Common sense tells us that cooking needs fire, but this new trend of cooking with open fire has become mainstream. A new restaurant opened in Fitzroy, Melbourne puts its choicest ingredients through the baptism by fire.
Flint is unlike any other locale found along the strip. Here, Chef/Owner Nicki Morrison’s obsession with fire, flame and charcoal takes center stage, where her and sous-chef Yukio Endo (both alumni of Melbourne’s San Telmo) cook without ovens, and instead champion the charry, smokey capabilities of their open furnace.
A seven-month renovation saw the Smith Street location – home to a takeaway Japanese eatery for 25 years prior – transformed into an elegant dining space, complete with a curvaceous handcrafted bar and tabletops to complement the venue’s original curved ceilings and entryways. A private mezzanine dining room overlooks the open kitchen, providing the perfect set-up for intimate get-togethers.
Flint’s key point of difference is that there are no traditional ovens or cooking stoves – just fire, smoke and charcoal. And fermentation to take care of the rest.
Seeded Sourdough, Bone Marrow-Koji Butter
The bone marrow and koji infused butter was amazing! Creamy and soft, it was so spreadable on the toasty sourdough. Needed more of the butter though.
SA Oysters. Nori Paste & Fermented Grapes
These days nobody seemed to be selling plain, old shucked oysters anymore. Everything was dressed with some specialty condiments or sidekicks. Like these SA oysters were paired with nori paste made from mixing seaweed with lemon, and sliced marinated grapes. I prefer simply shucked and fresh oysters anytime.
Selection Of Pickles
They charged you for the pickles, which is a common practice in Chinese restaurants> When you tasted the pickled cherry tomato, cabbage, radish and dill, you can understand why it’s worth it.
Mussel Escabeche, Coffee Emulsion
Can’t see why is this called an escabeche, but the pickled onions on smoked mussels were perfect with the coffee infused aioli and burnt toast.
Burnt Lettuce, Pistachio, Anchovy
Think of it as a Caesar salad turned upside down. The anchovy pistachio butter was liberally smooched on the halved Romaine lettuce that has been charred on the burner. Smoky and warm lettuce, saltiness from the anchovy and creaminess from the pistachio butter, a winner with my table of guests.
Silver Trevally, Fermented Shiitake Soy, Leek
Ceviche of silver trevally with shiitake mushroom infused soy sauce and leeks, with nasturtium and drops of tomato jam with a savoury and sour marinade. Delicious.
But since opening, the smoked carrot dish has proved the most popular. For the base, carrots are fermented for a week in a saltwater brine, before being broken down into a puree with smoked butter. For the carrot rounds on top, “We also char the hell out of [them] and chuck them on the smoker,” Morrison explains. It’s all served with lashings of garlicky house-made labneh.
Special Order – French Beans,
An off-menu item for our vegetarian colleague who was having problems with only two items on the menu suitable for his consumption. Hope they will develop something for the vegans, but again, maybe not.
Great Ocean Duck Breast, Orange Reduction, Pickles
Perfectly grilled duck breast from a gourmet duck farmer that fed their ducks strawberries and let them roamed around the green fields of Port Campbell. If would need a better sauce than the orange reduction, but that’s personal as I am no fan of sweet sauce with meat.
Premium O’Connor Flank Steak 300G.
The steak was a perfect meat for the open fire. The steak benefited from the smoke and blazing fire to form a beautiful crust from the Maillard reaction. Served with pickled radicchio cabbage, a sour cream dip and au jus reduction.
Houji-Cha Pana Cotta, Orange Caramel, Plum, Rosemary Caramel
The only fail for the evening. The soupy panna cotta?
The dinner was a fun and delicious affair. The menu is still work in progress and changes with the seasonal ingredients. We went through almost everything in the menu, and was wanting more. The dessert definitely needs some work, and so was the list of wine available. Some carbs like tubers would be welcomed. Would definitely come again to see how they are progressing.
FLINT Restaurant on Smith Street
199 Smith St, Fitzroy, VIC 3065, Australia
Visited Jun 2023
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