Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Restaurant Review: Bistro Guillaume

Location: The Riverside at Crown
Link: http://www.bistroguillaume.com.au/
Cuisine: French

I was surprised with a 5 course degustation at Bistro Guillaume. I had high expectations when it came to the dining experience since I had been told it was the perfect place to take a date because the venue shouted romance and the food was to die for.
Freshly shucked oysters with shallots and red wine vinegar
This was my FIRST fresh oyster experience. I have only ever had baked oysters and I've always been afraid to try them raw but was very ready to take up the challenge. There were very good flavours. The red wine vinefar and the lemon juice really took away the 'fishy-ness' of the taste and the shallots made soft textures of the oysters more prominent. By the time I had finished the second oyster, I found myself enjoying the dish. Its true, oysters really do taste like the sea. Having said that, this is not something I would order again.. at any restaurant. Oysters just aren't my thing.
Sashimi of Hiramasa kingfish, parsnip puree and pommes allumettes
This was so beautiful and fresh. The flavours were subtle but this emphasised the freshness of the sashimi. The parsnip puree was delicate and mousse-like in texture. The pommes allumettes (in English, this can be directly translated to 'matchstick potatoes') went beautifully with the dish because it was crispy and brittle, in contrast to the other elements of the dish. They did not taste like your every day chips. Very refined, just the right amount of saltiness. Overall this dish had beautifully subtle and fresh flavours.
Pan seared Suzuki Mollaway, fricassee of squid, cockles, prosciutto, shellfish and parsley buillon
This dish was slightly dissappointing. Don't get me wrong, everything was cooked to perfection and it was a good dish but after the sashimi, this was a slight let down. There didn't seem to be enough prosciutto to go around - as the dish tasted its best when everything was eaten together, this definitely made a difference.
Beef tenderloin on a bed of Paris mash, braised shallots and merlot sauce
My taste buds got a shock when I took a bite out of this. The flavours were soooo strong. The merlot sauce was the real deal - rich and bold. Half way through the steak, I realised the flavours I had initially thought were strong had mellowed down and everything tasted balanced and lovely. The acid from the merlot sauce balanced nicely with the creamy mashed potatoes and the braised shallots had a nice tangyness to it. And as would be expected, the steak was cook to perfection. Pink inside, flavours seared, meat incredibly tender. With regards to my sudden change in opinion of the course, my dinner date suggested that this may be due to the fact that the previous courses we had been served had very subtle flavours and as a result, the flavours of this course had been heightened. But if this course had been consumed at the start, my taste buds would not have been in such shock.
Bistro Guillaume may have benefited from introducing palette cleansers between the courses?
Fondant au chocolat, soft ganache in the middle, glace a l'orange
Did I just die and go to heaven? Amazing. I doubt words will do it justice, but I'm going to try anyway. The beautifully hard and thin chocolate casing, snaps as my spoon breaks through it with a soft 'crack!', revealing the softest and smoothest chocolate ganache and a crumbly biscuit base. I make sure some of that delicious looking vanilla ice cream goes on the top of my spoon and I run my spoon full of sin over the orange glaze. Result: AMAZING The balance of flavours? Perfect. The chocolate case was dark (just enough of cocoa bitterness) balanced with the acidity of the orange glaze, which went perfectly with the creamyness of the icecream and soft chocolate ganache. Oh, and the chocolate they used was Varlhona chocolate!
Petit fours
Overall Impression: 7/10

The waitstaff could not be faulted for lack of effort but they lacked the refinery that one would expect. Apart from that, service was prompt and polite. Lovely ambience (not as romantic as I had imagined but still nice). Very very good dining experience.
Bistro Guillaume on Urbanspoon

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