Crown Casino

Guillaume gets it right

Guillaume gets it right

The original Bistro Guillaume was an extravagant affair, a lusciously fitted out space with a scary wine list and prices that reflected it. The chef behind the restaurant, Guillaume Brahimi, admits he made a mistake. Now closed and reopened in the space that once housed Philippe Mouchel, he’s got it right with his head chef Graeme McLaughlin who was a sous chef at Guillaume at Bennelong and was at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck for four years. What remains of the […]

A Temple that needs more spice

A Temple that needs more spice

It’s very hip. It’s dark like a nightclub with individual lamps over each table illuminating the food. Not so dark that you could get away with the kind of nefarious under table hand shuffling that was reported in the defunct Bistro Guillaume bar that previously occupied the basement space. But dark enough to make any food photography futile. I could be anywhere in the world, but I’m in Melbourne in the basement dining room in Crown Casino insulated from the […]

The Atlantic storms into Crown with Cooke

The Atlantic storms into Crown with Cooke

Through the fishnet, Southbank at sunset. For a country girt by sea, how few really great fish restaurants are there in Australia, let alone Melbourne? Come to think of it how few fish restaurants are there at all, beyond fish and chip shops? Bacash in South Yarra is famous for fish. As is Esposito in Carlton, it’s baby sister St Peter’s and the Albert Park Hotel and all are worth the detour. Donovan Cooke barking orders at the pass. Then […]

Curry: At lunch with Atul Kochhar

Curry: At lunch with Atul Kochhar

Spice crusted scallops, grape and ginger dressing You can’t beat a good curry. The question is in Australia, where can you find a good curry? Some 15 years ago there were hardly any curry houses and even though now they are spotted around everywhere, few offer a really great dining experience. Usually what we are served is anonymous cuts of meat in generic curry sauces heated up to order. It’s miles away from the wonderful dining experiences of other ethic […]

Botanical $29.50 burger badly disappoints

Botanical $29.50 burger badly disappoints

My mission is to find inner-Melbourne’s best high-end burger and the Botanical was at the top of my list. Last year, invited by erstwhile executive chef Paul Wilson, I spent a pleasant lunch stuffing myself with oysters from the size of a fingernail to a fist. We tasted various breeds and cuts of grass and grain fed beef. And we drank. And laughed. But the real discovery was what I dubbed the best chips in Melbourne, constructed to the Heston […]

First night at Bistro Guillaume, a restaurant by any other name

First night at Bistro Guillaume, a restaurant by any other name

The Gordon Ramsay deal is still in it’s early days. At least that’s the Crown Casino corporate line. For the moment Bistro Guillaume is the final jewel in the crown up with (in reverse order of opening) Giuseppe, Arnaldo & Sons, Nobu and Rockpool Bar and Grill. Inevitably Ramsay stomping into Melbourne means that somebody, probably another restaurant, has to be kicked out of Crown to make way. Now there are two French places only separated only by Nobu and […]

It’s Giuseppe, Arnaldo & Sons and not Damien Hirst

It’s Giuseppe, Arnaldo & Sons and not Damien Hirst

There are no sharks in bondage kit. But there is something very Damien Hirst about the salumi (that’s Italian for cured meat) counter. It’s about chopped-up (and cured) bits of animal in a display case. Perhaps it is the backdrop of the curtain drawn across one of the five tiled dining areas in Giuseppe, Arnaldo & Sons that makes it look that way. The last time I saw something similar was a cow at the now closed Saatchi Gallery on […]

This is the best burger in Melbourne

This is the best burger in Melbourne

Worth it: the $15 wagyu burger. Now that’s what I call a burger. A Wagyu burger to be precise from Rockpool Bar & Grill at Crown Casino in Melbourne. The bun was more like a brioche in texture. The whole construction is designed to be eaten rather than slip out down my front. There was a thin slice of cheese inside but the real star is the meat, prime wagyu spiked with what can only be wagyu fat packed with […]

Snail risotto (or porridge?)

A couple of days ago we mentioned Heston Blumenthal’s critically acclaimed snail porridge. Now here is a recipe for snail risotto. The sad thing in Melbourne is that the one person who cultivated snails locally does it no more. So it was when we found ourselves at Southbank at the Crown Casino in the cafeteria for the high rollin’ The Brasserie of Philippe Mouchel for plain old but deliciously garlicky snails to find that there were pasteurised, tinned and imported […]