The Crown Complex in Burswood is so hot right now. The names are a roll call of the best (and coolest) restaurants in town: Rockpool, Nobu, Merrywell… and Bistro Guillaume?
The Bistro has a good reputation and a huge 16.5 stars in the 2015 Good Food Guide. Apparently you need to order the roast chicken ($75 for two people) – as it's the bomb, best in Perth. Unfortunately for us, we were dining on the pre-show menu, a limited three options per course designed to get you in and out before heading to the theatre. As such, roast chicken doesn't fit the quick brief.
King salmon sushi, not very French but delicious all the same
That being said, the staff don't seem to be in much of a hurry, even when half the restaurant are also dining on the theatre menu. You could feel the tension in the room rise about half an hour before the show was due to start as we all waited for our final course, and a hugely undignified line of men and women began to queue outside the two unisex toilets. There is nothing quite as unseemly as being in a line of people which extends into the dining room, all obviously waiting for the bathroom. Why there are only two toilets and why there is not a discrete waiting area, I cannot understand.
Toilet issues aside, it is a beautiful room at Bistro Guillaume. The room is broken into different sections, all with different and charming black and white floor tiles. Floor to ceiling windows let in the light, and tables on the balcony overlook the luxury pool area. A wall of glass traps a stunning display of leaves and reeds. There are mirrors and glittering lights, elegant couches and bursts of lime green add the much needed colour that is eerily missing is Italian restaurant Modo Mio across the way.
The full menu at Bistro Guillaume offers four dishes designed for two, including the roast chicken with Paris mash and tarragon jus, and a 9 wagyu sirloin for an eye-popping $150.
Entrees include both the very French: terrine ($22), liver parfait ($26), onion soup ($18) and escargot ($25), and the not-so-French such as the tempura prawns ($33).
There are three pasta/risotto dishes ranging between $36 and $40, and eight mains covering all the major proteins ranging between $37 for pork belly with pickled cabbage and apple salad to $44 for the Rangers Valley sirloin with crunchy potatoes and bearnaise sauce.
The pre-theatre menu offer three choices each for the three courses, and while they are not necessarily dishes presented on the full menu, they reflect the general style and quality of the dishes available. Drinks are not included in the pre-show menus, and while there are a number of wines available by the glass ($12-$25), bottle prices are heavily marked up and bottles of sparkling start at $75 and champagne starts at $138. We decided that the $20 cocktails were better value.
The king salmon sashimi was cut thickly and served with a crisp apple and shallot brunoise (tiny cubes). The large caviar balls popped in the mouth, although the peach puree underneath tasted very much like apple sauce and didn't add to the dish.
My pumpkin and sage risotto was a generous serve that I couldn't finish. Its al dente texture sometimes bordered on crunchy, but it was a tasty and warming dish. However, it didn't match the melt in the mouth beef fillet my husband ordered. The steak looked small on the plate compared to my enormous bowl of risotto.
We both selected the passionfruit soufflé with banana and passionfruit sorbet, as Bistro Guillaume reportedly has one of the best souffles in the state. It was rather impressive, although the banana and passionfruit sorbet reminded me of the flavour of one of my daughter's juice boxes.
The cocktail menu has some interesting choices, although my flirtini tasted exactly like the jam in a jam donut (which I happen to love, but I just didn't expect it in a cocktail). I then ordered a strawberry cocktail which was flavoured (and coloured) with balsamic vinegar: it was a welcome mix of sweet and savoury.
The outdoor balcony overlooks the pool, image courtesy website