Since last we went along to Little Guildford (at the corner of Terrace and Swan Street, opposite the Rose and Crown) they have acquired a liquor licence. A smallish list but with a number of wines sourced from the Valley – Upper Reach, Talijancich, Sittella as well as a few from other WA regions – Deep Woods, Cape Mentelle, Howard Park and Vasse Felix.
Our choice of Upper Reach’s Black Bream Pink was brightly coloured with tinges of orange around the edges, a lifted raspberry and strawberry nose, sweet on the mid-palate but finishing dry and crisp. A good food wine and of course well suited for the approaching warmer spring days.
It was inclement when we walked down last night, but we braved the elements and didn’t get too damp before we were seated inside at a table for two. There are a few different rooms in which to sit, while out front on the verge is a paved area, shielded by large fixed umbrellas, and surrounded by flower boxes, where customers can also eat. This night they were deserted but inside the place was filling nicely.
The large photographic print on the wall behind us showing streetscape as it was in the 1890s is a talking point for diners as they establish exactly what is still around and what has been moved on.
The menu is has been rejigged recently and as well a blackboard of the day’s specials is on display. Entrees included seafood chowder, chicken parfait and bbq ribs, while among the mains were beef fillet, Atlantic salmon, pumpkin and artichoke risotto and spicy green chicken curry.
We decided to share an entree, and order a couple of mains.
Our starter was a plate of mixed mushrooms – straw, button, field – served warm with melted taleggio cheese, a splash of truffle oil and sitting on a couple of slices of charred beetroot bread. Taleggio is an aromatic cheese with a tangy, fruity taste which complemented the slippery, earthy texture and taste of the mushrooms and the touch of sweetness from the bread. It was a giant step up from mushrooms on toast and worked very well.
The first of our mains was a red curry of prawns served with saffron rice. The prawns, served with their tails, were a touch overcooked and consequently a little soft, however the red curry sauce was spot on – picking up flavours of coriander, lime, chilli, sugar and salt, it was zesty and aromatic. The accompanying rice was well cooked, with an al dente texture.
Pork belly with scallops followed – the crackling on the pork was crisp and crunchy, and drizzled with a lime and ginger dressing. The meat itself was very tender, with a little fatty layer to provide added flavour and texture. Scallops were cooked nicely, retaining some firmness and topped by a salad of mint, lemon grass and shredded chillies.
Little Guildford continues to prosper – and they certainly have large crowds flocking along on the weekends for the breakfast/brunches they serve up – and on a cold morning the open wood fire in a drum on the footpath has diners clustered around it. Little Guildford appears to have hit on a winning formula of good food, cooked well, friendly and welcoming staff, and a top location in the historic heart of the settlement.
As a footnote, as we walked home we came across a police car stopping motorists for random breath tests – our decision to walk the short way, despite the rain, was well justified!