If you’re cold, miserable and feeling a bit blurgh about winter, dining at Gary Mehigan’s Fenix will provide a much needed pick-me-up. Most will know Fenix as the big UFO-like restaurant on Victoria Street, Richmond. On the inside it’s spacious, split level and dazzlingly white, with bright red stools adding striking bursts of colour. A fireplace keeps things cosy, and floor to ceiling panoramic windows look out onto the gumtree framed river.
Fenix has been through a couple of reincarnations: restaurant, then function centre, now reborn as restaurant/function centre. Today it’s in a happy place. It’s still a beautiful restaurant, but a menu with such things as cottage pie and roast chicken, and polished but unpretentious service keeps things relaxed.
The “62 degree hen’s egg” entree is like a luxurious kind of bacon and eggs: poached egg spills its sunny contents over sweet onion marmalade, crisp prosciutto and creamy celeriac. A little of each on your fork is a rich blend of gooey, salty, sweet and creamy. A sirloin steak has just enough fat to keep things juicy and comes with big chunks of potatoes roasted in duck fat. “The perfect roast chicken” lives up to its own hype. It’s tender with a nicely browned skin, garlicky good and all served on a smudge of sweet parsnip puree. Serves are generous, so keep this in mind if you want to eat dessert. The banoffe pie sundae is stuff-the-calories good. A tall glass is piled high with ice cream, caramel sauce, mashed banana, honeycomb and crunchy peanut brittle. It’s sticky, perfect for sharing and a nice reminder of what banana taste like (damn you QLD floods and cyclones!). A smooth Italian red, a fireplace and comfort food is just the winter celebration you need to get you though to daylight savings.