In 2007 in Trocadéro, the 16th arrondissement in Paris, I ate one of the best meals in my life.
Jay & I had discovered this little bistro after hours of walking and sight-seeing. To sit at this quaint little restaurant with latticed seats facing the street, aperitif in hand, perusing the menu and using our broken French to order the salade de homard followed by assiette de fromages while the Tour Eiffel sparkles in the distance was just the most wonderful end to the day.
When entering Felix Bistro, one of the several restaurants at Sydney’s premier The Ivy precinct I am transported back to the bistros of Paris. The decor, the wait-staff attire and of course the menu is distinctly Parisian. The majority of the wine list is from various regions in France and many of the waiters themselves are French. Head chef Nathan Johnson & the Merivale crew have done a wonderful job in bringing authenticity to this venue.
My dining companions consist of two of my most favourite people; mon mari Monsieur Jay and mon meilleur ami Mademoiselle Grace.
Having started the evening with an aperitif at The Ivy Bar (for the most amazing ‘Eden Martini’ made with Plymouth Gin, Licor 43 vanilla liqueur, fresh watermelon, lemon juice and rose syrup), we order a bottle of 2009 Château Riotor Côtes de Provence - it’s a blush pink rosé and it’s subtle, not too sweet but delicious.
Gracie orders the Citrus cured kingfish, watermelon, avocado and lime marinated cucumber which arrives looking very creative and sophisticated. She has to put her fork down in between each mouthful to ensure she’s properly experiencing and prolonging the joy!
Jay orders the Smoked chicken, frisée, onion compote and crispy fried poached egg. The onion compote layers the base of the dish and is smooth, sweet & slightly tangy. The chicken is warm & smoky and the egg crispy from being deep fried. He is in heaven.
I revisit the 80′s with my Prawn cocktail which is simple and delicious with plump prawns, sweet liquid bursts of salmon-roe, minimal creamy dressing and a sweet crunch of diced apple amoungst the finely sliced iceberg lettuce.
Gracie orders the Seared tuna niçoise salad and Fries. It’s a beautifully presented and traditional take on the niçoise and the fries are thin, crispy slivers of potato with a light sprinkling of salt.
Jay orders the “Steak frites” Rangers Valley sirloin and herb butter which is a pre-cut steak cooked perfectly medium-rare and is served with the heavenly crispy fries, herb butter and a little pot of red wine reduction sauce.
I order Pan roasted barramundi, French style peas with bacon and cos lettuce which is a beautiful fillet of fresh barra on a bed of delicate peas and little salty morsels of bacon hock in a creamy consommé decorated with snowpea tendrils.
We share a side of Spinach and rocket salad, Spanish onion, feta, croutons.
It’s so hard to choose just one dessert from their menu, so we all (begrudgingly) agree to share a little of each of our dessert!
Grace orders the Peanut parfait, dark chocolate mousse and salted macadamia caramel which is delicious beyond words. The vanilla ice-cream-like parfait with smatterings of peanuts, the deeply rich & creamy chocolate mousse and the finger of crispy salted macadamia brittle with drizzles of caramel toffee.
Jay orders the Selection of profiteroles with vanilla bean icecream, creme anglaise and pistachio cream. They are light and fluffy and drizzled in a rich chocolate sauce.
I order the Passionfruit Souffle with coconut sorbet and pureed pineapple. The souffle is airy and beautifully risen and only slightly tangy but it’s the coconut sorbet and pineapple that is exceptional; the coconut sorbet tastes of real coconut not an imitation and the pineapple is juicy and sticky sweet.
Menu: classic French cooking with flair
Wine list: extensive mostly French with a small selection Australian wines by the glass, carafe and bottle
Service: attentive but not intrusive. Some waiters could scrub up on their knowledge of the menu though.
Atmosphere: bustling, lively, good background jazz music, beautiful decor
Price: $$$ mid-range expensive
Felix Bar & Bistro | Ash St, The Ivy Precinct, Sydney (enter from George St entrance) | website [here]