The apt and concise name of one of Merivale‘s highly-rated restaurants, boasting one chef’s hat, sparked my interest when one of my closest friends picked the place for dinner. We hadn’t seen each other since I’d left for South Korea – only briefly emailing important updates, saving the details and more scandalous(? heh) topics for when we’d meet.
Merivale’s restaurants are all about the details, and there’s a certain element of perfectionism that I appreciate. The graphic design, interior design, lighting, music, furniture, tableware, staff, menu, wine list, business cards – each purposefully planned, precise, and smoothly delivered for consumers. Felix Bistro and Bar is a lovely French brasserie that immediately invokes a Parisian feeling. From the ceiling to the white tiled floor, even the immaculately dressed waiters, nothing is overdone or tacky but elegant, aesthetically pleasing. The dimly-lit, relaxed atmosphere and cheery, French-accented (I do love European-accented English!) staff made us feel at home.
I ordered the roast duck breast with braised red cabbage and cauliflower purée (you know I’m a sucker for duck) , and a glass of Villa Maria’s cellar selection pinot gris (New Zealand). I’d say I have more of a baby’s palate and don’t wholly enjoy coffee and wine unless it’s ridiculously sweet (dessert wines FTW!). I definitely prefer ordering dessert-like frappés, smoothies and cocktails. To my surprise, the pinot gris was fragrant and clean-tasting, not heavy, and easily enjoyed with my dish. The purée and red cabbage were delicious accompaniments to the duck, which was a beautiful cut of breast but slightly undercooked. I had to quite intently saw at one point with my poor knife. Again, I can’t speak for any seafood dishes without negativity bias but the Tasmanian ocean trout ‘bourguignon’ red wine, bacon, mushrooms and onion my friend ordered tasted.. oceanic.. and salty.. so I didn’t really like it though it clearly appeared to be a nice, thick cut of flesh, and evenly cooked.
After the mains were cleared we ordered our desserts and matching dessert wine – I chose the passionfruit soufflé with coconut sorbet and rum spiced banana, with Château Suduirault’s Lions de Suduirault Sauternes (France). I didn’t notice at all then as we were assiduously engaged in conversation, but it took quite a while for our desserts to arrive. Our waitress politely came over to apologise and let us know they were almost ready. Was it worth the wait? Yes, but I didn’t think the passionfruit flavour worked in the warm dessert. The soufflé was as fluffy and light as a cloud, moist, and evenly cooked in the cute, mini copper pot. The fragrant passionfruit smell was so appetising but, as I said, somehow it just seemed wrong. The coconut sorbet was so good though, and the slices of rum spiced banana even better. The orange bavarois with salted caramel was a stimulating pleasure to eat – so many textures in the one glass! I wish the orange layer was a tangier, fresher flavour, though. The dessert wine was gorgeously fruity, sweet, spicy – you can’t really go wrong with dessert wine can you!
All in all, I had a wonderful dining experience. Honestly, catching up and sharing all our great (and getting-better) news over McNuggets and a watered-down coke would have been as precious and uplifting as it was, but Felix certainly complemented the date marvellously – I felt exceptionally fortunate and happy indeed! I have been won over and do recommend a visit on special occasions.
The March into Merivale Food and Wine Festival is on until the 28th where 14 of their establishments offer a $33 meal and drink deal, so it’s a great opportunity to sample dishes at a more affordable price. Some offer $33 meals for 2 people, or $33 for 2 dishes, etc, so check each site before making a challenging (first-world problem) choice. There’s only about a week left, so pick quickly!
Comme toujours, bon appetit!
Contact Felix Bistro and Bar:
- 2 Ash Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000
- 02) 9240 3000
Last note: I have now taken over 10,000 photos with my darling camera – cheers to 100,000 more!