Golden Fields – Andrew McConnell’s new arm in St Kilda

Almost Always Ravenous’ sporadic digression:
There are many risks involved with being a food blogger.

One: Eating out too much.
Two: When eating out, you eat too much.
Three: You know you should order less next time, but you um & ah at the menu and fall back into the same trap.
Four: Always thinking about what is there to eat.
Five: Have withdrawal symptoms when you haven’t eaten out in a week.

Ok, sure eating is necessary for survival, and is generally considered to be quite culturally based. But it sure sounds like the tell-tale signs of addictive behaviour, no?

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.

[Golden Fields]
Where: 157 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, VIC 3182
Contact: 03 9525 4488
No bookings.

Unless you have 8-14 people.

You may also like: Cutler & Co, Cumulus Inc, Il Fornaio.

Golden Fields on Urbanspoon

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Comments
13 Responses to “Golden Fields – Andrew McConnell’s new arm in St Kilda”
  1. since fitzroy is not as far away as i thought it would be, i might give this place a go soon. 😀

  2. Malcolm says:

    I’m not so sure about that lobster roll. Stunning photography, as always.

  3. forque says:

    Looking at the interior I had to keep reminding myself that this is a new place and not Cumulus inc….they look so similar. The food does look great as always from McConnell, especially the bug salad.mmmm

  4. Hannah says:

    As I always say, it’s better than being addicted to crack. 😉 I thought I’d be happy with just the complimentary nuts, but nope! That soup! The moreton bay bugs! THE DESSERT! Yum 🙂

  5. msihua says:

    I wish I had ordered the mushrooms too! Aiiii

  6. Thanh says:

    You don’t need to be a food blogger to have those symptoms, just a food lover. That lobster roll is good but is expensive for such a small thing. Lobster is expensive though.

  7. foodloca says:

    I definitely have ALL of the symptoms described by you above! I guess that’s telling since I’m a food blogger myself! Golden Fields is definitely my new favourite restaurant. The fact that I met Andrew McConnell, got a pic and a personalised menu might have sealed the deal!hahah.. Instead of a regular food review, here’s my ‘love letter’ to the creator of this fantastic restaurant:

    http://foodloca.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/a-gem-at-golden-fields/

    Enjoy!

    ps: I love the peanut butter parfait!

  8. libishski says:

    Haha being a food-blogger can be hard work sometimes! 😀

    I’m hoping to go to this place tomorrow. I’ve heard so many good things about that lobster roll but funnily enough, you’re the second person I know to have not gone all OMGWOWOWOWOW over it! I guess I’ll see for myself tomorrow 😀

  9. renikameow says:

    My friend raves of Golden Fields. The chicken broth looks to die for! How does the parfait compare to a snickers ice cream bar? …Because that is pretty awesome itself 😀

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  • Food RATING scale

    Unpleasant: damn upset my desire to eat

    Average: palatable but many shortcomings

    Yummy: a pleasant experience

    Yummy +1: mouth-watering like rain

    Yummy +2: exquisite flavours that hit all the right notes

    Divine: sheer culinary perfection!

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