Cumulus Inc is one of Melbourne's well-renowned cafes, which also operates as a dining restaurant at night along with its bar counterpart, Cumulus Up, in their upstairs space. It is located on the further end of Flinders Lane that also houses countless restaurants and cafes such as Chin Chin, Meatball and Wine Room, Fonda Mexican, The Grain Store, Supernormal, Dukes Coffee Roasters (phew...) as well as a few hidden bars here and there. The girls and I were lucky to stay at a hotel close to these foodie joints so it wasn't too hard when we picked a cafe to go for breakfast before going our separate ways. Plus Cumulus Inc was one of the many many many cafes on my Melbourne wishlist from my last trip.
While the cafe was further than what I expected from the map, the service was actually very quick for a Saturday morning, which is good for the girls who were on a tight schedule. Cumulus Inc is one of the many eateries owned by chef and restaurateur, Andrew McConnell. His name that may not be too familiar to the casual Sydney diner but he is an icon in Melbourne with countless restaurants under his helm. This includes Supernormal, Cutler and Co, Golden Fields, and The Builder's Arms to name a few. From visiting two of his venues during my Melbourne trip, it appears that the fitout has a signature minimalist appeal with grey, black, white and brown being the prominent colours at the venue.
Skim Mocha ($3.80)
I knew I was going to have a long, adventurous and unplanned day ahead so a coffee was needed to wake me up. This cafe uses organic fair trade Single Origin Coffee house blend for their coffees. While the mocha had an aromatic flavour, it was on the sweeter side compared to some mochas I've had in the past.
Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice ($7.50)
The grapefruit juice was not too fizzy actually. Refreshing to have once the weather gets warmer again. Not too sweet either.
Mortadella, cheddar and braised black cabbage toasted sandwich ($16.00)
I found myself drooling over CC's toastie. Cannot resist the perfectly grilled look on that toast. While it was on the expensive side compared to other toasted sandwiches I've seen around town, CC got very full and satisfied on this dish so I guess it was more filling than it appeared.
Smoked ocean trout, rye toast, baby zucchini and slow cooked eggs ($17.00)
AC was pleased with her healthy-looking dish of smoked ocean trout blanketing over two hidden slow cooked eggs. I tried a bit of this dish and really liked how the ocean trout melts in your mouth as you taste it. Also the eggs were soft and oozy, which was always a winner.
Sardine on toast, red onion and cream cheese ($17.00)
F loves her food salty so she opted for the sardine on toast with red onion and cream cheese. While the rest of us thought it was too salty, she thought it needed a tad more salt. This did look like a dish with an interesting combination of flavours and textures. Not a huge fan of cream cheese personally but F seemed to enjoy this dish.
Shakshouka - baked eggs with roasted pepper and shanklish ($17.00)
Long time readers and close friends will not be surprised on what I ended up ordering. Yup, it's their signature shakshouka with roasted pepper and shanklish (a type of Middle Eastern cow's/sheep's milk cheese). I love my baked eggs and Cumulus Inc's version has definitely made it into one of my favourites. It was rich, flavoursome and slightly spicy but the tomato-based sauce wasn't overly strong and much less watery compared to a few baked eggs I've had in the past (a major plus!). This pleased CC who is generally not a fan of baked eggs. The yolk had that soft, gooey texture and the shanklish cheese wasn't as strong as I initially expected. It may be a mess but it was perfect comfort food to have on a cool morning.
After paying the bill, I couldn't help to order a canele as well to take away. It was crisp and buttery on the outside, while the inside was soft, bubbly and not too sweet.
The service seemed attentive when we were there even though it got busy. Surprised that a table for 5 people was available almost immediately after we arrived since it was around 9am on a Saturday. The prices were standard in comparison to other Melbourne cafes (not too expensive but not cheap either) though I personally thought that a toasted sandwich for $16 is still a bit too much. If I lived in Melbourne, I wouldn't mind returning again for the shakshouka and trying the other dishes on the brunch and dinner menus as well as checking out their wine bar upstairs.
45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9650 1445
Mon-Fri: 7:00am - 11:00pm
Sat-Sun: 8:00am - 11:00pm