Restaurant Review: Felix Brasserie

Restaurant Review: Felix Brasserie

Sheila Christensen JeanneauRenowned for its superb service Felix Brasserie delivers fresh twists on “common” dishes.

(Photo: AmaraPhotos/Living in Peru)
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Felix Brasserie is the creation of the renowned chef and entrepreneur, Rafael Osterling. His other Lima restaurants, the always packed El Mercado, and the elegant Rafael have both been in business for several years. They are always on the lists of top restaurants in Lima and continue to enjoy grand reputations.

With this in mind, it is no surprise that we enjoyed first class cuisine and some borderline exquisite dishes at Felix Brasserie. We enjoyed attentive service at our table and I also observed patrons at surrounding tables enjoying the same excellent service from the wait staff.

The vibe at Felix Brasserie is somewhat informal and has a wonderful slightly rustic and *modern bistro sensation*’¦.and unforced elegance. It is located across from the Swissotel in San Isidro. The patrons are a mix of nearby office executives and workers, some hotel guests, a few tourists, as well as repeat clientele that live in this upscale neighborhood.

The menu at Felix Brasserie is approachable and offers Bistro-style fare. I found the cuisine to take somewhat common dishes and put their own slight twists on them to make the plate a bit more original. There are a variety (approximately 65) of dishes to choose from including lighter fare of ceviches and tiraditos from their crudo section, as well as several salads and starters. You also will find more substantial and hearty dishes from their pasta and meat sections on the menu. The antipasto section offers high-quality cheese and ham tablas, which are ideal for sharing along with a decent glass of wine. Felix Brasserie excels and raises the bar with their varied seafood options as well. There is something for everyone. Felix Brasserie’s menu is seasonal and changes occasionally.

Felix Brasserie is not for the budget-constrained diner. The average cost per diner could easily hover around 130 soles or more (including a tapa/starter, main dish and a dessert, not including cocktails). Another route to enjoy the food here would be to order a variety of tapas, antipasto, and starters and share among a small group of friends. For me, Felix Brasserie is not an establishment where you dine if you have time constraints’¦ this is a place where you should be savoring your food and enjoying the experience.

The decor at Felix Brasserie has great aesthetics. We sat on the large, open terrace and were surrounded by quite a bit of greenery (a variety of plants, shrubbery, and trees) which exuded a more private feeling. A variety of big band music from the 1940’s era played in the background with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Dean Martin. Many seating options are available, tables (marble, wood, and iron) of all sizes, chairs (wood, metal, and iron) of multiple colors and styles, as well as the banquette seating with comfortable cushions along with other rustic accents. You have the sensation of sitting in a relaxed French bistro. All of the decor is cohesive and every detail has been well thought out, down to the colors and design of the fabric napkins. There are also outdoor standing heaters for when the weather turns cooler. There is more seating available in the outdoor terrace area than inside. The inside premises are lovely as well…from the impressive high ceilings to the eclectic art and decor. It is open, airy and has great lighting as well as a view of the kitchen. You can opt to sit in the bar or lounge area or in the cozy seating area on the other side.

While we waited for our dishes to arrive, we enjoyed the fresh and warm, house-made slices of sourdough baguette accompanied by artisanal butter and a fabulous smoky romesco sauce.

The day of our visit we sampled 10 different dishes (including dessert). We began our culinary experience with a refined ceviche from the crudo section, Ceviche ‘œBrasserie’ de la Pesca del Dí­a con Pulpo Asado (S/. 50). This was a first class ceviche prepared with lenguado (flounder), tender, grilled pieces of octopus, slivers of aji charapita (peppers from the jungle) and aji limo, and slices of sweet potato. Typically Felix Brasserie uses either flounder or corvina for this ceviche dish.

Tataki de Atun (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Living in Peru)

Our second dish was one of the ‘œspecials of the day’, Tataki de Atun ‘œMarrakesh’ con Granada, Purée de Ajo Blanco & Tamarindo (S/. 41). Five slices of barely seared tuna served with an exquisite mild white garlic purée, delicate slices of onions, all drizzled generously with a sauce comprised of tamarind, raisins, and a light touch of harissa (smoky and aromatic chili paste). Every component of this tapas dish was balanced and thoughtfully composed.

One of the more popular tapas dishes served at Felix Brasserie is their Tacos de Pato Leñador con Chiles Ahumados, Naranja Agria & Palta (S/. 36). Three artisanal corn tortillas topped with tender pieces of duck, smoked chilies, sour orange, avocado, red onion, cilantro and a light chipotle sauce arrive on a rustic wood pizza board. Make sure you have plenty of napkins when you eat this finger food.

(Photo: AmaraPhotos/Living in Peru)

One of most gorgeous plates to arrive at our table was the Tiradito Tropical con Conchas, Granadilla, Ciruela & Palta (S/. 36). Fresh scallops, granadilla seeds, translucent slices of plums, and razor-thin ribbons of avocado all commingled together in a bowl of exquisiteness! The presentation was stunning, the colors were vibrant and the flavors were both refreshing and rich and worked perfectly together. This is not a large portion, but a dish that for me, probably one of the most perfectly executed treatments of tiradito. I will most definitely return for this dish.

