REVIEW: The Felix Seafood Grill in Billericay
PUBLISHED: 11:39 11 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:41 11 June 2019
Stephanie Mackentyre continues her culinary tour of Essex as she eats out at The Felix Seafood Grill in Billericay
The word that springs to mind on first seeing this restaurant is understated. Its simple façade belies a tardis of a restaurant.
The place was literally buzzing despite us booking for the first sitting at 5.30pm on a Saturday night. As you walk in the restaurant it opens up and goes much further back than I expected.
The clever down lighting and smart wood partitions give diners space and privacy and there's a bar to the right as you walk through towards the back with the smartly-dressed bar staff standing alert and ready to welcome you.
Our table was close to the galley-style kitchen, but clever air conditioning and extraction meant no fishy odours and it was a pleasant temperature despite being so busy.
Marinated olives were offered as we surveyed the menu. Plump and very moreish, they could have sold them in jars and we'd have happily purchased more on the way out.
With a Frobisher's orange juice for my guest and a glass of Chablis for me, I chose to begin with pan-fried black tiger prawns cooked with fine sliced red chilli and shallots with plenty of oozy garlic butter.
My guest went non-fish to begin his meal, choosing aromatic duck salad with plum dressing. If you like crispy duck you'll love this tower of roast duck pieces, leaves, cucumber, spring onions and finished with a homemade plum dressing - very good indeed.
With its central location, the Felix has no parking, so we parked in a nearby side street. The restaurant was originally the town's fishmongers and opened as a chic seafood grill in April 2017. Since that time its owners have opened a second, larger restaurant in Great Warley.
For main course I went on to sample the seared scallops and monkfish with a prawn and lemon butter. The scallops were cooked to perfection with their coral roe still intact and the monk fish was equally well executed. Both were topped with a rich creamy, lemon butter and scattered with baby prawns.
My partner chose the roast fillet of halibut served with samphire and baby asparagus with a simple lemon, tomato salsa. It was so nice to see a chef confident enough to let the ingredients speak for themselves. Such was the freshness of the seafood, the dishes were equally stunning to taste.
Although the restaurant is predominately fish, as you might expect, there were meat dishes (fillet steak, pork and lamb) and vegetarian options too.
Despite being fully satisfied with our two courses, for the sake of the review we accepted the offered dessert menus. Sorbets, traditional homemade desserts and a cheeseboard were on offer.
It was the sticky toffee pudding for my guest and the individual apple tart tatin with vanilla bean ice cream for me. It was just as delicious as it sounds and served with a rich caramel sauce.
There was no need to ponder why this restaurant has to have two sittings on a Saturday night - the service, the ambiance and of course the food were faultless.
Useful to know
The total bill came to £118.82 for three courses for two people plus drinks. This is an independent review, featuring a restaurant selected and experienced by our food and wine editor. The restaurant was not told it was being reviewed.
Table Talk: With Natalie Marney, her husband, her brother, sister-in-law and their best friends
Where do you live and what do you do?
I live in Wickford and I'm currently on maternity leave from my role as a PA.
Why were you at The Felix?
It's one of my all-time favourite restaurants and I was there for my birthday.
What did you choose from the menu?
Sticky beef salad to start and my main was surf and turf. For dessert I shared my husband's sticky toffee pudding. They also brought me out some ice cream with a candle in it as it was my birthday.
Describe your dining experience
Great food and a great atmosphere. This is one of my top restaurants to go to.
What could they do better?
It would be nice to have a gin or cocktail menu on the tables. They do some really lovely gin cocktails.
How would you rate the value for money?
It's not somewhere I would go every week, but definitely for special occasions and a treat. My husband and I like to go there without our children for a date night.
Book a table
The Felix Seafood Grill, 1 Chapel Street, Billericay, Essex | 01277 633889