Restaurant review

La Lune restaurant review: A French bistro delivers more bangers than a Daft Punk concert

The waitress, a young ‘ipster, informed us that La Lune, arguably the most exciting addition to Fremantle’s dining scene in 2022, is a New York version of the French bistro.

The team behind this cafe, wine bar and restaurant don’t need to travel the US conceptually – La Lune looks like a classic Parisian bistro.

Squint just enough and you might visit Les Deux Magots or Café de Flore, the famous brasseries on Boulevard St-Germain, rather than the 88-seater that opened in September on George Street in the heart of East Freo.

There was a lady sneaking her purse-sized dog treats to one of the small, impractical outdoor tables facing the road. There were bentwood cafe chairs and vintage liquor posters. Bottles of wine and pastis lined the shelves and decorated the beautiful mirrored room that buzzed with conversation on a sunny Friday afternoon.

Camera iconLa Lune’s main dining room captures the ambiance of a Parisian bistro. Credit: Natasha Kremers

You half expect to see Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec running after a pretty waitress or Albert Camus sipping champagne and tapping on Montaigne’s philosophy at The Moon.

Unfortunately the staff shatters the illusion with their friendly and knowledgeable attitude.

Co-owner Sam Davies (along with his wife Helen Pow) is passionate about wine and more than happy to share his expertise and opinions on a list leaning towards intriguing WA drops and a few French imports.

Would it have killed him to sigh in sheer boredom when asked about the options per 500ml carafe?

La Lune is a wine bar, cafe and restaurant.
Camera iconLa Lune is a wine bar, cafe and restaurant. Credit: Natasha Kremers

Likewise, the floor team led by venue manager Sarah Davis – you might recognize her from Madalena’s in South Freo as well as Cook & Mason just up the road from La Lune – are more than happy to guide diners through a menu loaded with more French bangers than a Daft Punk concert.

Again, would it have been so hard for Davis and company to mumble some Gallic profanity in low tones when questioned about the contents of the charcuterie platter or the fish of the day? (Rainbow trout, in this case.)

The French unfairly have a bad reputation for being rude, but my only experiences of being aggressive were being turned away from a bistro in Bayeux at 1:45 p.m. because lunch was due to end at 2:00 p.m., and some initial reluctance from a brusque waiter in Paris who thought I was just going to order a cheeseburger.

(Speaking of which, La Lune makes a classic – there’s that word again – cheeseburger, but with camembert.)

Wagyu steak tartare at La Lune.
Camera iconWagyu steak tartare at La Lune. Credit: Natasha Kremers

Either way, there was no looking back when my Francophile wife, Myra, and I arrived at East Freo, or Swan River Left Bank, just after noon. La Lune is not yet taking reservations, but had enough space to accommodate us, inside or outside.

We huddled at a small table by the window and were soon sipping on a superb Parisian martini (which uses a sweet, dark berry flavored creme de cassis, $18) and a Henri Bardouin pastis ($17).

We struggled to decide what to order from the menu designed by New Zealand consultant chef Jesse Blake (ex-Petition). One of everything wasn’t really an option, but luckily Davis and the young ‘ipster – both dressed in double denim rather than the crisp-collared white shirts and black waistcoats of your traditional boy – steered us towards a more than satisfying selection.

We opened the proceedings with the potato rosti ($22), a deliciously crispy flat potato cake served with cultured crème fraîche, chopped chives and salted salmon roe. The trio is designed to be assembled on the rosti in that order. Simple flavors that worked.

Unfortunately the staff shatters the illusion with their friendly and knowledgeable attitude.

The Foie Gras Parfait ($22) was creamy and had a strong flavor that played well with the cherry jam when spread on a grilled triangular crustless brioche.

Both dishes evoked this word: classic.

Likewise, steak tartare is the barometer of a good French restaurant. Costing $22 and served with beef fat toast, La Lune’s Wagyu Steak Tartare had a wonderfully rustic texture thanks to coarsely diced meat and finely chopped pickles, along with a welcome touch of tangy spices and dried eggs on top.

The tartare was slightly drier than normal but it was still a rock star dish, more Charles Aznavour than Plastic Bertrand.

We added some of the ordered bearnaise sauce with fries (one of half a dozen $10 sides) because we are heathens.

The bearnaise was slippery, not too tart or sour and heavy on the tarragon. We devoured it, but we believe that Le Rebelle à Mt Lawley remains the reigning champion of this typically Gallic condiment.

The dish of duck and lentils with a side of beans swimming in melted butter at La Lune, East Fremantle.
Camera iconThe dish of duck and lentils with a side of beans swimming in melted butter at La Lune, East Fremantle. Credit: simon collins

For the main course, we opted for the duck breast ($38), served on leafy lentils with pancetta and currants. It was an earthy, provincial dish with the evenly cooked tender duck, rather than the crispy skin and sparse interior.

We had a side of green beans ($10), which were topped with sliced ​​almonds and dipped in melted butter (classic!).

After watching several other diners eagerly crack the hard, caramelized top of their crème brûlée ($16), we had to have this bistro staple dessert.

La Lune serves it with a passion fruit cut in half and filled with sour milk. We shared a glass of Sauternes, the sweet wine from the Bordeaux region that pairs perfectly with the zesty passion fruit and creamy burnt.

The brilliant creme brulee at La Lune, East Fremantle.
Camera iconThe brilliant creme brulee at La Lune, East Fremantle. Credit: simon collins

Even that lovesick skunk, Pepe Le Pew, would kick his object of desire off his feet if he buttered her up with that dessert.

There is something romantically nostalgic about La Lune, where my wife and I were certainly not the only ones to remember this noisy bistro in Paris, this boujee brasserie in Bordeaux or this little café in Avignon.

Now you don’t even have to travel to get that certain je nais se quoi of the French dining experience.

La Lune isn’t the first or only high-quality restaurant in East Fremantle, but more than any other, this instant classic heralds good times for locals and visiting diners alike.

The Moon, East Fremantle.
Camera iconThe Moon, East Fremantle. Credit: simon collins

The moon

73 George Street, East Fremantle

OPEN

Wednesday-Thursday 7am-6pm. Friday-Saturday, 7am-10pm. Sunday, 7am-4pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday.

CONTACT

lalunefremantle.com

RESERVATIONS

Walk-in only

THE VERDICT

Beyond the pretentious lack of service, La Lune nails every aspect of the classic French bistro. The team led by Sarah Davis and Sam Davies maintained a blistering pace despite being understaffed. La Lune looks like a place you can go for quality coffee, a superb cocktail, or full French food washed down with intriguing wines. Will only get better.

15.5/20