Chef Lennox Hastie having made a name for himself in Europe working for several Michelin restaurants and cooking with fire (literally), in Spain, returned to Sydney in 2011. Partnering with The Fink Group (who he’s been with since arrival) opened Firedoor in 2015. Since then, it’s been one of the most talked about new restaurants in Surry Hills. An eclectic area well known for fine dining; from Longrain (Vietnamese – closed in June after 20yrs) to Porteño (Latin American) to Izakaya Fujiyama (Japanese) to Yulli’s (Vegan – not for Steakboyz).
The kitchen, grill and bar area consume 40% of the restaurant, including two Hastie designed Australian style AGA coal fired ovens. Firedoor uses 10 different woods, from ironbark to mallee root, apple, grapevine and even stonefruit. On our Steak Night apple, peach, cherry, grapevine and ironbark were used to prepare our menu.
We originally booked to go in December, then moved the date by a week and couldn’t get in, resulting in our second choice Steak Night at Bistecca. Interestingly, Bistecca also cook over open hardwood fire grills and remain our highest scoring steak at 9.6, consequently seeing many a SteakBoyz return! (See Bistecca review for details)
Getting in to Firedoor this time round was no less difficult, with The Fink Group managing all bookings online. 11+ Steakboyz proved to be a little troublesome for TFG, as the restaurant is setup for intimate gatherings of 2-4 and small groups of 6. Their largest table seats 10, traditionally used for communal shared table seating. Groups of 7+ are offered the choice between a 5-course shared menu for $90 per person, or $150 per person with the inclusion of their signature 190-day dry-aged beef. There is no prior menu as to what would be served on the night as the this is created on the day by Chef. We opted for the $150- menu after challenging why we could not go with their Á la carte menu? This was put down to quality only being maintained when serving 6 or less diners simultaneously. Later the manager offered a $190 menu with the addition of a vertical tasting of steak. We voted to stay with the $150 menu.
Our expectations at this price and based on media were high, very high, possibly setting ourselves up for a letdown.
Our shared menu comprised:
bread, cultured butter, sprouted rye
kangaroo, macadamia, davidson plum
chorizo, smoked eggplant, charcoal bread
duck hearts, traviso, clementine
black market beef chuck tail, cime di rapa, onion
190-day dry-aged rib of beef
Chocolate, kumquat, hazelnut bomb
The ambiance was warm, ski lodge like and relaxed. Group comments were that all dishes were very well cooked and enjoyable in texture. The beef chuck tail was exceptional and the clear winner, as was the aged beef juicy, tender and tasty. One Steakboy complaint was that there were no fries (as only a Steakboy would).
From a value perspective, we believed the quality was high with an equally high price to match, noting the 190-day aged rib of beef at $200/kg. Hence a shared menu savouring a variety of dishes was the way to go.
Jennifer our waitress was prompt and attentive, although some at the end of the table felt a little ignored and not attended to enough, being hogged by the team at the other end. Dishes were presented by knowledgeable staff passionate about Firedoors’ difference in style and presentation. We enjoyed lively discussions with chef relating to meat selection, accompanying sides, related preparation and the chosen woods and techniques used for each.
It would be tough to endure if you don’t like heat, smoke and the smell of wood fired sizzling meats, vegetables and other fine delicacies. Sydney Steakboyz were divided. Comments ranged from; “Very enjoyable meal, would go back again and claim the bone!!”, to “Overrated, but adequate” to “Definitely a destination to recommend”, to “loved it”.
As mentioned, expectations were very high, as was the bill including modest wines and an enjoyable customary whiskey (Lark from Tasmania) at the end of the night.
23-33 Mary Street