Sunday, July 10, 2011

Golden Fields (St.Kilda) 07/2011

People are constantly opening, and also closing, restaurants. Who knows what the magic is that makes some so very successful whilst others languish. Of course the food is important but there are so many other factors which play their part. I would venture to say that, for some, it's the reputation of the chef, the venue and fit out is important for some but not others, service counts too as does ambiance that hard to define feeling you get, created by the everything about a place is another important factor. An indifferent wine list matters to some and the mark up on wines my also act as a deterrent and price is important for many, Of course everyone wants 'value'. Position also seems of varying importance.
Most people who come to Golden Fields come deliberately, there is no shingle hanging out the front and the name is in quite small lettering on the door, they could not book a table but they are going anyway. Whatever their reasons plenty of them come. Our motives were mixed. We certainly like Andrew McConnels' cooking
We had no trouble getting a table although it was quite busy. The stone floor and almost bare walls reflected a lot of noise but the atmosphere was agreeable. The place has a sterile, in the hospital sense, feel about it. A long white tiled bar

and white walls with chicken feet coat hangers,
bare tables and minimal settings all contribute.
The first thing brought to the table is a small dish of seasoned, roasted pumpkin seeds
which take the place of bread and butter and and the menu, on both sides of a sheet of quality paper. It's divided into some small piquant bites, Raw, To Start, Salads and Vegetables, Meat and Fish and Dessert. Designed for sharing courses are brought to the table one by one. To get a good range of dishes we chose a meal of starters and one main course. We broke the ice with shredded cabbage, Moreton Bay bugs Kampot pepper and mint ($17)
A very delicate dish this was very bland and under seasoned, the bugs were barely cooked, moist and tender. We next had "Pork and Prawn" fried school prawns, pig tail scratchings, garlic mayo. ($12).
The scratchings similar to crackling and the prawns, full of flavour, and could be eaten just as they were or with a light chili sauce or mayo. New England lobster roll, hot buttered bun, cold poached crayfish watercress and Kewpie. ($15)
is a bit like a crayfish burger but the the cray was too delicate and lost in this format. Our next course was rustic pork dumpling with Shanghai chili vinegar (2pc) ($9)

The last of these was twice cooked duck, steamed bread, vinegar and plum sauces (3pc) ($20) actually referred to three pieces of the steamed bread which tastes like a beijing bun. the leg had been cooked sous vide then coated in bean paste and deep fried. Frequently twice cooked duck legs are dry tend to coarseness and lack flavour. This was the complete opposite.
Served with two sauces and a couple of pieces of fresh cucumber the patron chooses how to eat this.
We made Peking duck style delights, splitting the steamed bread
and dipping into the sauces.
By now we were ready for the main course. Whole roasted flounder,lime, sorrel, burnt butter ($32) turned out to be headless. I have this old idea that, as a fish is born with a head on it, no matter how unattractive, or useless, a whole fish should have a head on it. Regardless it was an outstanding dish, served with mayo, tartare sauce was not available! We both missed bread and butter and asked for a serve of steamed bread. I found it on the bill at $8 for the four pieces.
The wine list is quite limited with a small range by the glass.
We ended the meal with baked meringue, vanilla rose and lychee. We're sure to be back here again to eat through more of the menu and soon.
Score 15/20


Andrea said...

Even though you didn't like everything, it looks like somewhere worth trying.

Elliot and Sandra said...

Hj Andrea
Certainly worth trying, as I said well be happy to try more of their food