Textbook French that didn’t fly off the page

Bistro Guillaume was recently transformed from a glitzy luxo diner to a restaurant that went back to bistro basics. So when the dishes are this simple and true to classic form, it walks a fine line between bland and superb. Such a balance is difficult to get right, however given the pedigree of the chef (yes name branding aside), steaks and duck confit should be a walk in the park.

Unfortunately these normally comforting foods failed to hit the high notes – beef was chewy despite being medium-rare, duck confit was not terribly succulent even though cooked in fat and profiteroles proved to be more show than wow. Comfort food like this should feel like a big warm hug, but we left with something more like a pat on the back instead.

Leg of duck confit with brussel sprouts, lardons and mustard - The meat came off the bone with ease but lacked succulence. I would've preferred more zing from the mustard to offset the saltiness of the duck and bacon.

Berkshire pork belly served with lentils and tarragon vinaigrette - Was advised that it was fine but not fantastic

Seared barramundi served with oyster mushrooms, spinach and beurre blanc - Fellow diner mentioned this was rather average in flavour, though the fish was cooked well

Steak frites with béarnaise sauce - Steak was rather disappointingly tough even though cooked medium but the saving grace were the chips. Crunchy outside, fluffy inside and satisfying all round.

Ratatouille - For some diners, their knowledge of a Ratatouille is limited to the kitchen rat from the movie. Nicely presented in a mini cast iron pot, it added nice colour as a side to the mains.

Profiteroles with vanilla bean ice cream and warm chocolate sauce - A drizzle of warm chocolate sauce is enough to make some go weak at their knees. However the theatre falls short with the ice cream brain freezing cold sandwiched by overly crispy choux pastry

Fruit Sorbet - It's hard to jazz up sorbet so kudos for its unique glassware. The sorbets were smooth without being memorable.

Come for

Classic French fare that walks a very straight line

Not for

Food that dazzles the senses or with a bit of edge

Will cost you

Mains around $35 with 3 courses circa $70pp.

Don’t miss

  • Soaking in the view of the Yarra River
  • French Fries er Pomme Frites

Give a miss

Eating bread over menu placemats

The Verdict

Food = 11/20
Ambience = 7.5/10
Service = 6.5/10
Value = 7/10
Overall = 32/50

Bistro Guillaume

Crown Entertainment Complex,
8 Whiteman Street,
Southbank, VIC
(03) 9693 3888

Bistro Guillaume on Urbanspoon

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