Unfortunately I did not get the chance to eat at Guillaume Brahimi's flagship fine dining restaurant, Guillaume at Bennelong, before they closed their doors at the end of 2013. I tried they were all booked out over a month in advance. Oh well, I will need to wait til April when he re-opens in Paddington. For the meantime, I will have to settle for Guillaume's interpretation of the French bistro at the Crown Complex in Melbourne, Bistro Guillaume. I decided to come here for dinner with my work colleagues after a long day of meetings, so Bistro Guillaume would be the perfect location to unwind.
The moment I walked into the restaurant, I noticed how close this resembled the French bistro. The entrance is bright green. Wooden tables and chairs. Wine glasses, white napkins and large menus on the tables. The specials on blackboard menus. French waiters and waitresses. The list goes on but it's like you have been transported from Melbourne to Paris!
|Steak tartare with pommes gaufrettes ($24)|
|Spanner crab salad, avocado, cucumber and coriander ($24)|
|Chargrilled king salmon, confit of leek and fennel, olive tapenade, lemon vinaigrette ($36)|
|Lemon tart ($18)|
Other than the generous portion size, I really liked this lemon tart. The lemon curd was thick in size, was quite sweet but nicely balanced by the sourness of the lemon. The texture of the curd was divine - it was smooth, soft and creamy (though quite rich because of the size). I loved the addition of the thin brulee layer. The flavour of caramelised sugar goes well with a sharp lemon curd. The tart also came with a little quenelle of creme fraiche to cut through the lemon curd, although I thought I needed more of it or better yet, a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
I really enjoyed my meal at Bistro Guillaume. I think this is certainly one of the better French bistros that I have tried in Australia. Amongst many other things, Bistro Guillaume is something else that Melbourne has over Sydney in the dining scene (even Perth has Bistro Guillaume)! Come on, Guillaume please open a Bistro Guillaume in Sydney :) I think we might need to wait for the opening of Crown Casino in Barangaroo for our own Bistro Guillaume (which won't be for many years).
Highlight: All the dishes I tried were enjoyable, but I liked the steak tartare the best.
Lowlight: I was incredibly stuffed by the end of this meal due to the generous portion sizes, so needed a leisurely stroll afterwards.
Overall: Bistro Guillaume is a faithful recreation of the French bistro in Melbourne. It's everything that you'd expect from a bistro. It's casual so you can enjoy a relaxing meal. And the food comes in generous portions, it's comforting and it's delicious. Will be back to try other French classics like onion soup. 7.5/10 (Great)
Contact no: 03 9292 4751