First opened back in late 2021, Fireside occupies a prime location in the heart of Central. The restaurant is dedicated to the art of open-fire cooking using wood and binchotan-fuelled heat sources.
Designed with style, the interiors are a modern mix of rustic and refined. Brass, brick and oak accents exude warmth, elegance and understated luxury. There’s an intimate private nook, an outdoor balcony perfect for the cooler months and surprisingly spacious counter seating at a hefty marble counter that curves around the restaurant’s centrepiece – an open-fire grill and oven.
New head chef Jaime Ortolá explained to us that he envisions a fine-casual experience where culinary quality is enjoyed in a convivial ambience. And he must be on to something – the restaurant was nearly full when we visited on a weekday evening, with a mix of regulars exchanging greetings with Ortolá and satisfied diners extending their compliments to the chef.
We tried out a mix of old and new signature dishes from both the daily specials and regular à-la-carte menus.
First up was the Carima lazy Fireside beef tartare with black truffle (HK$298). Unlike traditional beef tartare, this version is semi-seared. Sprinkled with fried garlic and black truffle shavings, this is an enjoyable combination of textures and flavours.
For our second starter, we opted for the smoked Hokkaido scallops (HK$348), served with seaweed sabayon, hazelnut oil and caviar. This dish is a well-chosen layering of flavours that complements the perfectly smoked scallops without overpowering them, and I especially like how the foam-like sabayon adds a dimension of umami to the mix.
The “carabinero” scarlet cardinal prawn flambadou (HK$298) is an absolute MUST if you dine at Fireside. Flame-basted with beef fat, it’s a heady blend of sweet, rich, aromatic, buttery goodness that I’m still dreaming about.
Pro tip: order a side of the house-made sourdough bread and smoked butter with leek ash (HK$48) – it’s delicious on its own but also perfect for soaking up the buttery prawn juices.
We moved on to the 100% full-blood Australian Blackmore Wagyu (HK$348/100g, starting from 300g), which is an M9+ Wagyu, hence it’s extremely marbled. We got to choose from a selection of sleek Japanese and Spanish steak knives, but it turns out that they aren’t really necessary as the steak comes sliced and the meat is incredibly tender. I can be quite picky about steak (I hate anything too chewy, tendony, fatty, bloody, etc), but this one ticks all the right boxes – it’s juicy, tender and flavourful, with just the right amount of pink in the middle and char on top.
We added on a side of pickled piquillos (HK$98), and the acidity paired well against the meatiness of the steak.
For dessert, we tried the smoked panna cotta with rhubarb sorbet (HK$98) and burnt frozen almond mousse with mandarin and Casa Cacao chocolate (HK$118). I like that the former lies on the firmer side of the “panna cotta spectrum”; I’ve had many a panna cotta served in a cup that feels more puddle-like than pudding-like. This version is smooth and smoky – a great take on a classic dessert.
The burnt frozen almond mousse reminds me of crème brûlée. As its name suggests, the almond mousse is seared on top to create a decadently caramelised layer. It’s served with chocolate cream and mandarin jam for a tasty juxtaposition of bitter, tart and sweet.
This was a memorable meal for all the right reasons, and I'd certainly recommend Fireside to anyone who loves meat and seafood. The atmosphere is friendly and comfortable yet luxurious, and every dish I tried was skilfully designed and executed. I’ll definitely be returning for that prawn!
Where: 5/F, The Steps, H Code, 45 Pottinger Street, Central
For reservations: phone/WhatsApp 6610 8689 or book online
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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