There are definitely times when my friends love me being a food blogger. And then there are all those other times, when I'm pretty sure they just want to tell me to shut the hell up and stop talking, living and breathing food. I do come in pretty handy when in a foreign city and needing to choose somewhere to eat, but when I get obsessed with finding that somewhere and selecting somewhere that is almost impossible to get into, I probably get on their nerves a little! Sorry guys.
A couple of weekends ago, some friends joined me in Melbourne for the weekend. I already had a list of new places I wanted to go to, thanks to my foodie and twitter friends, as well as a couple of old favourites.
One places that KEPT on popping up, again and again when I asked for recommendations on twitter was Cumulus Inc. I had heard of Cumulus before this, but actually because one of my friends who is an Architect had been discussing it with me at length (Cumulus is set in an old gallery space apparently.)
It's one of the many eateries tucked up Flinders Lane and has a BIG reputation, being particularly famous for their breakfasts. I knew it was a long shot, but on the Saturday morning, we trundled down there, what I thought was rather late. By 11 a.m., even the really popular breakfast haunts in Bris Vegas can usually seat you.
After taking AGES to get there, due to the stupid blue dot on google maps giving false readings (actually I think it's me, but I blamed it on the dot- damn you dot!) we walked into Cumulus, not knowing what lay ahead. The place was packed. With a waiting list. AND it would take an approximate 45 minutes before the 5 of us could get a table. Boo. We had places to be, so I sadly left behind determined to try again the next day. We ended up trundling down closer to the train station and eating somewhere there. I recommend you don't. There is a little strip with about five cafes, and the one we ate at was TERRIBLE. Anyway, that story is for another time.
We somehow, miraculously, managed to get ourselves organised by about 9:00 a.m., and I was surprised that the girls decided to join me again. Apparently they were intrigued enough to try (sans my poor friend Em who was sick in bed from self inflicted sources.) Arriving at about 9:30a.m. we expected to have to wait in line, and I was prepared, I was determined to even go-it-alone if the girls wanted to pike. The funniest thing was, there was no line. In fact, there were five or six free tables and we could take our pic. It seemed like a different place to the day before. It turns out, Melbournites don't turn up until REALLY late for breakfast on Sundays. i.e. 11 onwards so we were very lucky! Woo.
It was clear that the place was very cool, some of the staff looked like they could have been modelling in some indy magazine! After perusing the menu, all four of us came to the same conclusion. We wanted the toasted sandwich with double smoked istra ham, pyengana cheddar and tomato relish. How could this be? There were plenty of other lovely looking options like the watermelon salad with strawberry, vanilla yoghurt and mint for $12 (a bit too light for me on that day) The smoked salmon, 65/65 egg, sorrel, apple and dill also could have been interesting ($17) but my stomach didn't feel like coping with fish.
Perhaps it was the fact that we were all still feeling a little, um, (how shall I put this eloquently - um.... nope) seriously seedy, but the sandwich just held some serious allure. Jem (C's sister), at the last moment, decided on the slow poached egg, with beans and sausage (which I can't seem to find on the menu- so I can't confirm that or the price! Sorry!)
It wasn't long before the sandwiches came out, shortly after the juices and coffees. The girls like their coffee but would have liked it a little hotter. My juice was out of a bottle, and even though it was fine, perhaps fresh juices would have been better.
After a bite in the sandwich, I opened up the middle and slapped on the relish. I'm not sure how something so simple could be divine, but it was like the universe had stepped in and given me exactly what I needed after a night out, and a week eating out- essentially a simple, but lovely ham, cheese and tomato toastie. I didn't need the optional avo, and really, just enjoyed chowing down on my sanga, sloth style. Thick crusty bread, smokey ham, bitey cheese and the sweet tomato relish ensured this was not your average cafe style sandwich, and I really really loved it. As did Bones and Loz. Jem had a nibble of my sandwich (in exchange for some of her brekky, of course!) and was also quite smitten. Just what the doctor ordered.
Jem's brekky (unknown name and price) was delish too. Although the beans could have used a little spicing up, the egg was perfectly, beautifully cooked and smooshed nicely through with the beans and sausage. Actually just found the recepit. $19.5.
Cumulus Inc is not fussy or over the top, but serves genuinely good food. It's super popular for very good reason. What also struck me, was the fact that the prices were really, really reasonable. Much more so than some of the really popular places in Brisbane that are charging $20 + and not doing 'it' quite as well as Cumulus Inc.
Anyone can do a toasted cheese and ham sandwich- but it is really hard to transform it into something so lovely as Cumulus have managed to do. The menu choices are also inspired. There are, thank heavens, a lack of the old, tired, overdone options, but an abundance of wonderful, exciting alternatives.
The service did borderline on being a little too cool at times, but hey, if i had 45min+ wait times, I'd probably be feeling pretty cool too.
When to go: Earlyish on a Sunday morning - be prepared to wait if you want to go any later than about 9:30a.m., by the time we left, things were starting to heat up.
So tell me readers, are you a food blogger that your friends curse, or a friend that curses your food blogger mates?
45 Flinders Lane
03 9650 1445