Chips seasoned with an Old Bay-inspired spice mix. Tempura prawn cocktail. Pavlova bolstered with sweet potato. The food at Le Rebelle, an intimate Beaufort Street wine bar and restaurant from veteran hospitality couple Sarah and Liam Atkinson, might sport plenty of kitchen flourishes, but everything on the menu is rooted in traditional cooking.
“It’s food that I and people I know want to eat,” says Liam, a veteran Perth chef who came up in demanding local kitchens such as Print Hall, Ku De Ta and Star Anise. “The menu lends itself to being both a neighbourhood bistro or a full-service restaurant and everything on the menu is designed to make you happy. It’s day-off sort of food.”
Ahead of this afternoon’s opening, the Atkinsons give Broadsheet first look at what’s on the menu. Here are five dishes we’re looking forward to taking for a test drive, stat.
Ricotta gnocchi, truffles, peas, cream
For this Italian-style (rather than French-style) gnocchi, Liam combines Parmesan, eggs, ricotta and flour and shapes them into small pillows (“they’re almost gnochetti,” he says) that he blanches and tosses in a pea veloute together with lemon and a house-made truffle sauce. His ricotta supplier of choice? The underrated Rose Valley Cheese Company in the Swan Valley. “I’ve used them since my days at Lawless Cooking [school],” he says. “They’re a good product and they haven’t priced themselves out of the market.”
Blue manna crab toast, lemon, mayo, pickles
“Who doesn’t like brioche, mayonnaise and crab?” Liam asks. He makes a good point. While this dish needs little explaining, the addition of pickled celery and shallots bring welcome brightness to the party.
Glazed Wagin duck, frites, bearnaise
“This is just a modern take on my favourite dish in the world: steak, frites and bearnaise,” says Atkinson. “You can’t go past it.” Guests will receive either roast breast or confit leg with neck meat, plus house-made chips seasoned with a sweet and salty Old Bay-inspired spice mix containing, among other things, smoked paprika, celery salt and fermented cabbage powder.
Szechuan-spiced crispy shrimp, slaw, cocktail sauce
Presenting Le Rebelle’s riff on the prawn cocktail: Start with big, Shark Bay king prawns, fry them tempura-style till crunchy, add dehydrated prawn powder and a zucchini and cabbage coleslaw, then finish with a classic cocktail sauce.
Sweet potato pavlova, masa
The classic Aussie dessert gets reinterpreted with the addition of sweet potato in the meringue before being teamed with honey ice-cream, Chantilly and passionfruit. Roasted sweet potato plus a dusting of toasted masa (corn flour) adds complexity to the dish. “I love using vegetables in desserts,” says Liam. “It adds a savoury note. It’s more like an Eton Mess, but I use the word ‘pavlova’ because we’re in Australia, everyone knows what it is, and we’re proud of it.”
Le Rebelle (676 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley) is open from Tuesday to Saturday.