Posts Categorized: Crown Casino

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 old Bistro Guillaume is the puff ball dress-style lamp shades, the $140,000 comfortable bentwood chairs, and some of what was on the menu. For instance, steak frites with a béarnaise, which in 2008 cost $35 and now $36. What’s gone is the $250,000 wine list and the pomp and circumstance. In fact, Guillaume has discovered Victorians wines such as Mayer, Crawford River and William Downie. The half a roasted chicken with Paris mash and chicken jus at $35 is worth looking out for as is all the other bistro fare – the charcuterie plate, steak tartare, onion soup and so on. I’m guessing that the daily $34 specials – I fancy Beef bourguignon on Tuesday and Bouillabaisse on Friday – are also worth a try, for boozy lunch on the terrace on a sunny day. And lets not forget the gorgeous lemon tart or the cheese platter to finish.

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 gaming floor and crowds. The concept of Spice Temple, Neil Perry’s spin on spicy Chinese food, which avoids the Cantonese clichés and draws inspiration from the regions, equally works in Sydney. Or anywhere else that Perry plans to open one. The spice which in my book is a little subtle in both Sydney and Melbourne. But that probably suits the international and high-end business crowd who will like the pastle-coloured cocktails, highly refined versions of Asian dishes, a decent but pricy wine list and excellent service. We started with Fried squid with whole five spice and dark chilli paste at $26 and a half-sized bamboo prawn, also costing $26. Both were fine. There’s nothing more or less to say. Hunan style Blue Eye The Steamed Blue Eye fillet, Hunan style Salted red chilli and pickled green chilli was a different matter. Soft and moist, the cooking was a precision job and the presentation is stunning, half green, half red. Our favourite dish, and one half doesn’t eat desserts, was the beautifully textural elegant Rose granita with fresh lychees and strawberries and almond milk jelly ($14). I liked the contrasts of warm and the icy crunch with the soft. Rose granita