Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Clear Skies in the Morning: Breakfast at Cumulus


Address: 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Victoria, 2000
Telephone: (03) 9650 1445

Opening Hours:  
Monday to Friday, 7am until 11pm
Saturday and Sunday, 8am until 11pm 

Remember earlier in the year I visited Cumulus Inc. for my brother’s birthday? I promised I would return for breakfast, and return I did. This time I was armed with a gaggle of girls to celebrate another coming-of-age—if you can call it that for a 22 year old. 

We arrived at 10am, allowing ample time before breakfast service ended an hour and a half later. Being a group of seven meant that we could book, so we nabbed the raised table near the entrance. The table came complete with an enormous pumpkin centrepiece and a view of the restaurant.

Although hesitant to describe the classy decor once again (see the post on dinner: ‘
Taste Buds in the Clouds’ for the details), a few features stood out in the daylight. The open marble kitchen contrasts with the black bar on the opposite side of the room, and there is a small army of wooden cedar shoe inserts hanging on the wall. 

The cherry on top was definitely the adorable sculpture, assumedly the Cumulus Inc. mascot. To be honest, I flirted with the idea of asking if I could take it home with me, but then decided it wasn’t worth the trouble.

Our waitress was superb, providing recommendations and dealing with our requests, not to mention a flock of squawking 20-somethings that more accurately represented parakeets in a nest than mature young ladies. Our group’s only complaint was that the bathroom could have been lit better, as the single, small light bulb gave the space a slightly dingy feel.

We started with a leisurely coffee, which was nice but not noteworthy. It was atmospheric being able to see the barister steaming and pouring the milk behind the glass cabinet full of goodies, highlighted by vibrant yellow tulips. 

We also indulged in a Virgin Mary, being too early for the alternative. It was sweet with just the right amount of spicy pepper, although the celery stick was noticeably absent.

For breakfast I had the Shakshouka baked eggs with roasted peppers and marinated Persian feta. It arrived in a cast iron pan and was served with multigrain toast on the side. It was an instant hit. Full of Mediterranean flavours and spices, the feta had melted slightly into the bake. Although very much ensconced in the dish, the egg yolks were separate enough to be cooked to perfection and oozed when eagerly cut into.

The watermelon salad with strawberry, vanilla yoghurt and mint, was unavailable, so we opted instead for the poached pears and passionfruit with burnt honey yoghurt. The tang of the passionfruit and slightly scorched taste of the burnt honey were a welcome contrast to the sweet pears, while the specks of vanilla in the yoghurt tingled the tastebuds.

We also indulged in the house smoked sardines. They came served on toast with a parsley salad, crowned with a 65/65 egg. The egg, which had been cooked at 65 degrees for 65 minutes, had an interesting creamy texture that is not apparent in traditionally cooked eggs. The sardines were not too salty, with the sweet flesh refreshed by the addition of the parsley.

The Kurabouta leg ham and gruyere toasted sandwich with tomato relish was a favourite: we ordered three! Better still, all three diners gave it the thumbs up, their mouths stuffed with warm, melted gruyere, fresh ham and sweet relish.

To finish our meal we ordered tea and coffee (the orange pekoe tea is recommended) and some Madeleines filled with lemon curd. They are baked fresh and require a 15 minute wait, but that fluffy, warm first bite lives up to the anticipation. Nevertheless, a little more lemon curd filling wouldn’t have gone astray.

For those with more of an appetite, the full English breakfast is an ideal choice, as it consists of farmhouse slab bacon, blood sausage on toast, fried eggs and smoked tomato.

At Cumulus Inc., breakfast is an entirely different ball game compared with dinner. For starters, it is completely affordable; my Shakshouka baked eggs, Virgin Mary, tea, coffee and Madeleine came to approximately $32 (bargain!). The atmosphere is also more casual, despite some suits rushing around to get their caffeine fix before work. Come with a reservation for a group or treat yourself to breakfast before heading to the office and sit at the bar while the chefs prepare lunch in front of you.

Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon

Meet some of my beautiful gaggle of girls...


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