One of my personal favorite tapas were the Buns de Hamburguesa de Atun, Palta, Sriracha & Sandia (S/. 31). Three mini tuna burgers arrived at our table. The combination of fresh ground tuna with sriracha sauce, slices of avocado, grated watermelon, cucumber slices and hints of ginger was a slightly decadent and Asian-inspired comfort food. The bun used for this tuna burger is a rice bun that is first steamed and then fried. The bun elevated this burger by adding an extra crunchy dimension to this dish.

One of the table favorites was the flavor-packed Sudado Thai de Pesca del Dí­a al Curry de Mortero & Arroz con Coco (S/. 65) from the fish section of the menu. I am a huge fan of curry and this dish did not disappoint. I loved every component of this dish. The fish used was a perfectly grilled fillet of sea bass accompanied by a couple large shrimp and a scallop in its shell. The green curry sauce is Felix Brasserie’s own recipe and it was the ‘œstar’ of this dish. The curry sauce had the correct amount of aggressive seasoning’¦.the right amount of warmth and a welcome mild kick of spice. The small addition of the sweet banana made me smile. The coconut rice was the perfect accompaniment.

Brief honorable mention goes to three other culinary delights as well: from the pasta section, Pasta Cannolicchi a la Genovesa con Calamares & Pepperoncino (S/. 56), a unique combination of calamari, veal sweetbreads and pepperoncini all combined with this wonderful tightly twisted short tube pasta which resembles a screw. This pasta holds its shape when cooking and allows the ingredients and sauce to adhere well, due to its texture. From the fish section, we also enjoyed the Seco de Mero ‘œBrasserie’ con Almejas & Frejol de Vaina (S/. 63). This was a fairly decent version of seco using grouper from the north coast and an ideal dish for the approaching chilly weather. For the meat section of the menu we enjoyed the Asado de Tira Rostizado & Patatas al Romero (S/. 88). A very tender portion of short ribs slow-roasted for several hours,accompanied by mixed grilled vegetables and thick, crispy fried potatoes.

french toast (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Living in Peru)

We ended our culinary adventure on a very high note with our dessert, French toast & Butterscotch (S/. 27). Typically I am not that amazed by the French toast style desserts currently served at many Lima restaurants, which tend to be quite similar in flavor and presentation. We were quite surprised by this French toast rendition. Felix Brasserie prepares theirs using focaccia bread, which is quite unique instead of the commonly used brioche-style bread. The focaccia texture lends a much plumper and dense texture. The shards and drizzle of butterscotch added another dimension. This dish is also accented with pomegranate seeds for another added texture and pop of rich red color. The vanilla ice cream that accompanied this creation was rich, creamy and full of good quality vanilla as evidenced by the abundance of vanilla flecks. This was a very rich, elevated and decadent version of French toast that is worth returning for.

Be sure to check out one or two of Felix Brasserie’s 18 popular and ambitious specialty cocktails. They also offer classic cocktails, artisanal and domestic beer and a full wine list. The bartenders are well-versed and can prepare anything. I definitely will return as well to the bar to enjoy a couple more of their creations. We sampled two cocktails the day of our visit. The Cowboy (S/. 36), was comprised of Bulleit Rye (the award-winning straight bourbon rye whiskey produced in small batches in Kentucky, 95% rye and 5% malted barley), Mancino Vermouth, Siete Misterios Mezcal, the herbal liqueur, Benedictine, and Peychauds bitters. This concoction is for the imbiber that enjoys a brisk and robust cocktail. I do not drink whiskey on a regular basis, but I quite enjoyed this specialty cocktail. I tasted smooth hints of vanilla, honey and spice and it had a crisp and clean finish, and an oaky aroma. The mezcal gave it a twist as well.

Our second cocktail was called the Sinatra (S/. 38), a concoction of the single estate handcrafted luxury vodka, Absolut Elyx, green Chartreuse, Luxardo (maraschino liqueur), and grapefruit juice served in a round vintage martini glass’¦.surprisingly delicious and refreshing and not overly sweet as I had expected. I drink babosea on a regular basis and I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Felix Brasserie is a worthwhile destination to enjoy culinary artistry in a relaxed setting.

Felix Brasserie
Av. Santo Toribio 173
San Isidro
Phone: 415-8564
Valet parking
Reservations recommended
Capacity: 120 people
Menus available in both Spanish and English
Hours: Monday-Friday: 12:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m. / 7:30 p.m.-11:00 p.m.
Saturday: 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. / 8:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.
Closed Sunday

Tapas/Finger food: S/. 31-45
Antipasto: S/. 26-56
Crudos/Raw dishes: S/. 35-50
Starters: S/. 36-45
Salads: S/. 29-33
Pasta: S/. 39-67
Fish dishes: S/. 59-67
Meat dishes: S/. 45-88
Desserts: S/. 16-28
House specialty cocktails: S/. 28-38
Full cocktail service, wine and beer lists available

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