Bistro Guillaume5/18/2008 11:02:00 PM
Finally the long wait is over! For all of you who were waiting for this post, (*ahem*... I should say both of you), I am now writing about our dinner at Bistro Guillaume.
Crown Entertainment Complex
8 Whiteman St
Southbank Victoria 3006
The space (formerly Prada) is beautiful. Marble benches, candles, French bistro chairs, dramatic petticoat-shaped lamps in the front section, (no, that's not the technical term, but that's what I thought when I saw them), patterned lamps in the back section. We were in a group of 5 for a special occasion, and got a table at the back, which happened to be quite private, and had banquette seating along one side of the table. (Wahoo, I love couches). The grey leather banquette was very comfortable and had mirrors above it. So, I sat in comfort all night; my brother sat on the opposite side and could admire his reflection in between courses. It was win-win! The only complaint about the atmosphere was that it was really cold all night! The air-conditioning must have been on high, and there was a vent right above us. Brr! We did mention this to a waiter, but it remained cold all night. No matter; I don't think the temperature is controlled by the staff anyway.
We don't tend to drink wine when we go out; we're not big drinkers, and wine at restaurants can make the bill soar uncontrollably. (Being concerned with money isn't glamorous I know, but I may as well be honest). However, my family does love a good aperitif! Aperol on the left, Pimms and cranberry on the right. Aperol is the French equivalent of my beloved Campari - it has a bitter anise flavour. Love it.
You receive quality, intensely chewy pieces of baguette, and butter with fleur de sel.
Seared scallops with cauliflower veloute, shiitake mushrooms and veal jus
Jamon Iberico served with olives, pimento, fennel and quail egg
Hunter Valley snails with buerre persillé
Mine: Rabbit Terrine, including cornichons, dijon mustard, toasted sourdough bread, and a cute little rack of rabbit.
We were so incredibly impressed by the entrées! Especially the scallops that my father and brother's girlfriend both ordered. They were perfectly cooked, and the jus was intensely flavoured - a great combination. I loved my terrine, not just for its flavour, but also its texture. Within the slice itself were whole pieces of tender rabbit meat, as you can see in the photo above. I believe that these pieces of meat would be the bunny-equivalent of backstrap or fillet, but I can't be sure.
Before I get on to our main courses, I should just admit to an embarrassing obsession with restaurant crockery and cutlery. The crockery at Bistro Guillaume was all Villeroy and Boch. (Yes, I turned the empty plates over to check). Their steak knives are very fancy Laguiole.
Look at the bumblebee detail on the steak knife! Oooh! Aaah!
Now, the food.
Steak frites, sauce à la bordelaise
Mine: Steak Frites, sauce béarnaise. "Hey, these are like Maccas chips but sooo much better!" I had been craving a good steak frites for weeks, and I'm glad to say that this one lived up to my expectations, if not exceeding them.
Bistro Guillaume fish and chips - whole whiting with pommes Pont-Neuf and buerre maitre d'hotel. Skilfully boned, delicately fried, very impressive.
Pan-fried fillet of blue eye trevella on celeriac purée, pommes allumettes, sage buerre noisette
Mixed leaf salad with shallot vinaigrette. Not just a lazily-thrown together side salad, but a deliciously refreshing selection of leaves, including tender red and white witlof, and a tasty dressing.
Eaten, but not photographed: a risotto with field mushrooms and Reggiano parmesan. When I first saw this on the menu, my first reaction was that it must be the vegetarian's punishment. However, having stolen a spoonful or two from my brother's plate, I found that it was, in fact, a delight for vegetarians and omnivores alike.
Comparison of the 2 steaks - notice that mine was rare, whilst the other was "medium-to-well-done". Both were cooked exactly the way we wanted them!
I am quite amazed that we managed to demolish such a large amount of food.
Having all thoroughly enjoyed our meals, we were greatly looking forward to dessert. I am sorry to say that 4 out of 5 of us were disappointed in this department.
First up, a nice coffee.
Cafe Latte - ooh, La Perruche sugar!
The next 2 desserts, the crème brûlée, and the soufflée, certainly looked very impressive...
Mandarin crème brûlée
... but were, unfortunately, way too sweet. With the first bite of my soufflé, I could already tell it was too sweet for my taste. I persevered though, and made it about halfway through before I admitted defeat. I'm not sure what you're supposed to do in this instance - the dessert wasn't poorly made, or faulty, just too sweet for my taste. Do you just send it back? Ideas anyone? My father ordered the same thing, and also found it too sugary. Oh well.
The brûlées, whilst not quite as sickly sweet as the soufflés, were still quite underwhelming. According to my mum and my bro's girlfriend were that it was (again) too sweet, too rich, just average.
My brother, however, ordered the lemon tart, which was divine. Crunchy base, soft, soft lemon interior. Why didn't I order that?
Despite the desserts, we all really enjoyed dinner here, and would definitely come back again. The atmosphere was lovely, the service was professional and prompt, although personally, I would preferred it if the hosts and waiters in general were a bit warmer. (Apart from the waiter who served our table, took our orders and explained the menus. He was very cool). We loved our entrées and mains, and even though they were pricey, we felt they were worth it.