Bite-sized Summary: Situated on Ash Street within the Ivy complex, Felix offers Sydneysiders an escape to the backstreets of Paris. In an atmosphere that is both lavish and charming, every detail has been considered to create a wonderful dining experience in all aspects of food, service and ambience. With an extensive menu full of French classics done exceptionally well, just make sure you leave room for dessert!
Early on a Sunday evening, Merivale’s Ash Street is quiet and still. Upon entering the glass doors into Felix, however, we are met with a lively, buzzing atmosphere, as if discovering a just past the heavy glass doors leading to Upon entering the glass doors into Felix Bar & Bistro, it’s suddenly loud and lively, and buzzing with waiters in bow-ties carrying trays of champagne
Chicken liver paté
To start, French classics like Gruyere soufflé and onion soup compete with freshly shucked oysters from the seafood bar piled high with prawns, lobsters, mud crabs and bugs. Yet it’s hard for me to go past the chicken liver paté ($24); a creamy, perfectly smooth quenelle paired with sweet currant relish, cornichons and warm brioche. Rich in flavour with a delicious, mellow sweetness, I only wish it came with a cracker or crouton rather than the brioche, which made each mouthful a touch too sweet for me.
[insert pretty steak tartare photo here 😜]
Regrettably, I didn’t get a photo of the steak tartare before it was mashed up, so let me paint a picture before showcasing the end product: A little basket containing an assortment of sauces and condiments arrive at the table. Minutes later, it’s accompanied by a neat cylindrical stack of hand-cut steak topped with a golden egg yolk, surrounded by little mounds of chopped onions, capers and gherkins. For a brief moment, I admire how well they’ve managed to make a pile of raw meat look pretty before our bow-tie clad waiter asks how spicy we’d like it. A dash of Worcestershire sauce, a sprinkle of Tobasco sauce and a dollop of mustard later, and voilà…
Yep, it’s not pretty, but if you love steak tartare, then you’ll know that doesn’t matter! Served with sliced sourdough croutons, it’s fresh, flavoursome and even manages to pleasantly surprise the tartare newbie at the table. Not the best tartare I’ve ever had, with my favourite just around the corner at Restaurant Hubert, but it comes damn close!
Grilled Ora King Salmon
For the (first) main event, we chose the grilled Ora king salmon ($40). Cooked to absolute perfection, this was perhaps the most beautiful piece of cooked fish I’ve ever eaten. Seared on the outside and perfectly tender, pink and succulent all the way through. This was complemented by bright, crisp steamed vegetables topped with a luxurious dollop of Montpellier butter rich in herb flavour. Simple fish and vegetables executed with a lot of skill and passion.
Felix Lamb Pie
We absolutely couldn’t visit Felix without trying their famous lamb pie ($37) filled with tender slow-braised lamb inside a glossy, shortcrust pastry shell. The perfectly formed dome sits on top of a neat bed of crushed peas, flageolet beans, leeks and mint, surrounded with a rich, flavoursome jus.
Seasonal Mixed Beans
On the side, we ordered the seasonal mixed beans with red onion and mustard ($12). Perfectly cooked to retain an element of crunch, with a strong but not overpowering mustard flavour.
The dessert selection is incredible: passionfruit soufflé with coconut sorbet ($22); Valrhona chocolate and hazelnut tart ($18); and Oeuf a la Neige (floating island” with poached rhubarb and Moscato anglaise ($18) – to name a few. Across our table of 6, we order the profiteroles ($20) and apple tarte tatin for two ($38) to share.
A plate of three generously sized profiteroles arrives at the table, sandwiching scoops of creamy vanilla bean ice cream. Drenched in dark chocolate sauce poured at the table, this is a decadent dessert, which cleverly balances sweet, velvety smooth ice cream with the crisp golden profiterole pastry, rich, bitter dark chocolate and a subtle saltiness from the caramel. Superb.
Apple Tarte Tatin
Oohs and ahhs ensue as the apple tarte tatin arrives at the table and the waiter cuts it into 6 portions, revealing a delightful crunch sound as the knife dives into layers of golden pastry. Three small bowls containing a single scoop each of extra cinnamon ice cream are scattered across the table; a lovely gesture considering the number of people present would struggle to share just one scoop.
The apples are beautifully caramelised, soft and tender, without being mushy whatsoever, which contrasts beautifully with the crisp pastry, coated in a sticky, shiny glaze. The crème fraîche laced with Calvados; an apple or pear brandy from the Normandy region in France lends a creamy freshness to the dish, which is finished with a dusting of fine edible gold glitter.
Almost stealing the limelight from the star of the show, however, was the cinnamon ice cream! Beautifully smooth and creamy with a gorgeous, delicate spiced flavour – we were incredibly grateful for the extra servings.
A true Parisian escape in the heart of Sydney CBD, Felix is another example of Merivale’s masterful ability to create a venue that ticks all the boxes when it comes to food, drinks, atmosphere and service. From the red awnings and rattan chairs, baskets of fresh baguettes, fringed lamps and tables draped in white linen, to the bow-tie clad waiters with French accents, every detail has been considered in creating what has to be one of Sydney’s finest French dining venues. The desserts were most memorable for me, so make sure to leave some stomach space or dine with a group to sample both the profiteroles and apple tarte tatin.
This post is based on an independently paid visit to Felix Bar & Bistro.
Felix Bar & Bistro
2 Ash St, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9114 7303
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