55-57 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy (map)
The steamed pork buns at Cutler & Co are filled with suckling pig and ever-so-slightly caramelised shallots. The suckling pig, with skin removed, has been braised for about 12 hours. The buns are served with black bean and Shanghai chilli vinegar. They are utterly delicious: the closest Melbourne equivalent to the justifiably-famous pork buns I had at Momofuku Ssam in New York when I visited in June.
It just so happens that David Chang, the chef from Momofuku Ssam (my favourite New York restaurant!), will be collaborating with Andrew McConnell (my favourite Melbourne chef!) in creating a very special dinner at Cutler's sister restaurant Cumulus Inc during the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
I CAN'T TELL YOU how much I want to attend that dinner.
The steamed pork buns are $12 and are served on the bar menu at Cutler. I've extolled the virtues of the more formal Cutler restaurant menu before, but allow me now to sing the praises of some of the other 'small eats' dishes on offer in the front bar. On my most recent visit the crostini of chorizo, octopus and aioli ($6) were a mouth-watering spicy/piquant/fresh starter, and the pressed quail terrine ($16) ensorcelled me almost as much as the pheasant terrine at Cumulus Inc did a few months ago.
The wagyu bresaola ($15) is a replica from the Cumulus menu - the fresh squiggly shavings of horseradish continue to complement the beef beautifully. We also ordered a dish of smoked tomato, zucchini flowers, fromage blanc and fresh tarragon ($15), which we loved.
Sigh. Remind me when the tickets for the Chang/McConnell dinner go on sale?