Firedoor – Sydney

Posted on Saturday, 6th May 2017


I recently had a fabulous meal at Firedoor, a slick and modern outfit located in the Sydney suburb of Surry Hills, close to the heart of the Sydney Central Business District. Firedoor is a very unique restaurant in that it serves an entirely fire-powered menu. The first of its kind in Australia, each dish is cooked to order and powered entirely by wood fire. The kitchen draws upon a collection of different woods every day, purposefully used to create a certain effect from the coals that best enhance the natural characteristics of the ingredients on show.

The head chef is Lennox Hastie who spent the early part of his career working at various Michelin Star restaurants across the UK, France and Spain. The pinnacle was the five years that he spent at one of the best grill restaurants in the world, the much-touted Asador Etxebarri located in the Basque country. A one Michelin star holder and a regular on the 50 Best Restaurants in the World’s List, Asador Etxebarri readily makes use of wood-fired grilling. Here, Lennox spent five years working with Victor Arguinzoniz, honing his skills on working with an open flame.

Lennox opened Firedoor in April 2015. Focusing primarily on seafood and vegetables, he has transported his unique understanding of wood fire cooking to Firedoor, His talent was recognised when the restaurant was nominated for the Best New Restaurant in the 2016 Australian Gourmet Traveller Awards. Firedoor currently holds a chef’s hat in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and sits at number 17 on the Australian Gourmet Traveller Top 100 Restaurants.

We shared a selection of dishes and all were fabulous, starting with the albacore tuna with radish (A$27) which was sensational. Wild caught Mooloolaba albacore had been grilled (seared) over apple wood and was meaty and ripe with flavour. Texturally the albacore was heaven and a joy to each. The fish was served with shaved fennel and breakfast radishes that were fresh and lively, and a well-judged grilled lemon dressing which provided the right hit of acidity. Everything on the dish came together superbly.

Firedoor - London Food Blog - Albacore tuna

Firedoor – Albacore tuna

Pippies, with black bean and garlic shoots (A$36) were a delight to eat. The pippies, from South Australia, had been grilled over apple wood and finished with a house made black bean sauce and grilled garlic shoots. The richness of the black bean sauce complemented the sweetness of the pippies nicely. Pippies with black bean is a popular classic amongst the Chinese community in Sydney, and here, one really got the sense of the added dimension coming through from the effect of the wood cooking.

Firedoor - London Food Blog - Pippies

Firedoor – Pippies

Octopus, ink and guanciale ($A25) was also delicious. Very tender pieces of Tasmanian octopus had been grilled over cherry wood for the right level of caramelisation. These were served with grilled radicchio which were altogether sweet, crunchy and with a delicate hit of bitterness. These was also a wonderfully rich ink sauce made with toasted bread and macadamia nuts, shaved macadamias for a touch of nuttiness, thin slices of guanciale (cured pork jowl air dried for 3 months) which further enhanced this dish with its fatty meatiness and some barilla (native spinach).

Firedoor - London Food Blog - Octopus

Firedoor – Octopus

It was hard to pick a favourite from the dishes, but the black market chuck tail, bullhorn pepper and salsa verde (A$54) was probably it. The black market chuck tail came from the Ranger Valley in Northern NSW and is from a pure breed of black angus cow that has reached the highest level of quality and marbling (5+). The cut is from between the back end of the chuck and the top end of the ribs and was very rich and textural. The beef had been grilled over grape vines, was wonderfully pink, superbly tender and incredible in flavour. Accompanying the dish were some bullhorn peppers which have been charred, peeled and slowly roasted in the wood oven and some grilled shallots. Both these accompaniments provided an aromatic sweetness. To finish the dish was a lively and refreshing salsa verde.

Firedoor - London Food Blog - Chuck tail steak

Firedoor – Chuck tail steak

The cooking, in a nutshell, was simply superb. On one level, each dish was simple in terms of its composition, but on another level, complex because the use of wood fire. One really got a sense of the intensity and depth the wood cooking added to the beauty of each of the ingredients, all of which were individually of outstanding quality. And with the service also being excellent it was hard to find any fault with the restaurant. Firedoor is truly a destination venue.

Summary Information:

1) I loved everything about this place.
2) The beef is a must.
3) My pick from the seafood dishes would be the albacore.


1) Can’t really think of one.

Food rating:
Service rating: 4.5/5

Price: About A$100 a head, excludes drinks and service.


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