Entering Bistro Guillaume brought a smile to my face for feeling like I had stepped clearly away from the usual Perth dining scene. Its classy modern feel is given character through the French provincial surroundings - green tones and French architecture lines. The seating consists of some larger boothes, modern table seating, as well as an outdoor section that overlooks the pool that would be great as the weather warms up.
Completing the French experience, we found that a good portion of the wait staff had French accents. For an opening night, I have to say I was pretty impressed with the level and quality of service. The wait staff weren't quite at the stage where they were always there when you needed them, but otherwise they were attentive, well mannered and helpful.
The menu is presented on the table as a placemat and can be viewed here. Of course the menu specialises in French or modern French and includes some French specialties such as escargot (snails), steak tartare, duck confit, lemon tart, and of course... French fries - no, really! Being a Bistro, the selection isn't extensive but it does offer a good range of meats and fish but the vegetarian or vegan may struggle a little here.
Bistro Guillaume also offers a fully licensed experience with a range of modestly priced (as far as Bistro fine dining is concerned) wine list with a good selection of wines including Australian and of course French wines. The bottle of French red we ordered was a flat $100 which seemed quite mid-range amongst the various wines on offer. There's also an extensive cocktail menu and you can even go up and watch the bartender make your cocktail.
The complimentary bread was served nice and warm - not just lightly warm but at a nice deeply warm temperature throughout. The bread had a very crusty surface and the inside was light and very airy - almost like a very airy crumpet.
The bread was served with butter that was so soft and smooth it almost felt like it melted as you cut through it.
A great delicious start to the meal.
Escargot en persillade - $25
I'm usually a little wary of the escargot (or snails) as the last time I had snails they were very strong in snail taste - too strong for my liking.
This dish on the other hand was quite pleasant. The snails, which were served on a quaint dish allowing for one snail per indent on the plate, still had a light (we'll call it) "earthy" flavour but were otherwise tender and melted in the mouth. The waiter likened it to oysters kilpatrick and in terms of texture I can see why.
The snails were cooked with (a common) persillade sauce, which contained ingredients including oil, garlic and parsley - all of which were very prominent in the sauce. I also detected a hint of parmesan which seamlessly added its nice salty flavour to the dish.
Berkshire pork belly with salad of lentils, green apples and tarragon vinaigrette - $37
The pork belly was cooked amazingly tender that it tore effortlessly with the knife and melted in the mouth. The pork belly was uniformly infused with seasoning and was relatively juicy. However, as warned by the waitstaff, the pork belly was cooked soft throughout - so don't expect crispy pork crackling.
The pork belly was served with (the somewhat common for pork belly) lentils on the base, wafer thin slices of green apple salad with a tarragon vinaigrette, and more of the delicious pork jus.
Rangers Valley sirloin (300 day grain fed), crispy kipfler potatoes, watercress salad, bearnaise sauce - $42
This sirloin was my favourite mains of opening night. The sirloin (cooked medium rare) was pink through a great portion of the steak and buttery smooth with every bite. The sirloin had been char-grilled and had a noticeable grill/charcoal flavour that coupled with the sirloin flavour was amazing to me. I usually prefer steak that hasn't been cooked on the grill but this might have changed my mind.
The steak was topped with a rich bearnaise sauce - lightly acidic, smooth and creamy, and packing a rich complex flavour with herbs that may just make this the best bearnaise sauce I've had to date.
The kipler potatoes were a little like wedges - though a little thinner and definitely crispier. The potatoes were seasoned and were perfectly matched to the sirloin dish.
Venison tenderloin with beetroot, parsnip and horseradish - $40
The venison, ordered medium rare, was cooked perfectly - also pink in the middle and buttery smooth. In comparison to the sirloin, the venison had a denser texture (though as tender as a tenderloin can be), no charcoal taste but instead a slight gamey flavour.
The venison was served with firm but tender parsnip strips and baby beetroot quarters and leaves, a beetroot puree, jus, and a hint of horseradish. With the full-flavoured jus and the sweet beetroot puree, this venison dish seemed well presented for a venison dish.
Paris mash - $9
My cousin, who had previously been to Guillaume at Bennelong, told me to try the mash - so I did!
This "Paris" mash was like no other I'd had before. Smooth, rich, creamy, buttery, the mash was silky smooth and seasoned perfectly (seasoned well, but not salty). The mash had a consistency a little like whipped cream, very light and creamy as opposed to overly fluffy and heavy - for a mash it seemed almost decadent in taste and texture.
Chocolate souffle with pistachio ice cream - $22
The chocolate souffle looked very impressive served in a small copper souffle dish and the top noticeably risen high above the top of the dish. As soon as it was placed on the table, the waiter took the quenelle of pistachio ice cream and inserted it through the top of the souffle.
We thought the chocolate souffle had a taste and texture more like a mousse as opposed to a cake, like there was cream in it. It was rich and sweet in chocolate flavour and very light and smooth in texture with tiny bubbles uniformly throughout.
The subtly flavoured pistachio ice cream melted in the warmth of the souffle and made this dessert even smoother and creamier.
Definitely for the chocolate lover.
Lemon tart with creme fraiche - $18
This classic lemon tart was for me pretty amazing and definitely indulgent as far as lemon tarts go.
The pastry was super thin and short. The lemon filling was dense yet light, ultra-smooth and was almost creamy in the mouth. The tangy-ness of the lemon was very prominent, lightly balanced with sweetness but definitely retaining that zesty acidic lemon flavour.
The lemon tart was served with a small quenelle of creme fraiche which also had a light tanginess and a smooth and dense consistency. Whilst it complimented the lemon tart, by this stage of the meal it seemed a little too much - not that it didn't go with the tart, but that we were loosening a button or two.
We liked: Great modern French food; great French provincial bistro decor making a classy modern atmosphere; great service.
We didn't like: Nothing significant.
Other things to note: Fully licensed; bookings highly recommended; if you go close to the opening you may get to meet Guillaume Brahimi himself!
Great Eastern Highway
Burswood WA 6100
(08) 9362 7551
Seven days a week - 5:30pm till late