Saturday, 12 July 2014

Breakfast Series - Felix Espresso & Wine Bar

As a foodie, I'm forever looking for those hidden little gems.  As a self confessed 'city-slicker', I get a huge sense of satisfaction stumbling across a little part of Brisbane that is new to me.  Combining the two into my food blog means that I get to tell all of you about these little parts of our fair city that you may not have known about. Felix Espresso and Wine Bar in Burnett Lane is just such a gem.

I must admit that I'd walked up and down Burnett Lane a heap of times before I even noticed that there had been an addition to the Brisbane bar and cafe landscape.  Tucked right out of the way, Felix fills out the space that for the last ten years has been used as Adelaide Street's Record Exchanges store room.  It's not until you actually stop, take a breath and look around you that you notice these things and it wasn't until I'd taken that moment that I'd even observed the other changes to the lane.

As is often the case, once it had entered my orbit, I was destined to get along to check Felix Expresso and Wine Bar out.  One of my good buddies, DruBoy, had been visiting Felix since the day it had opened and asked if I'd want to get along and share a breakfast with him one morning, in what had become his favourite city resting spot.  DruBoy did warn me that Felix was a little different to other cafes around town and that I'd have to be open to selecting something other than my usual bacon and eggs for breakfast.

We'd arranged to meet for a 7:30am breakfast on a Friday morning, which just co-incidentally happened to be one of the coldest mornings on record.  We both live within easy walking distance of Burnett Lane but I arrived just a little bit earlier and was able to secure us a prime spot in the very little cafe.  Felix, which is quite tucked away, is just up a flight of stairs that takes also takes you to the back of the Record exchange, has enough room to comfortably sit about fifteen people.  It's small, but it uses space spectacularly, with the main dining area residing in a sunken lounge area that looks out over colourful Burnett Lane.  The view is made even more colourful by the tinted windows that dominate the front of the room.

DruBoy, who is an International Awarded designer himself, arrived shortly after I did and before we ordered our breakfast, spent some time explaining why he loved Felix, which had a lot to do with the design and feel of the space, which was at once warm and welcoming, but ultra efficient.  The husband and wife team of Peter and Gretta had done an amazing job transforming the space and I could see why DruBoy loved spending time there. 

In such a small space with an equally small kitchen area, I didn't really expect a large menu and when we made our way to the counter to place our orders, my suspicions were confirmed.  There were less than a dozen items on the menu that catered to the full range of opening hours and covered breakfast and lunch.  There were also a couple of specials on the chalk board behind us, but most were for lunch and not really suitable for breakfast.  The menu itself was on the healthier side and was contemporary but limited.  I was actually quite stuck for what I'd have and with DruBoy's message ringing in my ear, made my selections and hoped for the best.

We started our breakfasts with some shakes, which were definitely slanted towards the healthy side of the scale.  I'd chosen the raw chocolate and banana shake with house made organic almond milk and DruBoy, who'd initially gone for a 'green smoothie', changed his mind and grabbed one too.  I was a bit dubious about a shake with no dairy milk in it, my past experiences with almond milk giving me chalky and tasteless experiences but I was more than pleasantly surprised.  The shake didn't have the texture that I'd previously associated with almond milk and was really nice, so nice, that I forgot that it wasn't made with full cream milk.  DruBoy also had a flat white with the organic coffee sourced from 'cup coffee', which he really enjoyed and commented on its perfect quality.

I'd foregone my traditional breakfast for a much healthier maple toasted spelt muesli, served with organic strawberries and apple, organic Malaney yoghurt and local honey.  Thankfully there was a milk option with the muesli and I'd opted for the organic full cream.  I normally don't eat muesli for breakfast, not because I don't like it, but because I never think to.  The combination of the toasted muesli and the organic yoghurt and fruit was really refreshing and quite enjoyable, but was still at the end just cereal for breakfast.

As a back up, and with a healthy dose of apprehension, I'd also ordered a little tartlet that was sitting pre-made and ready to be reheated.  The tart looked to be puff pastry and nestled inside was an egg, some tomato chunks and some pesto.  I normally won't eat reheated food, and especially not in a cafe, but I thought I'd give it a go, thinking that muesli on it's own wouldn't be enough for breakfast.  I took my first bite of the tart, expecting not to like it and was pleasantly surprised, it was not too bad at all, well, at least I could eat it.  The tart was pretty benign, and would have been really nice with a pinch of seasoning to bring out the flavours.

Felix Espresso and Wine Bar is in a fantastic little spot in Burnett Lane that definitely has the cool factor, mainly due to it's design.  If I'm being honest, I probably didn't enjoy the breakfast as much as my pescatarian mate DruBoy, who was completely in his element.  Felix is one of those little spots that is designed to reflect its owners and will be really attractive to more healthy and environmentally conscious Brisbanites, and it will definitely be a great spot for vegetarians.

The staff on hand were all uber cool and seemed to love working at Felix, which showed in their smiles and friendly demeanours.  It probably helped that I had 'one-of-their-own' in with me when ordering breakfast, but I'm sure I'd have still received a big smile if I'd tried to order a side of bacon....  mmm, maybe not!

It's a great, casual little spot that has a particular market in mind and with plenty of potential customers, I'm sure Felix Espresso and Wine Bar will do well.  I'm particularly happy to see more dining options in Burnett Lane and hope that it's the latest in a long line of future Burnett Lane dining options.  There is no doubt that this little spot is a gem, maybe just not for me.

The perfect flat white 
My muesli with the backdrop of Burnett Lane - love the rose tinted windows
My tart was OK but needed a little more seasoning
It's pretty raw looking inside Felix Espresso and Wine Bar
It's also gritty and urban - Burnett Lane is changing though
Not a lot of space, but it's used well - I love the exposed brick walls
Not a lot of space in the kitchen either - this accounts for the small menu
Blink, or walk past quickly and you will miss it

Felix Espresso and WineBar on Urbanspoon Felix Espresso and Winebar

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