After weeks if not months of anticipation and fully booked venue, the little darling and I landed our booking at Guillaume’s bistro at Crown Burswood, the new restaurant from the renown Guillaume Brahimi. For me, this could not be a better way to celebrate our 29th Monthniversary, a date I came up with lols. As we arrived at the bistro, we were served but told that we could not be seated at our table as it was still occupied. After 15 minutes at the bar, we were finally seated.
Sitting down, one of the most notable feature of the restaurant was its quirky interior and how Guillaume has place his name all over everything. For me I liked the interior as it did not feel to cliché or pretentious. Then comes one of the most dreaded parts of the evening, the ordering process. On Urbanspoon, one user has even came up with a slogan for it called “French or Frantic”. Yes the restaurant was full but with so many waiters and waitresses on the floor it should not be that hard. After trying a few times, I finally got the attention of the waitress who mentioned that she was only here to serve bread and that taking orders were the task of the section waiter. Ok FINE… I shall eat my bread.Crusty Bread! Was pretty damn crusty on the outside but soft on the inside! Served with the obligatory salt flakes and butter, it was hard to fault although Bistro Guillaume being French, I was expecting a twist in its pastry kitchen. Maybe a small Croissant? Ok perhaps that was an insult to think that French only makes Croissant. But seriously, just a bread basket with 2-3 choices would not be too hard.
After a course of bread, our drinks arrived. Darling’s Strawberry Frostie and my Butterscotch.While the little darling’s drink tasted very familiar as she has mocktails every now and then, my cocktail of vodka, orange liqueur, and butterscotch felt delicious at first. And typically being alcohol, it tasted pretty bitter. But still a delicious treat for those not into drinks that taste too alcoholic!
I have always been a safe eater when it comes to my meals. It was always legged or some sort of fish that I would call. But being encouraged by fellow foodie Glenn of Glennlee and Chomp who reviewed this dish before, I ordered the Escargots En Persillade. Judging by what I was served, these tiny morsels which tasted no more than mushroom with an earthier note was covered in a delicious herb sauce. Not exactly sauce but rather a perfect mix of parsley, butter and a very obvious amount of garlic. As a first time Escargot eater, I was very satisfied. It did not feel chewy and neither did it stink. Probably the later was more important than the former. Eating this, I could not help but hoped that I was given more bread to polish every single bit of sauce of this dish. The bread given has this bloody outer crust that just won’t cooperate in absorbing all that delicious parsley butter! Luckily enough, the miniature spoon was handy in making this cumbersome task a whole lot easier! When I was done, I momentarily reflected on what makes a great dish while putting away the exotic ingredient because I felt like something was missing. And it did not take too long before I realized that the dish was missing some sort of depth in flavor. Yes, a few to share would have been absolutely stunning, but a dozen of these soaking in buttery parsley all for myself? I was too greedy.
For the little darling, she ordered the Onion Soup.Onion Soup, Old Bread and Melted cheese. Typically something soupy would have gone down extremely well with the little darling. But the onion soup at Guillaume’s was very rich in onion such that every scoop was filled with it. To some, that might be lip smacking but for the little darling, it was a little overboard. What she disliked even more was the fact that the soup was overly sweet. She was hoping for something a little more delicate, more subtle. The onions were ok but the sweetness was probably the thingy that she disliked the most. I had a bite too and was wondering whether is even possible for onion soup to have such sweetness. With no culinary knowledge, I can only assume that sugar must have been a component added somewhere along the line.
After finishing our appetizers, we talked and talked and talked and TALKED. As we were pushed for time, we patiently counted the minutes and it took the chefs a whopping 35 minutes to bring our mains out despite us mentioning a couple of times that we had a busy schedule planned for the night. Between the darling and I, we had a discussion about whether it was us being subjective because we were pressed for time but ultimately decided that it was just way too slow.
The mains:Veal tenderloin, Beet Root Puree and Baby Swiss Chard. This was for me really delicious. The meat was spot on. Being served with beetroot puree almost felt like a no brainer. Most gamey meat I have had always works with beetroot. Lamb especially. So it was no surprise how this dish went!!!! Beautiful sweet beetroot which was immensely earthy paired with an earth vegetable. Seriously a major amplification of taste. The tenderloins were in a class of its own which was fantabulous! Melt in your mouth feel was spot on. This one I like, but was this French? I could not care less.
For the darling, her dish was the spectacle for the night.. or at least it looked great!For $42, this really had to be a fish and chip with an achievement so high that one could easily pick the clouds after eating it. Presentation was really cool and unconventional with a fish split up to down when it is normally done the other way around. The chips were the fattest ones I have seen in a long time and even the lemon felt cut to impress. The fish came with a slab of parsley garlic butter aka beurre maitre d'hotel that was meant to melt and leave a lingering buttery taste to the fish. And very pre-maturely, the experience ended. Promised before hand was a beautifully filleted whiting, deboned, crumbled and deep fried. From the first few bites which ended just halfway through the fish, the little darling was struggling. Bones here, bones there and that was it. I immediately hailed for the Maitre D’ and expressed my dissatisfaction. He quickly offered a replacement which was a gesture of kindness but as we were short of time, I requested that it be removed from both the table and bill. Over all, the darling found this dish to be good but lacking in finesse. The proper removal of bones and a side serve of sauce would have definitely made its price worth it.
It was a moment of coma as I walked out of the restaurant. This certainly felt like a very premature ending to my night. There were no desserts, the dinner was not cheap as it amounted to $120 excluding the fish, the darling slightly unhappy and it all felt very surreal. Was this how my first French experience was to be? Unfortunately in Perth yes but luckily, not in my life. I lost it at Le Atelier de Joel Robuchon which was probably a very smart thing to do. Speaking of food, Bistro Guillaume was not by any standard crappy or lackluster. It was good. Perhaps very good for most people. But for me, it just was not great. If the little darling’s meal of fish and chips were added to the bill along with two dessert, it was very easily a $200 dollar meal; and that is my benchmark for fine dining where in all honesty, a picture this decadent bistro would never qualify. A bistro is still a bistro. Nonetheless, that does not mean I am not returning. NO that is impossible. Until that chocolate soufflé with pistachio ice cream please my mouth, Bistro Guillaume is not disqualified from a rematch.