Golden Fields – Andrew McConnell’s new arm in St Kilda
So that being said, my wish-list continues to grow, not surprisingly with all the new exciting venues like Golden Fields for example, which has been at the top of my to-go list since it opened earlier this year. Andrew McConnell’s brand has become a reputable institute in Melbourne. The no booking system (like at Cumulus Inc) at this new “branch” is no deterrent for the hordes of foodies waiting to try his food.
Sitting beneath the Medina towers on a disputably quieter eastward section of Fitzroy Street, Golden Fields has no overt signage or exterior advertising. It is beautifully panelled by ceiling high glass, allowing daylight to stream gloriously through the space. Inside the décor runs on a similar elegance to that of Cumulus, with a light, relaxed feel.
Coffee – latte and I think flat white. Light roast with a creamy texture.
Pumpkin seeds (complimentary)
Candied walnuts, sesame and nori – these seriously stirred my appetite. Candied, roasted, a little salty, and shreds of nori umami!
New England lobster roll, hot buttered bun, cold poached crayfish, watercress and Kewpie – this was certainly a must try, given the raving numbers. It was moreishly delicious, but at $15 for an almost bite size roll, it is in my view a little overrated. I found the soft buttery bread roll with its lightly toasted inside was the centrefold on the palate, overshadowing the intended protagonist which was of a light and somewhat bland crayfish, despite the creamy mayonnaise.
Grilled octopus, mussels, celery and chilli paste – provided a warm kick in the throat with its spicy heat. Different bites and cuts provide a nice contrast of texture and flavour – tender cuts of octopus, mussel, and crunchy bites of turnip and celery.
Chicken broth, enoki, shimeji mushrooms and lime – would easily be my highlight of the long lunch. It bursts at the seams with a beautiful ballad of umami between the juicy mushrooms, soft poached egg and chicken broth. A tiny touch of lime acidity added to turn a notch down on the indulgence.
David blackmore beef shin, five spice, sesame – rings a strong resemblance with Chinese “cold-platters” with a bit of elegance and style. Finely sliced beef shin, peppered with the heat of five spice and a drizzle of sesame oil. What it lacks however, is a textural balance with some green crunch (spring onions don’t count).
Shredded cabbage, moreton bay bugs, kampot pepper and mint – Although the Moreton Bay bugs were juicy, the shredded cabbage nicely seasoned and peppered, I found it was a little too light both in appearance and on the palate. Adding a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds (from the start of the meal), added a little colour, crunch and depth. Sorry Andrew, I’m afraid I prefer my tweaked version. A beautiful summery salad nonetheless.
A little mint to cleanse the palate.
Baked merengue, vanilla, rose and lychee – Flickers of floral and fruity notes come through pleasantly in this tumbling tower of meringue and refreshing sorbet.
Peanut butter parfait, salted caramel and soft chocolate – A completely different concept is found in this cube of decadence. A quenelle of soft chocolate mousse, a stream of salted caramel syrup on a square cut of rich but not too dense peanut butter parfait. It is an graceful creation, but arguably in my view still a small stone throw behind Philipa Sibley’s snickers.
Rating: Yummy+2. Although I may be picking at the threads here and there, I am really a huge fan of Andrew McConnell’s restaurants, and this is undoubtedly another successful out-branch of his culinary empire in Melbourne, providing a comparable flare of exciting dishes with a stronger Asian twist than his previous ventures. I give extra yummy points for the mushrooms and peanut butter parfait!
Whilst the overall casual but formal feel of the restaurant might have suggested a more affordable menu, it ultimately retains a moderately formal price mark similar to Cumulus Inc.
Where: 157 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, VIC 3182
Contact: 03 9525 4488
Unless you have 8-14 people.