Location: Subiaco, Rokeby Road
It’s that that time of year when Christmas is fast approaching and you’re trying to catch up with people before then. Today, I was catching up with a friend for dinner at Bistro Felix. Fortunately, it’s within walking distance of the Subiaco train station so I headed there after work and noticed the many restaurants around the area. On my last visit to Subiaco, I had dinner at the French restaurant, La Brasserie De Paris, which is now closed but I was keen to see what the French cuisine is like at Bistro Felix.
Walking in, the restaurant is a little dimmed to create an intimate and classy setting. The restaurant is very neat with neatly laid out tables with cutlery, serviettes etc and very well presented. However, the tables are close to each other so I assume when the restaurant fills up, it gets quite cosy. We were taken to our table and asked if we would like any water – distilled, sparkling or tap. We went for the latter. Wine lists and menus were presented and then bread rolls were served with a plate of butter. Service during the night was excellent, very attentive without being in your way. They know just the right time to approach and are quite unnoticeable for the most part. I was hoping to use the entertainment card but it’s only when you’re looking at the menu inside the restaurant, do you discover it can only be used when you’re just ordering a main. A shame, I guess I should have asked whilst booking. While the prices are expensive, getting 2 ($55) or 3 ($65) courses in their “Menu d’Economie” – Price Fix works out to be much better value. Note that they apply to soups, entrée, mains, dessert or cheese and are available Monday to Thursday dinner.
I decided to have the 2 course:
- Confit duck leg, balsamic braised red cabbage, oxtail & pancetta, Pedro Ximenez ($41)
- Bitter chocolate and chestnut truffle cake ($16)
My friend opted for the 3 course:
- Salad of Yellowfin tuna, white anchovy, olive, vine tomato, beans & hen’s egg ($24)
- 250g Cape Naturalist sirloin on the bone, dry aged, frites, salad with your choice of sauce; Bearnaise, Red wine jus or Cafe de Paris ($44)
- White chocolate and ginger cheesecake $16
While we waited, we munched on the bread which seemed very hard and chewy at first but was quite tasty at the end. It seemed to be dusted with salt so there was this nice salty kick as the soft creamy butter really shone through. My friend wolfed down the salad and it seemed tasty and then after a reasonable wait, our mains were served. We swapped a little of our dishes. The steak was very rare and was quite chewy as a result of eating near raw meat. It was average at best, no flavour, no seasoning, no taste. Seemed very disappointing and that was off a small bite. The chips with potato skins were quite average.
Based on the menu description, I was looking forward to some oxtail but was disappointed that there wasn’t any. Not sure why they described the dish like they did unless it relates to the shape of the potato. The duck was quite a decent serving given that duck isn’t particularly fleshy. The duck was slightly overcooked, it wasn’t tough but I was expecting really moist duck that came away from the bone easily. Instead, the duck meat was firm and didn’t come away from the bone too easily, a bit like the roast chook at the supermarket. The balsamic braised red cabbage presented a lovely contrast to the meaty duck. A nice sweetly acidic flavour is an excellent combination with cabbage, the duck and potato. However, after getting towards the end of the dish, the sweetness became a bit much. The standout of the dish was the potato. Soft and creamy like a perfect mash, the potato was combined with a lovely seasoning of herbs and other ingredients which was just delicious. However, this dish is in trouble when the star of the meal is a side element.
On to dessert and I was torn between two dishes but fortunately my friend ordered the other dish I didn’t choose. Unfortunately, after one bite of my friend’s dessert, I wish I had ordered it. The white chocolate and ginger cheesecake doesn’t look anything like cheesecake nor tastes like it. The dessert is a like a soft mousse with a creme brulee like wafer on top, finished off with candied citrus. The one spoonful I had was amazing! Absolutely delicious I wanted more.
For my dessert, the chocolate cake is very dense and has an intense and concentrated chocolate flavour. It’s not at all bitter, rather, that refers to the quality of the chocolate I would think which results in a dark chocolate flavour rather than the standard milk chocolate. I liken the dessert to an after dinner mint. You know that thin dark chocolate encasing a soft mint filling which rounds out the meal. The dark chocolate of this dish is like that, a lovely finish to the meal. It’s a lovely cake but a little too intense for the quantity provided. I enjoyed it but would have easily preferred the cheesecake. By the time we left, the restaurant was very full and buzzing with patrons compared to our entrance at 6:15pm.
Bistro FelixFood Review Summary
Verdict: Walking into the neat and carefully presented restaurant with dim lighting creates a lovely atmosphere to enjoy a quiet dinner. The service was professional, efficient and excellent. On the food front, however, it disappointed. While the meals are expensive, the 2 or 3 course options are good value. My duck was enjoyable with the sweet and acidic flavour of the cabbage, but when the side of creamy soft mash with delicious seasoning of herbs steals the show from the star of the dish, you know they haven’t executed the dish as well as intended. It was a very underwhelming dish lacking any punch with the exception of the potato. I didn’t detect any pancetta or oxtail unless I missed it. I liked the cabbage but it’s sweetness became a bit intense towards the end of the meal. The small bite of my friend’s steak was disappointing – lacking flavour, seasoning, taste and was chewy. One expects better from a fine dining type establishment. On the dessert front, the small taste I had of the white chocolate and ginger cheesecake was heaven! Stunning dessert with excellent texture, melt in your mouth goodness and flavour. My bitter chocolate cake possessed a strong and intense denseness and brooding dark chocolate flavour. It’s a great way to finish off a meal but a smaller quantity is required for the strong in your face flavour. It becomes a struggle to finish off. All in all a lovely night, but a disappointing dinner which drained the hip pocket including the surcharge on the credit card. Not the best representation of French cuisine.
Price: Expensive (entertainment card can only be used if ordering a mains only)
Recommendation: Try Once If You Want But Not Worth Visiting Again
Bistro Felix Restaurant Details
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