Welcome to Melbourne Foodie. The blogspace of a young foodie with a passion for cooking, fine dining and quality food and produce.
Melbourne Foodie, along with the other sources I write for is my way of casually expressing and recording some of the experiences I have had for others to enjoy. I always welcome any feedback,
comments or restaurant suggestions you may have and would love to hear from you soon.
MUST VISIT SOON: Livingroom, Hare & Grace
MOST RECENT FEASTINGS: Pei Modern, Sarti, PM24, Vue de Monde
BLOG OF THE MOMENT: I Eat Therefore I Am
Bistro Guillaume is located riverside at Crown, neighbouring Rockpool. It occupies the space which was formerly Prada, and its fit out (costing a whopping $10 million) is about style and opulence. The entry point is simple, but classy; a small sign on the exterior pointing to what lies inside.
Service is strong from the moment you arrive with a door attendant welcoming you and the friendly staff showing you to your seat. I am seated at the rear of the restaurant, along a wall, which has the disadvantage of being uncomfortable as your arm leans against it. I think banquette seating along the walls would possibly have been a better choice. The room is decorated nicely with a French bistro theme throughout. Padded chairs (worth a grand each), fluffy light fittings and lots of cream colours and wood finishes throughout. Tables are also dreseed with thick patterned white linen and set with quality sant andrea cuttlery, laguiole steak knives and good stemware. Great sums of money have been invested throughout. As well as the restaurant proper there is also a bar down stairs, which I cannot comment on as I did not enter.
Things start off with bread; a crusty baguette slice, which is served without any butter or oil, until it is later requested. My waitress is keen to tell me about many of the dishes on the menu including the plats du jour, which I consequently order and is always friendly and eager to try and help. Most of the staff seem fairly enthusiastic though some lack finesse. The gentleman taking my dessert order seemed to lack any knowledge. Tell me about the tarts - well one is raspberry and the other is peach. I could tell you that the raspberry tart is an individual, round frangipane tart, encased in a perfect shortcrust pastry topped with fresh raspberries and sided by a quinelle of house made pistachio ice-cream. Surely that sought of a description is not too difficult. Most of the others I encountered were more knowledgeable however, though something I witnessed did disturb me greatly. The maitre'd screaming at a young waitress: "what the hell are you doing, put that back right now" as she had removed both table cloths when resetting a table. Surely this could have been done much more discreetly with an offer to assist, rather than yelling at her and storming off. Enough said about these matters though, here is my summary of the food.
terrine du jour - rabbit ($22): An excellent terrine, constructed with confit rabbit meat, stock and tarragon, a dominant ingredient in the food here. The terrine is sided by an excellent spiced plum chutney, a herb salad and some toasted croutons. A very good starter, the sweetness of the chutney melding perfectly with the rabbit. The seasoning throughout is spot-on.
Roasted Flinders Island Lamb - Thursday's plat du jour ($38): Chef buys the whole lamb I am told - the leg is used for another dish and the remaining meat (chefs choice), is used to create this excellent dish. Here we have perfectly roasted lamb loin cooked to medium rare alongside slow roasted shoulder mear, which is cooked to tender perfection. The accompaniments are a tombe of sauteed olives, garlic, cherry tomatoes and green beans. All perfect flavours, the plate finished with an exceptional, light veal and tarragon jus. I really enjoyed this dish, and once again the seasoning was just right.
Gratin Dauphinois ($8): A good, creamy potato gratin. Just one of the available sides.
Seasonal tart - raspberry ($22): A very good tart with a perfect shortcrust shell, filled with a light frangipane filling (an almond cream mix) and finished with fresh raspberries. It is sided by a quinelle of very good pistachio ice cream and is an enjoyable, albeit fairly expensive end to the meal. I mention this mainly because other restaurants in this class, eg. Bistro Vue can offer excellent desserts of a similar quality for around $12.
Extras at Bistro Guillaume are expensive - Sparkling water (Santa Vittoria) is $10 for a 750ml bottle and coffee is $5 without petit fours - ouch!
MY RATING: 16.5/20 - Food 8.5/10 Service 4/5 Ambience 4/5
Bistro Guillaume is a welcome addition to the Melbourne dining scene. I look forward to tracking its progress in the near future. Highly Recommended!
Now I just have to try out Melbourne's other hot new restaurant, also at Crown: Guiseppe Arnaldo and sons. Hopefully next week.