Versatile Restaurant, Gold Creek

14 Jul

We’re at Versatile Restaurant for a small birthday dinner. I’m always interested in dinners in suburbs I’ve never been; while I’m no stranger to Gold Creek, I’m not familiar with too many dedicated dining venues, and Versatile Restaurant’s reasonably active Facebook page and changing menu have previously caught my attention.

Versatile Restaurant’s located above Adore Tea on O’Hanlon Place and there a quite a few steep stairs to get to the top. The restaurant is warm and brightly lit; there are a number of tables, but there’s spaced well apart from each other so it doesn’t feel crowded. On one side of the restaurant, a small group of people are lounging on chairs with drinks, and shortly they move to another table.

We’re seated with our menus – slightly different to what’s on the website. Before we order we’re treated to an amuse bouche of potato and leek soup, and house baked herb bread with whipped thyme butter.

Potato and leek soup with croutons and chives

Herb bread with whipped thyme butter and balsamic vinegar

Both are moreish. The bread in particular reminds me – now don’t judge me – of the cheese bread you get at Sizzler: it’s full of flavour, and crispy without being gum-ripping crusty. More, please!

While it’s a bit steep for one course ($35), the real beauty of the menu is the price of three courses: $60. For a ‘special’ meal, it’s an affordable price, and (so long as everyone orders three dishes), there’s no squabbling over the cost. I think it’s good value.

The wine list has a good smattering of Canberra and Tumbarumba wines. We order the Nick O’Leary 2011 Shiraz ($50; $28 at the cellar door).

The wait time between dishes is fairly reasonable, and we’re served our first course quickly. I’ve ordered the seared scallops with shoestring fries – which are genuinely shoestring!

The scallops are served with spinach in a very generous lime butter sauce. Something that strikes me throughout the meal is that there’s a lack of finesse in the presentation and textures, but it actually doesn’t matter. It’s hard to argue with well-cooked meals with the right flavour combinations. And while the textures here are really surprising, I like them.

The country style pork terrine with eschalot jam and rocket also gets a big nod from the table (with strikingly familiar sourdough bread), as do the pan fried prawns with chorizo, combined with a mint yoghurt and tomato and avocado salsa.

Pork terrine with eschalot jam, cornichons and sourdough bread

Prawns with salsa and chorizo

The solid-sized entree servings are followed by hearty mains. I’ve got the duck two ways. I’m not smart enough to tell you exactly what two ways they were, but I know the pink is a positive sign. It’s on a truffle mushroom crostini which does add some lovely texture, with a balsamic and herb (read: more rocket) salad.

Duck two ways with rocket and aged balsamic sauce

I get my fork into some of the lobster bisque sauce of the crispy skin salmon fillet with celeriac gratin and it’s beautifully creamy. The fillet mignon on mash is huge; one of the orders is a little underdone, but not so much that it undermines the dish.

Atlantic salmon in lobster bisque sauce

Fillet mignon on mash with onion jam

It’s time for dessert – but we’re given a little bit of time to settle our stomachs. The desserts feature the pointless pastry of doom which worries me, but fortunately the desserts are – regardless – excellent. (Please, please remove the pastry, Versatile. It does nothing.)

Chocolate brownie with pointless pastry

Sticky date pudding with vanilla bean icecream … and pastry

The sticky date pudding is perhaps a touch too light, and the vanilla bean ice cream being sooo far away from it in its own separate bowl means there’s no gooey melty ooze happening, but this can all be forgiven because the flavours are there.

It’s getting busy now (we’ve been there just under two hours), with a number of large groups. Fortunately, the angling of the tables means it’s not loud, but it’s a little bit longer to pay the bill.

Overall, it’s a very happy experience, with familiar food done very well with a touch of flair (if not a slight lack of finesse). It’s priced well, you know what you’re getting, and the flavours are there.  (Just please, please, get rid of that pastry.)

Date: Saturday, 5 July 2014

Where: O’Hanlon Place, Nicholls (Gold Creek)

Cost: $295 for four, including 4 x 3 courses, one side, and one $50 bottle of wine

Value for money: High

Worthwhile factor: Highly worthwhile

Want more? Try their website or Facebook page.

Versatile on Urbanspoon



4 Responses to “Versatile Restaurant, Gold Creek”

  1. whisperinggums July 15, 2014 at 12:15 am #

    Thanks for this Tara … I think I’ve been there for lunch but in an earlier incarnation a few years ago. I’m not really up on the north side though we used to go to Gold Creek a little in the past. Versatile is not a very exciting name is it? But the food looks pretty good. As far as I’m concerned looks are the icing on the cake, but I’m mostly interested in the cake which sounds like it’s ok from what you say here. We’ll have to put it on our list.

    • inthetaratory July 16, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

      I agree it’s a very plain name – particularly when there’s also Ellacure and Soju Girl under the group’s hat (much more interesting names!). I will have to do a few more restaurants down south soon!

      • whisperinggums July 16, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

        Oh, I didn’t realise that Ellacure and Soju Girl were related (let alone this one too). I’ve been to Ellacure – lovely but rather noisy inside – but not yet made it to Soju Girl.

  2. Gary Lum July 15, 2014 at 5:21 am #

    Great review Tara. Looks like a place to go.

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