Le Rebelle, on Beaufort Street near the Astor Theatre, is the new French kid in town amongst the hustle and bustle of the Mount Lawley strip.
It looks a bit like a a converted pub and is on two levels. As we walked in, we were seated on the lower level. My first observation was that the seating is not very comfortable, in fact it is really uncomfortable. A mixture of booths where the seat is too deep to lean back comfortably and stools with no back. Upstairs there are tall tables with tall stools, so not much better up there.
My second observation was that we had to shout to have a conversation. The music was quite loud and other diners were shouting to be heard above the music, which made the noise levels even worse. Even the waitresses had to shout.
My third observation was the darkness of the venue – it was impossible to read the menu without using my phone light, and I understand that the lighting is important for ambience, but I also like to see what I am eating, and I didn’t find the dimness appealing.
The waitresses were lovely, and the menu full of tempting options.
We started with blue manna crab on toast, with lemon mayo and pickle. This was really good and probably my favourite dish of the meal. The toast was fresh and buttery, and the crab also fresh and good quality.
This was accompanied by double spiced crispy shrimp with slaw and cocktail sauce. Nice big shrimp, cooked well and great crispy slaw to go with it and a hint of wasabi throughout.
Kingfish crudo with apple, kohlrabi and poppyseed continued the deliciousness. Again fresh, quality ingredients, well constructed and thoughtfully executed.
We had a bit of a wait for our last two dishes, and while we sat and shouted conversation to each other, some guys a few tables away (who had been swearing very loudly) got up to greet some friends right behind us, and were continually bumping our table and my companion, and it was quite an uncomfortable situation. I understand that the owners of the venue put the tables close to create a fun intimate atmosphere – that works great when everybody is friends – not so great when your neighbours are drunk, loud and clumsy. It was all a bit awkward.
When we eventually received the aged beef fillet with sauteed mushrooms and peppercorn sauce, it was a delight. A great variety of mushrooms, and perfect melting steak.
We chose the salad to go with it – endive with pumpkin and a citrus dressing – absolutely yummy.
So in summary – the food was great, really good, and it’s clear that the ingredients are quality and the dishes well thought out. My personal experience of the rest of the meal was uncomfortable. It’s no good serving top class food if your guests aren’t comfortable in their seats, and I am sure I can’t be the only one who left with an aching back and sore throat.
A few simple changes would make this an amazing venue.