WITH the weather so cold, there are no ends one might go to dine at the hearth of a blazing fire, the very prospect that drew me to dinner at the quaint Fireside Inn in Goulburn.
Mock Tudor and delightfully chintzy, its centerpiece is a magnificent, large fireplace, which seemed that night a little log deprived, a victim perhaps of the risk of roasting diners with too big a blaze.
Entrees of soup (pumpkin, potato and leek) and pasta rotolo ($16) were ordered. Hearty and hot, the soup ($12) arrived sans bread. The pumpkin rotolo was generous but unevenly heated, which was reported to the waitperson who promised the kitchen would be alerted.
Mains of duck ($35) and fish fillets in leek filo ($34) followed in reasonably short order, delivered by a man who earlier had been trying to spark more life out of the sole flailing log charged with heating the entire restaurant. The service style, for fine-dining, was casual, with food served face on across the table and not, more deferentially, to the side.
The moist and generous serve of fish fillets wrapped in pastry sat on a bed of mashed potato and pea puree. A good comforting choice for a cold night. The duck alas, less so. My fellow diner struggled with the toughness of the breast meat, leaving the pieces she was unable to cut. The accompanying tartlet of confit of tender duck leg and mushrooms seemed extremely salty to her taste. Again, on enquiry, the waitperson underlook to alert the kitchen.
But the kitchen took no responsibility for the tepid entree nor the toughness of the duck and the bill was presented in full, untroubled by an apology. Not so hot.
Regular dining reviewer Wendy Johnson is on leave and will return next week.