Sunday brunch in Sydney is about to get tastier. Firedoor, the only restaurant in the country to cook entirely with wood, will start serving a Basque-influenced brunch menu on Sundays in November, with jamón and wedges of tortilla alongside Bloody Marys and Basque sparkling wine.
Chef Lennox Hastie spent five years at Etxebarri in the Basque Country, where he developed his passion for cooking over flames. The daily rhythms of life in northern Spain and the relaxed approach to good food also stayed with him.
"It's different to the typical Australian breakfast," he says. "It brings back many memories for me."
The grazing-style spread will start with cheeses, jamón, crushed tomatoes and a wood-baked Basque bread similar to ciabatta, before moving on to more substantial plates. You might spring for the tortilla, scented with smoke from potatoes cooked in ashes, or opt for charred and roasted peppers.
The kitchen at**Firedoor
"Essentially, it's still our approach of finding good ingredients and then having some fun with them," he says. "It's traditional Basque things, but obviously we're wood-fired. Everything we do is based around that."
Slow-cooked meat - goat or pork perhaps - also figures in Hastie's plans. He wants to buy whole animals and put them in the oven early in the morning. Whole roasted fish will also make an appearance, as will txangurro, a Basque crab dish for which crabs are plucked from a restaurant's live seafood tank, grilled whole, and then broken down. Caramelised onions and slow-roasted tomatoes are folded through the meat, which is then served in the shell of the crab. Another Basque speciality, a baked cheesecake, goes into the wood-fired oven until the outside caramelises and forms a sweet and eggy crust.
Firedoor's Bloody Mary, made with grilled tomatoes
The drinks are just as interesting. Bloody Marys will lean smokier rather than sweet, powered by grilled tomatoes, while a house cumquat and orange marmalade will bring Martinis into morning mode. But the real showstopper could be the txakoli, the Basque white wine that's poured from a great height to enhance its effervescence.
"It's unique to the Basque region - a very vibrant, fresh, verdant young wine," Hastie says.
Brunch at Firedoor is around for a good time, not a long time, ending on 17 December, so hop to it if you want to end the year on a high.
Brunch at Firedoor, à la carte or tasting menu (5 courses, $65), 12 November to 17 December, 11am-3pm, 23-33 Mary St, Surry Hills, NSW, (02) 8204 0800, firedoor.com.au