Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Published March 20th 2014
Very Highly Recommended Indeed
Dr Johnson once remarked to James Boswell, who was as usual listening, pad and pen in hand, 'That was a good enough dinner, sure. But it was not a dinner to invite a man to.'
However, had the good doctor lived in the Swan Valley he would have been very pleased to have been invited to dinner at Little Guildford.
Little Guildford is not pretentious, it has the feel and look of a first class family restaurant that also caters for singles, courting couples and long-married diners.
The tables spill delightfully out onto a broad footpath under shady vines, wonderful in the cool evening air.
The menu is not extensive, but wonderfully thought out covering all the most important aspects and concentrating on quality over quantity, although the portion sizes were generous to say the least.
Atlantic Salmon at Little Guildford (Photograph by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce)
We dined as a family, sitting inside in front of a huge mural of old Guildford, although we didn't spend much time gazing around, as we fixed on the menu very quickly, and found much there to entertain us.
Starters included Oysters, Bruschetta, Ribs, Pate and Chicken salad. The pate isn't pate as we usually find it, it's correctly called parfait having been finely sieved to give it a silky, smooth texture.
Bruschetta entree (Photograph by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce)
The 'Sticky Ribs' are available as either entree or mains ($18 & $34). I chose it to start and a wise choice it was, the meat thick, tender, succulent and the sauce, sticky as advertised, but delicious. Little Guildford also supplied a finger-bowl of lemon water, a nice courtesy, much appreciated.
The Sticky Ribs from Little Guildford (Photograph by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce)
Angela enjoyed her Bruschetta ($15) enormously, the bread thickly laid with slices of tomato, lettuce and onion on a plate neatly decorated with a rich Balsamic.
James and his companion did the smart thing and chose the 'Guildford Board' ($34) a sampler literally on a board consisting of tastings from a range of the best of the starters - a serve of the ribs, a pot of the partfait, Frenched drumsticks, grilled bread with Feta cheese and marinated olives.
More than enough for two and a wonderful introduction to Little Guildford's skillful way with food.
James chose a rare Fillet Mignon ('dainty steak') served with a strongly flavoured Swiss mushroom sauce, wrapped in the traditional bacon and served on on a slab of potatoes dauphinois.
A dainty steak (Phiotograph by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce)
Angela had a delicious dish baldly called 'Risotto' $26 (see, no pretension) but was a delicious mix of Arborio rice, truffle oil, Swiss Brown mushrooms and dusted with Parmesan cheese. This was served with minimal seasoning so that you could adjust it to suit your palate - blander for Angela, highly seasoned for me (as I ate rather more than 'just a taste, love')
My own dish of a Rib Eye Veal Cutlet ($37) was nothing short of perfection, served on the rare side of medium, tender, of course, and accompanied by an unusual side of cold potato salad using delicious baby Royal Blues.
The remaining, untried, mains were sufficiently tempting to encourage us to return as soon as possible, for example, Pink Snapper ($38) served crispy skinned with a white bean puree, olives, capers and capsicum sounded enticing indeed, as did the Lamb Cutlets ($38) with potato gratin and a harrisa jus. (If you're not familiar with it, Harrisa is a hot chilli paste from Tunisia).
The restaurant is BYO with a modest $3.50 per head corkage, for which the table service was superb.
The sweet course has every temptation for every susceptible diner. My own weakness is for Sticky Date Pudding ($14) with butterscotch sauce and Little Guildford's is as good as I've had anywhere and far, far better than most.
Sweet temptation (Photograph by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce)
Followed by a large mug of flat white coffee, this was a meal I shall remember with pleasure and repeat as often as possible. A wonderful evening and a wonderful meal. Book now.