There is a good reason that Melbourne and Boston are sister cities. There’s a love of locale, inner-city pride, and creativity that blooms on every street corner in this Western Australian city. I do confess that Melbourne is definitely Boston’s “cooler” sibling who’s tatted from head to toe and much more “woke” culturally, but we seem to see eye-to-eye when it comes to good food.
I stumbled upon CUMULUS INC. through a local recommendation on my first day in the city. It was everything I was looking for, and its location felt like a refuge from the bustling, fashion-centric commercial neighborhood (Flinders Lane) just one block down.
Entering the first floor was like walking into a coveted loft space; modern in design but paradoxically charming like a well-worn art studio. The bar was sleek but felt less like an “us versus them” seating situation and more like we were chatting across the island in our friend’s big kitchen. The massive windows blanketed the room in warm light and the staff were friendly and clever.
I’ve had some mixed oyster experiences in Australia, some of which involved serving oysters that had been pre-shucked for hours on end. But when I asked our server about this, she looked almost offended. I turned a deep shade of red but was so grateful to learn that all oysters here were freshly shucked to order.
The shucks were as honorable as one hopes and prays, and the wine list was very carefully curated to match the menu’s fresh approach. We had Tasmanian Pipe Clay oysters and classic Sydney Rocks. The Pipe Clays were sweet despite the warm summer temperatures, and dewy to taste like a humid salt air straight off a beach wave. The Sydney Rocks were super creamy with a lingering mouth feel. We had a light Rosé to pair, which washed down the oyster’s after effects delicately.
Put this special oyster destination on your Melbourne list! If you go at the right time, check out CUMULUS UP, their wine room on the second floor for “just one more drink.” 🙂