Sunday Breakfast with Andrew McConnell
Ellie Parker 27 October 2008
Sunday is the only day of the week that Cumulus Inc sleeps, allowing Andrew McConnell time to spend at home with his family. Sunday breakfasts involve simple pleasures. Porridge in the Winter and fruit salad in the Summer. McConnell, a devout disciple of cooking porridge the proper way, uses a recipe passed on to him by a Scottish chef. The ingredients (oats, salt, sugar, water, milk and butter) are all added at the beginning and are stirred gently "just like risotto". The chef believes that the stirring breaks down the oats a little more, resulting in a creamier textured porridge.
"I'm quite fussy when it comes to breakfast, both with the way it's cooked and presented", says Andrew McConnell. "I don't like the big fry up. Breakfast should be just as well cared for as any other time of the day and any other item on the menu."
Breakfast at McConnell's new Flinders Lane venture, Cumulus Inc reflects this thinking. The breakfast menu adheres to McConnell's "eating house" aesthetic- "Breakfast will be done simply: organic muesli, or perhaps the full English with farmhouse slab bacon and smoked tomato".
Everything about McConnell and Cumulus Inc is a wonderful breath of fresh air. There is a sense of vitality every which way you look. McConnell's breezy morning demeanour coincides with the amazing quality of light that spills into the bar-cafe designed by his wife and business partner Pascale Gomes-McNabb.
The chef admits that they were never actually planning to offer breakfast at Cumulus Inc. The original inspiration was to find a space that would allow for a casual bar serving great beers, wines and small plates of food. But as McConnell describes it, "once we submitted our proposal for the site, we started spending more time here and realised how wonderful the quality of light is during the day, especially in the morning. It's such a nice room to be in when the sun floods in". So from the sun's morning rays, breakfast at Cumulus Inc was born.
McConnell actually describes the Cumulus Inc menu as his "downtime menu". "The whole business concept comes from a direct response to how I like to eat and drink when I'm not at work". He notes that many people have been surprised at how healthy the menu appears and whilst there is a lot of meat on the dinner menu, it is approached differently.
When asked what makes him proud these days with reference to Cumulus Inc, McConnell immediately responds with a sunny smile, "I like the fact that people immediately got it. The most satisfying thing about this space and the menu is that people are using it as intended, whether that's having a piece of toast or a cup of tea, or an afternoon glass of champagne or beer or a 15 course dinner. We don't really care what you do. Some people swing by, grab a coffee and a sandwich and keep on going and that's just fine".