Cumulus Inc, Melbourne

I have spoken before about grand master Andrew McConnell's special culinary powers. The legend continues at Cumulus, Inc., 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Tel +61 3 9650 1445. He calls the place an eating house where breakfast is done simply. But since when do "eating houses" dabble in molecular gastronomy? Breakfast done simply my arse.

65-65 egg

Not that I'm complaining. He can tinker around with the slow poaching machine and other scientific experiments as long as he likes. The failures can go in the bin. And the winners can go on the menu. Like the 65/65 egg. Slow "poached" in its shell at 65 degrees for 65 minutes, this is one perfect eggy-wegg. Just soft and slightly oozy all the way through. Genius.

If he keeps coming up with dishes like this, McConnell may soon be challenging Wylie Dufresne for the "Egg Man" title. In fact, now that I think of it, they share an eerie resemblance, especially in the haircut department. Not that I'm accusing Andrew of ripping off Wylie's look.

The 65/65 egg is served, sans shell, on a slice of crunchy sourdough toast, surrounded by smoked salmon, sprinkled with a few shreds of sorrel and dill, and topped with miniature apple soldiers about the size of matchsticks ($17). I contemplated dunking my apple soldiers in the egg yolk, but that would have looked a bit stupid, so I just shovelled bits onto my egg and toast.

If you're hungry, a better option may be the Full English ($18), which includes toast, farmhouse slab bacon, fried eggs, blood sausage, and smoked tomato. I am a big fan of the smoked vegetable, by the way, and the Tom Cooper smoked tomato they serve at Cumulus is no exception. Which reminds me, if you ever make it to wd~50 in New York, you should not miss Wylie Dufresne's smoked mashed potato (served with cod). It rocks. But I digress... For something a bit healthier, try the Bircher muesli with grated granny smiths and almonds ($10).

Coffee, service and venue are all excellent. But I have absolutely no idea why they named the place after a cloud.

20/20 "smokin"


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