Golden Boy, Adelaide

There is much to be said about a trendy restaurant, filled with 30 somethings, sipping on colourful cocktails and eating inspired food.  And hats off to the creators of Golden Boy for producing an atmospheric, glam space out of a small dark corner of the Botanic.  But for a restaurant to become a mainstay in an already crowded market, sustaining its chic and shiny appeal, consistency in food quality and presentation is a must and in my opinion this is where Golden Boy fell in a heap.  Having heard great things and continual comparisons to Chin Chin in Melbourne, Priya and I couldn’t help but give Golden Boy a shot.  Initial impressions were pleasing, promptly greeted by a waiter and without a booking quickly seated at a long communal table dominating the center of the small space, buzzing atmosphere.  Drink order taken without delay, menu explained, drink arrival and orders put through. Priya enjoying her watermelony, herbaceous cocktail and the both of us thoroughly entertained as the group along side announced the imminent arrival of a newborn. Then the food arrived, and cracks began to appear. The first meal to the table was the Pad Thai, which one would expect to arrive last, after the more shareable small plates. It was enjoyed, but most Pad Thai’s are enjoyable – hence their popularity. Next up was the cucumber salad, which disappointed on every level, from the preparation of the vegetables to the meager dribble of dressing, needless to say it was left partially touched.  An interesting dish was placed on the table seconds later and happily took our minds off the salad. A chicken sambal with raw veg for dunking, which we were informed was new to the menu.. and thank god it was. This dish was the standout for us with the fresh crunch and differing flavours of the raw veg dipped into the salty and sweet sambal, perhaps the best was yet to come? No, the sambal was to be the peak of the meal and the two following dishes would be a test to anyone with high blood-pressure. The soft shell crab curry in elegant print on the menu sounded outstanding, but in food form was less to be desired.  The first bite seemed innocuous enough, however as the second and third mouthful went in, the levels of salt poured into the crab batter became apparent and overbearing.  I found my water glass emptying more frequently and then the insipid cucumber salad became my only respite, Priya agreed.  After one mouthful of the final dish, crispy barramundi, which must have been battered in the same saline solution as the crab, it had to be returned – a Boy Meets Girl Meets Food first. The volume of fish in between the batter was non-existent and the salt made it inedible. Priya took charge of the situation, and the waitress gladly removed the plate and comped it off our bill.  Polishing off the edible remains of our meal, we left wondering how something that could start off so promising could end so poorly, perhaps like the trajectory of Golden Boy’s success?


DSC_0173priya’s watermelony, herbaceous cocktail

DSC_0175pad thai w/ chicken, tamarind, tofu, garlic chives

DSC_0176chilled cucumber & corn salad

DSC_0178coconut sambal of minced chicken, kaffir lime, lemon grass, salty crab w/ apple eggplant & snake bean

DSC_0182red curry soft shell crab w/ kaffir lime and fresh green peppercorns

DSC_0186crispy Barramundi in chili & lime sambal w/ water spinach and thai basil

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