The Small People are not so small any more. I blinked and another birthday had arrived. As has become custom, the four of us go out to dinner. With the Marito being a vegacquarian and our home meals centring around that, our identical little carnivores like to go out for a good steak. I knew that recently opened Bistro Guillaume’s steak frites would deliver, so off we went. Guillaume is presiding that evening, in a kitchen that seems to be a remarkable oasis of calm. He spots us playing a game of Uno at the table – a special birthday request of the Small People – and has a chuckle; I doubt its something he sees too often at his restaurants.
The restaurant itself is classic and spacious; dark floors, comfortable chairs, a smattering of banquettes. The staff are excellent, attentive and knowledgeable and we are very well looked after that evening.
We have our eyes on dessert so skip entrees that night and go straight to mains, though I do want to go back and try a few, in particular the steak tartare and the chicken liver parfait. They also seemed to be doing a roaring trade in the charcuterie plate.
But first some lovely Iggy’s sourdough arrives at the table with some house butter. I also start with a refreshing Guillaume Spritzer.
The boys get their desired Steak Frites, which they pronounce to be up to standard. The Bernaise, which we request on the side, is creamy with the right amount of vinegary tartness.
My confit of duck is on the small side compared to other mains but rich and delicious. The Small People, whose eyes tend to be bigger than their stomach, like it too.
The star is the whiting Colbert, Colbert being a French presentation technique. It is completely deboned, and there is some serious chef flair on display here. Totally delicious and the Marito generously hides his reluctance in letting us all try a bit.
Never ask Guillaume how much butter is in his Paris mash, he won’t tell you, just enjoy it. And the beans come with a tasty pistachio pesto, though I did not expect them to be cold.
There are a few individual desserts on offer like the apple tart and the profiteroles, which one of the Small People opts for. The waiter goes to drizzle chocolate sauce on top but the boys have their own idea and hold onto it for later. The vanilla bean ice cream is fantastically vanillery (yes that is a made up word).
The rest of us only have eyes for the Dessert Trolley, which attracts saucer type eyes from surrounding guests when the waiter wheels it over. For $25, you can try a bit of each, or as few or as many as you want. I say to our waiter, “So if I just want Paris brest and nothing else, would you just give me half of that wheel?”. “Pretty much”, he replies.
We opt for the lemon tart (the Marito says One.Of.The.Best.Ever), the Paris brest (gorgeously rich and with pronounced hazelnut cream, as it should be), Mille Feuille (wonderful pastry, but overall not as good as the one I had at Jacques Genin in Paris, but I’m being picky), and chocolate mousse (devoured by Small People, not my kind of thing).
No sweet tooth? Choose from the cheese trolley instead.
If you don’t want a sit down meal, on the side you can grab takeaway coffee, sandwiches, quiches, and tarts. There was also a rumour floating around that he is planning to air freight in croissants from Melbourne’s famed Lune – hope so, I’m lining up for the almond.
You wanted it to be a Taste of Paris, Guillaume? I think you’ve done better than that.
Bistro Guillaume Sydney, 259 George St, Sydney Ph 02 8622 9555