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Food

Taking Orders: Firebird

by Abigail Spooner
Taking Orders: Firebird
Firebird

Open-fire cooking and natural wines take centre stage at this Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, says Abigail Spooner

Where is it?

Slap-bang in the middle of Soho, just off bustling Oxford Street.

What’s all the fuss about?

Founded by two female restaurateurs from St Petersburg, Anna Dolgushina and Madina Kazhimova, Firebird is named after a mythical creature with a fiery plumage that appears in many Russian folk stories. No surprise then that the menu, from ex-Caravan head chef Nikos Kontongiannatos, is dedicated to open-fire cooking with both charcoal and wood-fired ovens taking pride of place. Each dish is touched by flames in some way and is influenced by the flavours of the Mediterranean.

Charred peaches with ricotta and prosciutto
Charred peaches with ricotta and prosciutto

What’s the place like?

The space is sleek and low-lit, with minimalist earthy tones, wicker chairs and cascading plants. Whilst the vibe is relaxed, you can also peer into the open kitchen and watch the chefs – and flames – hard at work.

Tiger prawns with white wine butter sauce
Tiger prawns with white wine butter sauce

What did you eat and drink?

Firebird champions natural wines from small-scale producers across Europe, and we opt for an Austrian bottle of Gruner Veltliner. It’s delightfully crisp and refreshing for the warm summer’s evening.

 

We dive into a tempting selection of small plates to begin. Bloody Mary corn ribs take on all the flavours of the classic cocktail; they’re moreishly good with smoky, chilli-spiked undertones and a squeeze of lime. Flame-kissed peaches with Parma ham, toasted hazelnuts and dollops of creamy ricotta proves an excellent combination, whilst jumbo tiger prawns are served in a buttery pool of white wine sauce. My personal favourite is the griddled halloumi with Greek honey and truffle, which strikes that fine balance of sweet and salty.

 

From the mains, the day-boat monkfish catches my eye and is topped with a tomato sauce vierge and a vignarola stew with a verdant array of summer peas and beans. My friend enjoys juicy, golden scallops on a bed of truffled mashed potato and peas.

 

The sweet offerings are limited; however, we can’t resist indulging in the honeycomb and strawberry éclair with pistachios. It’s rich, creamy and decadent.

Honeycomb and strawberry éclair
Honeycomb and strawberry éclair

Your verdict?

You’re already spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants in Soho; however, the concept of open-fire cooking meets natural wine bar is sure to draw in keen foodies looking for a date-night spot or catch-up with friends. The small plates were the stars of the show for me and offer better value for money over some of the more costly main courses.

Lasting memory?

The generous wedge of scorched, honey-drenched halloumi.

How to book

Visit Firebird's Instagram for more information.

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