Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Golden Fields - Dash and Splash

Across from the southeast end of Albert Park in the more gentrified area of St Kilda on Fitzroy Street stands Golden Fields. Even more minimalist in design compared to Coda with a long bar and high stools and nearly vacant walls, this one hatted restaurant, which is part of the Andrew McConnell empire certainly has a fair amount going for it, which I discovered when I took a much anticipated trip around its menu recently.

Inspecting the menu, I wanted to try everything on the "raw" menu but in the end ordered everything except the oysters. Given there is a fairly decent list of sake to choose from at the front of the wine list, it seemed appropriate to match the delicate raw flavours of seafood with  "Ippongi" Denshin Yuki Junmail Ginjo 720ml ($140) and judging from my recent positive experiences at Sake Restaurant and Akachochin, I knew a good sake would only bring out the best in what was scavenged from the sea.

Kingfish with salmon roe, scud chilli, ginger and lime ($16) was the first sacrifice that we would make all in the name of good dining. The flavours, further enhanced by the scud chilli, but most notably the sake pairing made an awesome first impression. I was floored when the dining evolved to an even higher level after I tried the offering of tuna, oyster cream and picked shittake ($18) which was my favourite of the raw dishes. The oyster cream was delightful and perhaps one of the best pairings with fish that I have found yet anywhere. Rottnest Island scallops with avacado, apple and miso ($17) followed. I have always fancied the bivalve mollusk from Rottnest Island over say the Hervey Bay region and the blend of avacado and especially the apple really did our dirty friends from the deep justice. The sake proved to be a great match and was recommended by our server, Rachel, who throughout the four hours that we were languishing at the restaurant remained very helpful and good humoured. She was kind enough to keep our bottle of sake on ice at the bar so she really had to go out of her way to ensure that our small glasses were always filled and for that I am very grateful.

One of the signature dishes at Golden Fields is the New England lobster roll - a hot buttered bun with cold poached crayfish, watercress and kewpie lovingly stuffed into the centre of said bun. Brilliant. Once this was devoured, another round of lobster rolls were ordered just because it was so damn good and I wanted to savour the taste with the remains of the sake once again. I found it intriguing when I learned that Big Day Out 2013 is working with Golden Fields and they will be providing not only lobster rolls but also fried chicken Bahn-mi and peanut butter parfait ice-cream sandwiches for sale at the festival. Considering that food at festivals is generally rubbish (I still think of the movie Kenny and his commentary on why festivals serve curries and other rubbish) I have really started pondering actually attending Big Day Out knowing the likes of Golden Fields and St Ali will be there adding a bit of taste and flavour to the proceedings.

With the sake exhausted, we moved on to the "Meat and Fish" part of the menu and decided that since it was Sunday, it was appropriate to order slow-roast lamb shoulder with cumin and salted lemon ($74) which was perfect to share along with a 2011 Roussanne-Marsanne-Viognier, Story (Grampians, Victoria) which seemed a logical match. It takes about 35 minutes for this dish to come out and the time flew since we were engaged in pleasant conversation and still enjoying reminiscing about the beautiful "raw" menu. When the roast emerged, there was roughly of 800g of perfectly tender meat still on the bone. Although a knife was provided to carve it, it was not needed. You could use your fork to easily remove the meat and when enhance the flesh with a dash of cumin and a splash of lemon, it made for the perfect Sunday roast on what turned out to be a great Sunday afternoon.

The thoughtfully minimalist fit-out ensures that you focus on your dining companions and the food and wine. There are no gimmicks at Golden Fields which was refreshing and genuine professionals providing service just sealed the deal and makes me want to return and have more tasty delights soon; as I froth out of the mouth on the keyboard as I type out this article.

Golden Fields
2/157 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda VIC 3182
(03) 9525 4488
My Rating: 15.75/20
Service: 4/5
Ambiance: 3.5/5
Quality: 4.25/5
Value For Money: 4/5

Twitter: @epicurean3006
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com

At the time of this post, 84% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon also like Golden Fields and it is the first place of 2013 that I have written about that I added the "Top 2013 Experience" tag to.

Golden Fields on Urbanspoon