8 Whiteman St Southbank, VIC 3006
|Opening hours||Mon - Sun 12:00 – 10:00 PM|
|Features||Accepts bookings, Bar, Business lunch, Events, Licensed, Lunch specials, Outdoor seating, Pre-post-theatre, Romance-first date, Views, Wheelchair access, Gluten-free options, Vegetarian friendly, Family friendly, Private dining|
|Prices||Expensive (mains over $40)|
|Chef||Guillaume Brahimi, Graeme McLaughlin|
|Payments||Diner's Club, eftpos, AMEX, Cash, Visa, Mastercard|
|Phone||03 9292 5777|
I'm not sure what your idea of heaven is but I just ate mine. It was a savoury souffle at Bistro Guillaume and it was as jiggly, fluffy and intensely cheesy as my wildest dreams dared posit. A jaunty side salad of cress, green apple batons and walnuts was a sprightly, crunchy counterpoint to the roquefort richness.
It's the sort of classic French cooking you get here. Souffle, steak frites, snails and confit duck are all wrought well, ticking the boxes without doodling all over the page.
Ingredients are of high quality, preparation is on point, and service is crisp. You'll hear the occasional French accent but there's no extraneous ooh-la-la.
I needed all the world's ooh-las for the roast chicken anyway, a display of exemplary cooking that resulted in superb juicy flesh and just-crisp skin. It came with Paris mash, that is, butter and milk thickened ever so slightly with potato, and a deep, dark jus that was so good I almost punished the room with a spontaneous rendition of La Marseillaise.
Dessert is like meeting all your old friends at a party. "Oh, hello lemon tart! It's you, profiteroles! Oh, it's been too long, tarte tatin." I promise not too much time will pass before I catch up with my tarte tatin amie again because this apple pastry was a sweet, fruity, buttery delight. The lemon tart was a paragon of the genre too, with its bruleed top and pucker-up citrus tang.
I've always thought of Bistro Guillaume as a summer restaurant – that spacious riverside terrace, those naughty peek-a-boo bloomer light shades – but it's lovely to be here in winter.
The restaurant is a flexible, reliable option for pre-theatre, business dining, gossip sessions, Bastille Day celebrations, or simply to eat roast chicken while watching icy rain smash into the Yarra.
Rating: Four stars (out of five)