like a frozen chocolate mousse, sits alongside a vanilla parfait sandwiched between chocolate sponge, its edges coated with sweet crumbs made from dehydrated almond and chocolate cake and honeycomb.

The Cutler & Co wine list sits comfortably alongside the spotlight-hogging food. A clever and democratic mix of Old and New World labels, it complements rather than competes with the food, favouring small and boutique wines over name and benchmark bottles. It is another instance of the restaurant showing a remarkably high level of balance and maturity behind its fresh face.

Far from being an anticlimax after the tsunami of Cumulus-love, Cutler & Co has actually upped McConnell's own ante. Dazzling  with a monochrome pile of ice is just the tip of the creative iceberg. This uniquely handsome room and its talented chef have plenty more excitement in store.

Cutler & Co

55-57 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, (03) 9419 4888.
Cards AE MC V Eftpos.
Open Tue-Thu & Sat 6pm-11pm; Fri & Sun noon-11pm.
Price Appetisers $3.50-$9; entrées $17-$21; mains $28-$38; desserts $16-$17.
Vegetarian One appetiser, one entrée, one main.
Noise Buzzy.
Wheelchair access Yes.
Plus Food and décor in perfect glamorous sync.
Minus Some high-sided bowls tend to "swallow" cutlery.

Cutler & Co

55-57 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, (03) 9419 4888.
Cards AE MC V Eftpos.
Open Tue-Thu & Sat 6pm-11pm; Fri & Sun noon-11pm.
Price Appetisers $3.50-$9; entrées $17-$21; mains $28-$38; desserts $16-$17.
Vegetarian One appetiser, one entrée, one main.
Noise Buzzy.
Wheelchair access Yes.
Plus Food and décor in perfect glamorous sync.
Minus Some high-sided bowls tend to "swallow" cutlery.

Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

You might also like...

Atlas Dining, Melbourne review

Atlas Dining transports diners to a new culinary destination...

The dishes that define Melbourne dining in 2016

For our 50th anniversary issue in 2016, we scoured Australia...

Melbourne’s Rosa’s Kitchen has closed

A kitchen fire has forced Rosa Mitchell’s Punch Lane restaur...


David's hums with renewed energy since its transformation t...

Ladro Greville

Overdue a Roman holiday? With its well-groomed, Aperol-swig...

San Telmo

The number of all-male tables at San Telmo is an instant gi...


Unlike the tumbleweed territory of Docklands, there's a sun...

Cafe Di Stasio

Cafe Di Stasio represents the ideal of dining as a particul...


Timelessness. It's not, perhaps, a quality one automaticall...


The elegantly dishevelled Curtin House is a multifaceted ve...


From sourcing to saucing, Michael Bacash marries an intuiti...

Bar Lourinha

Turning 10 has added spring to Bar Lourinha's step. Not tha...


Expect to be seduced by Bellota. This Europhile wine bar's ...

Bistro Gitan

Gitan means gypsy but there's nothing itinerant about the m...


Once upon a time Elwood locals would have to hike across to...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.