One of Sydney’s most eagerly awaited restaurants, Firedoor, opens in Surry Hills on Wednesday.
The restaurant is a collaboration between the Fink Group, who run Quay and Otto, and Lennox Hastie, the former sous chef at the distinctive Spanish restaurant Asador Etxebarri, a world’s 50 Best regular, before he returned to Australia a few years ago.
Firedoor draws on his experience in the hills outside San Sebastian, where everything was cooked over wood coals, giving it an Australian context.
Hastie’s restaurant has similar discipline, with wood considered an essential ingredient to flavour a dish. Different woods have different flavours and Hastie has ironbark, mallee, apple and orange tree woods to burn, as well as grapevines and even aged wine barrels.
Hastie says a range of factors, including how old the wood is and how long it’s been dried for, influence how it burns and the taste it brings to food.
“Fire offers an amazing spectrum of flavour and new flavours to discover. I want Firedoor to change the way people think about cooking over fire,” Hastie said.
He admits that his five years cooking with Victor Arguinzoniz at Asador Extebarri left him fascinated by how wood burns.
“Fire can be very addictive; it’s a very primal element that’s instinctively human,” he says.
The daily menu lists the dishes in ascending order of weight, from light to rich and rather than having the big meaty focus most associate with a chargrill, he’ll cook seafood, pulled live from a tank, and vegetables over coals too.
The open kitchen lets diners watch the action and there’s a bar where you can just drop by for a drink and quick bite after work.
Firedoor has revamped the century-old Silknit House on Mary Street, Surry Hills and naturally, there’s a strong timber feel to the décor, with two communal tables in the centre of the restaurant.
It’s open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday and Friday lunch.
23–33 Mary Street, Surry Hills. Ph 8204 0800.
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