|Felix Bistro and Bar, Ash Street, Sydney|
Felix is the newest addition to the Merivale litter (not sure how far away Ms. G's is), and it's a keeper. Down the laneway directly opposite Ash Street Cellar, Felix is a relatively spacious and breathtakingly stunning bistro at first glance with Lauren Murdoch heading up the kitchen.
|Inside Felix Bistro|
The restaurant is fairly empty as we arrive for what I was told over the phone is the early sitting, though the bar is packed and noisy. It continues to be noisy through the night, and I have a little trouble hearing the waiter tell us that there are no rotisserie items available this night. Forgiven, considering they only opened four days ago.
Felix actually reminds me a lot of Uccello, the French cousin perhaps. It's dark and stylish, loud and filled with the genetically and wealth blessed, while serving serious, traditional cuisines. And it's a laneway instead of a pool for viewing entertainment.
The food menu is manageably varied but with a dedicated oyster bar, I can't go past the freshly shucked oysters, especially at the end of a sticky, humid day. The wine list, on the other hand, is a tome and looking at the wine collection behind the oyster bar, help from the sommelier does not go astray.
Perhaps it's a French thing, but I actually found the bread service overwhelming through the night - I probably had more than three slices of bread just because it was there and kept getting refilled without being requested.
|White and brown sourdough bread|
|Oysters with lemon, horseradish cream, eschallot vinaigrette|
I'd also never had such icy cold oysters before, which I really enjoyed along with a squeeze of lemon over them all. The Forster oyster was the next favourite followed by the Hastings River which I found relatively bland but still a good platform for the tart, spicy horseradish cream.
Each table setting is also provided with a bottle of Tabasco sauce, which I didn't think was particularly French, for the express use with the oysters. I think with the oyster bar in full view, no-one was missing out on oysters as starters.
|Crumbed lamb's brains, ravigot sauce, steamed daikon|
The vibrant green sauce of chives and what look like mustard seeds is a good distraction, but not enough encouragement for me to go too close to the brains.
I found the gruyere sweet and nutty but reserved in flavour and couldn't help but think the addition of another, stronger flavoured cheese would be ideal for this cheese lover.
|Duck confit, pickled pears and grilled radicchio|
The richness is toned down by the very bitter radicchio (I wonder if cooking it intensifies its flavour) and the very sweet, soft pears. I would have liked some freshness on the plate other than the parsley, as the well cooked duck with the well cooked bitter leaves and the well cooked pear was rather full on.
|Skate, brown butter, capers, caramelised witlof|
These fillets swim in a naughty brown butter sauce, buoyed by a bunch of softly caramelised witlof leaves that again lend a strong bitterness to the dish while the capers add little extra hits of saltiness.
|Green beans with parsley butter|
We didn't have time for dessert on this occasion and honestly, the noise was getting to me a little. Obviously, it's a brand new venue and it's festive season, not to mention the gorgeous bar, but I look forward to slightly quieter nights, perhaps followed by drinks at the bar once Felix purrs beyond its first few weeks.