Firedoor, the den of fire in Sydney

Discovering Lennox Hastie’s restaurant in the Antipodes. The English chef was charmed by the power of charcoal, embers, flames and smoke

26-12-2018 | 07:00
Lennox Hastie by the grill at Firedoor, in Sydne

Lennox Hastie by the grill at Firedoor, in Sydney, Australia (photo from firedoor.com.au)

What’s innovation and what’s tradition when it comes to working ONLY with fire? Here two extremes combine whatt seems a simple concept but one which is so complex in execution. After working at the emblematic Basque Country restaurant, Extebarri, Britain-born Lennox Hastie has brought that exclusively fire-fuelled philosophy here. 

Hawkesbury squid, Panzanella with green grilled tomatoes (photo from instagram)

Hawkesbury squid, Panzanella with green grilled tomatoes (photo from instagram)

Mulberry & Chocolate (photo firedoor.com.au)

Mulberry & Chocolate (photo firedoor.com.au)

And so to Firedoor: a magical cave of a restaurant with darkened tables and a long section of counter seating: pole position, in our view, from which to observe Hastie and his team at work. And what choreography! Each ingredient from the fine-dining focussed menu is given its own special treatment over coals, flames, embers and smoke at any number of grills, ovens and roasting stations across the kitchen.

Seasonal mango and achiote (photo instagram)

Seasonal mango and achiote (photo instagram)

(photo firedoor.com.au)

(photo firedoor.com.au)

Chefs move from one to the other, lowering, raising, shifting produce as cooking times, heat and technique require. And then there are the fire-woods: apple, peach, grapevine, ironbark and others, sourced by season and chosen to bring out the best in each dish. A strict premium produce focus means fine, grass-fed meats, just-caught seafood and intriguing seasonings: think pippies (a kind of tiny clam) with karkalla, a native sea succulent, or hapuka (a firm-fleshed fish) with broad beans, buttermilk. Don’t miss live crustaceans such as native Australian marron (freshwater crayfish) or golden crab roasted to order.


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