“Romantica!” exclaim the printed dinner plates in front of you. Indeed, Le Rebelle is intimate and feels characterised by an expression of love. Hospitality couple Sarah and Liam Atkinson pay homage to a traditional Parisian bistrot. Moodily lit nooks and crannies, artfully plated seasonal dishes and a short but expertly curated and compelling drinks list are the reasons to go, and the reasons to stay. I’m hooked as I walk through the door.
Set across three distinct spaces, there’s a drop-in drinking area, a mid-building mezzanine sit-up bar and a dedicated dining room at the rear. Choose your own adventure. Elbow-to-elbow with other guests is the order of the day; the place seems to be heaving constantly, so dive in and get cosy with your fellow humans.
The service is excellent – friendly but professional – and led by the effervescent Sarah, though everyone who appears at the table is enthusiastic and deeply versed in the food and drinks offerings. Liam is in the kitchen, hidden behind an original stained-glass window. The food focus is bistro classics, with an eye on local produce. It’s all so very charming.
The wine list focuses on artisan producers and avant-garde winemaking. Local West Australian wines are a feature, but there’s a national and global reach in the clever selection. At a glance, you’d say the list leans towards natural wines, but the collection is more democratic, and selected to work in tandem with the French-accented food.
Producers like Margaret River organic heroes Blind Corner are set alongside high-quality newcomers Corymbia from Swan Valley. Though the list is ever changing, the recent past has seen highlights like Victorian boutique producers Journey Wines alongside grower Champagne Laherte Frères.
Perhaps most interesting, and good with snacks, are the transient listings that include more obscure Beaujolais producers and the lo-fi winemakers of Loire.
While the main wine list is easy to navigate and dotted with gems, there’s a separate list of rare, upmarket and more esoteric bottlings for those seeking to further enhance their vinous evening.
Wine might be a focus of this column, and of the cohorts of visiting wine industry patrons and friends, but equally eye-catching is the rest of the drinks list: amaros, digestifs, aperitifs and variety of classic-leaning cocktails. It rounds out an offering that gives credence to the clichéd statement ‘love at first sight’.
Top Drinks: Beaujolais – The just-shy-of-medium weight, slightly ferrous, somewhat autumnal reds of Beaujolais seem so wildly appropriate. Ask for the latest offering. Lillet Blanc – it’s nothing overly imaginative or distinct, but a Lillet Blanc, used liberally in a cocktail, or indeed served neat over ice, conjures up appropriately Parisian vibes here.
Drink + Food Match: It’s hard to go past marrying crunchy Loire cabernet franc with the gamy richness of glazed Wagin duck and the accompanying crisp frites and mini jug of hedonistic béarnaise. What a combo!
Best Dish: The Wagin duck! That being said, there are so many hits on the menu. Ensure you dive into duck liver parfait and don’t miss the seasonal vegetable crudité with basil crema – perfect wine fodder.
OTHER PERTH BARS
264 Railway Pde, West Leederville, besk.com.au
Dining hall and bottle shop rolled into one. This cavernous, warehouse-like space is a rollicking, upmarket place to dive into natural wine, and craft and wild-fermented beer.
➼ Si Paradiso
446 Beaufort St, Highgate, si-paradiso.com
Totally my speed, this bar has morphed from an old, indoor-outdoor nightclub into a dive-like, pizza-slinging, natural wine-guzzling mecca.
➼ Shadow Wine Bar
214 William St, Northbridge, shadowwinebar.com.au
One of the best wine bars in Perth, bar none. An extensive and exceptionally chosen list, pro service, outstanding food. This bar is the real deal!