Firedoor – 16 Mar 2017

Firedoor. The story with Firedoor is that when it opened, I added it to my list. Communal tables, cooking with fire, what more could you want? But then it never really made the top of the list for some reason. A year or so later, I got linked an article which claimed Firedoor has one of the world’s best steaks and was expensive, and aged in its own kidney fat. That didn’t really get my curiosity going enough to bump it up either. It wasn’t until I was looking at the cost of booking Burnt Ends in Singapore that I realised, I don’t need to fork out three times as much for an expensive restaurant there, when I could get the “same” thing here for much less! And that’s how I finally went to Firedoor.

We were seated about as far from the kitchen as you could get – the bar table and the communal table were both in the way. I should have asked for a kitchen seat, but maybe next time. It’s both a good and a bad thing – watching chefs in action, but it’d definitely get very, very hot. My lens was barely long enough to be able to get the shot of the fire.

My eye was on the pippies, and my ears were all over the mentioning of the marron special they had. I actually didn’t think much of the $167 247-day aged steak on their menu, but I felt compelled to order it because who doesn’t order steak in an acclaimed fire-based restaurant.

It turns out I forgot to take a picture of the bread that we ordered. Did Sydney restaurants change all of a sudden so that bread is now a menu item and is charged? Or is it because I’ve just been to too many degustation restaurants in the past so it comes included? I don’t actually know, or mind… except that two half-slices of bread cost $8… that was a bit steep.

Anyway, the marron! That meat was so tender, so nicely cooked! And of course I love coastal greens. It’s been a long time since I’ve had karkalla! That finger lime was also delicious, though I kind of forgot to spread it all out with the available marron, since I was too busy enjoying the meat as is.

The humble spud – ash baked potato, dill creme fraiche, bottarga. Yeah, look at all those bottarga shavings! Of course you have to order a potato at a fire restaurant! This was an awesome version of baked potato which maintained its firmness.

Pippie time! The garlic shoots and black bean flavour was really familiar to me, and went great with the pippies! There was a good serving of that too. What was really funny was seeing my brother arrange the shells in a really need way around his plate. I had thought about doing the same, but ended up just stacking the shells randomly on my plate. The shells are such pretty shapes, like butterflies!

Behold the special cutlery! That is a really interesting knife design. I love taking pictures of cutlery! And that water was from my mocktail condensating like crazy.

Oh yeah. Yeah. I’ve got a story to tell with this steak. Like I said, this place apparently served up one of the best steaks in the world, and I’d forgotten about that. I thought I’d ordered a normal, albeit super aged 500g on the bone black angus rib eye for stupid amounts of money.

That’s when I heard the bandsaw. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard that high pitched, piercing sound of a saw going through bone, and it was a gorgeous sound. My head immediately popped up as I looked at the kitchen, and found the massive hunk of meat that the steak pieces were being sliced off. I’ve never seen that at a restaurant before. It was amazing! It may have been the head chef? Or just whoever was on at the time (I don’t recognise Lennox Hastie by sight), but basically I think they noticed that I had started looking in their direction. I really hope I had a goofy looking smile, I honestly don’t know! But I was just so happy when I realised our steaks were all being cut to order.

It was also about this point that I started remembering that article about this legendary aged steak at Firedoor, and then thinking about how long our steak had been aged for, and how it looked just hanging there in the kitchen, in room temperature, made me think that we might just have ordered that same thing. Not only that, but it also hit me that we didn’t want our steak done. So there must have been only one way this steak was served…

And just look at it. Rare, and so rich in colour and taste! It was immediately like no steak I’d ever eaten before, and definitely had an aged, gamey flavour. It was actually really impressive! My brother noted that different parts of the steak tasted different. I didn’t really like the fat – the marbling was fine, but the actual fat on the sides was just a bit too funky for me, and I realised that the tingling I got on my tongue was similar to that of blue cheese (I don’t know if other people get that sensation; I just happen to be quite acid-sensitive so that’s how I remember it), and then the flavour started to make sense. I still couldn’t eat all the fat though. But the rest of the steak was awesome! Funky, but awesome! It was well worth the money as it’s not something you can easily get anywhere else. I’d definitely recommended it, but with a caveat that it’s probably not something that everyone would like.

And finally, dessert. This is actually the tiniest iced vovo dessert ever! Full of raspberries and coconut. The waiter also told us that it’d be a small dish. I think it’s good that it’s small, because it means you can pack all the flavours into a single mouthful – I found that separately, while it was nice, wasn’t too vovo-like, but as soon as I ate all the components together, yeah, it was definitely vovo. The coconut made it all come together with the raspberries.

Even with the expensive steak, the bill wasn’t all that much higher than what I’d pay at any other fine dining restaurant in Australia – which made me all the happier because I would have paid the same amount if I’d dined alone at Burnt Ends – I’m certain of it. So yes, it was a great experience, and definitely a restaurant I want to go back to!