Ooh La La: Beautiful New French Bistro, La Bastide, Has Just Opened In Shenton Park
Talking to Michelle Natta and Rob Breden in their brand new, charming French bistro La Bastide, there’s a fair bit of serendipity in the air.
Located on the leafy streets of Shenton Park, the restaurant is as classic as it gets, influenced by the substantial time the couple has spent in Provence and their passion for high-quality wining and dining.
“We had our first date here at Petit Mort,” Rob tells us. “We loved that degustation concept. I have a wine importing business so I’d been supplying Todd Stuart for about a decade, he was one of my original customers when I moved back to Perth.”
“When he told me he was leaving, my first questions were ‘What are you going to do?!’ and ‘Why?!’, and then a few days of ‘Are you still going to buy some wine from me?’… But then the penny started to drop, what’s going to happen to the space?”
The sudden closure of a Perth institution was met by a serendipitous return of Rob’s brother Tim, who after 20 years as a chef in London and over east (including stints at the Dorchester and later, across a number of Merivale’s fine dining venues), was ready to come back west. The building’s renovations were undertaken by architects PROEKT, who were just across the road. Even Giacomo Moriero, the front of house manager, came to the venue through chance.
“We were having a project meeting one day in the front room before it was redone, and he knocked on the window!”
“It really felt for us like an opportunity coalesced,” Michelle adds. “Rob’s imported French wine for many years, his brother is a classically-trained French chef, my background is marketing and branding… It had been something we’d thought about, but never really contemplated seriously actually doing until the opportunity of this venue presented itself, and then when that happened it was almost a decision that we made without even thinking about it because it made so much sense for us.”
“A suburban bistro that really caters to the local community, that’s all about really good French wine, really good French food, and a community feel. You can come for breakfast on the weekend, for lunch, for a drink, or you can come for dinner – and you can come because you don’t feel like cooking on a Wednesday night, or to celebrate a really special birthday. It can be so many different things for different people, and it felt right on so many different levels.”
So, what can you expect at La Bastide?
The menu is fittingly classic, starting with plenty of nibbles perfect for whiling away an afternoon with a glass of wine – charcuterie, Great Southern Groves olives, homemade duck rillette, caviar, oysters and croquette-monsieurs.
Entrées and plats principaux continue the theme: steak tartare, Rose Mallee sirloin steak frites, and Wagin duck with pommes dauphinoise all make an appearance.
Drinks-wise, Rob’s passion for French wine is on full display.
“Because Rob has such a connection to France in terms of wine, and he’s been importing French wine for so long, the wine list is his baby.”
“It’s really very extensive, and it’s quite unusual in that it’s got a lot of aged and rare, particularly French wine. And a lot of aged wines by the glass. We just wanted to make sure that these wines are available for people to try – you can order three different wines that you may never try otherwise because you usually can only try them by the bottle, but here you can try them by the glass. The wine list is actually really interesting and quite different.”
“But we don’t want it to be intimidating,” Rob adds. “At the moment we’ve got 12 reds, 12 whites by the glass, and three champagnes/sparkling – that gives people plenty of choice by the glass with different price ranges, difference varieties. Half bottles, as well.”
“Half a bottle with your entrée, half a bottle with your main!” Michelle laughs.
Weekends also see the bistro open for a continental breakfast, serving up coffee and orange juice alongside Miller + Baker croissants and pain au chocolate, as well as baguettes served, French-style with butter and jam.
“Sitting on the terrace, casual and relaxed!”
La Bastide is located at 225 Onslow Road, Shenton Park.