Tired of the same old diners and eateries? Looking for somewhere new to debrief with your friends about the night before but with delicious food? Aegean-inspired restaurant Firedog is London’s latest foodie hangout, and it’s here to turn all traditions on their head. It’s brunch, but not as you know it…
1. Location, location, location.
Picture yourself on Oxford Street with a friend/partner/parent and both of you with rumbling stomachs. Now try and think of somewhere within a five or ten minute walk radius that’s actually a great place to go eat. We don’t really talk about it, but there’s hardly anywhere in one of London’s busiest and most touristy areas that does brilliant food at a reasonable price. Well, asides from Firedog. Situated on Newman Street, just a stone’s throw from Tottenham Court Road or Oxford Circus, it’s the perfect pitstop after a busy day of shopping or before a night out on the town. Not only that but with an interior that’s made up of warm wooden panelling, neon light installations and tasteful graffiti – Firedog bills itself as brunch with a side of hip-hop – there’s no better place to while away the late morning.
2. Best of both worlds…
Everyone with tastebuds knows that the two tastiest types of food are Greek and Turkish – and Aegean food is a fusion of both. And while Aegean food is named after Greece’s sun-soaked islands home to countless cooking traditions that have survived for generations, Firedog is itself named after fire dogs – cooking stones used for grilling in Santorini as far back as the 17th century. The restaurant has reinvented the technique and introduced a menu which blends Greek and Turkish street food from a grill fuelled by olive wood chips. So you can expect small plate dishes with plenty of fish, meat – most typically, lamb – garden vegetables, wild greens and pulses. If there’s one thing that Aegean chefs subscribe to, it’s respect for fine, seasonal foods – and this rings true at Firedog, too, with a host of straightforward dishes which more than allow the ingredients to take centre stage and shine.
3. No. Avocado. EVER!
Avocado has been done to death. That’s what Firedog believes, anyway – and we couldn’t agree more. For years now it seems the humble avocado has had a strangle-hold on breakfast, lunch and dinner, holding meals to ransom from ingredients with actual taste and flavour. Firedog’s head chef George Notley said in an interview with Refinery 29: “The ever-evolving cooking methods used in Aegean street food inspired us to create a colourful menu rich in interesting flavours and fresh ingredients – all without an avocado in sight!” While the more cynical among us might want to dismiss this as a marketing ploy or easy way to bag publicity, there’s no denying that if your dining companions are the kind to order the same food over and over and over again, it’ll be a way to break them out of their shell and try some food with actual flavour. Avocado on toast? Nah. Go for Firedog’s signature spread of traditional mezes and specials inspired by Su’dan Alacati.
4. Bottom’s up!
We were talking about value for money earlier, right? Well, Firedog has recently launched London’s first bottomless Aegean weekend brunch, in which diners can enjoy a meze feast with unlimited Prosecco for up to an hour and a half – and all for just £35. And if you’re not a drinker and just fancy the food, it’s a steal at only £25. But the value doesn’t stop there. Most of the bigger plates come in at under a tenner – with baked eggs with smoked tomato, charred peppers and hung herb yoghurt or grilled helium with slow roasted tomatoes, beetroot hummus and fried eggs (named Özdemir Pasha II, after a general from the Ottoman Empire – obviously) both for just £9.90.
5. Get you a restaurant what can do both.
It’s not just the food at Firedog that’s first-rate, but the drinks as well. Their Bloody Mary is quite literally a lifesaver when you’ve had a heavy one the night before, and the cocktail menu reads like poetry – with signature cocktails including the Cream of the Dog – made from Havana rum, pineapple syrup, chargrilled pineapple, lime, chilli, cream, smoked yoghurt, served with marshmallow and a lime bowl of Wray and Nephew – and the Posher Posca – beetroot spirit, black carrot juice, Amaro Montenegro, grapefruit juice and blackberry jam. Seriously, scholars will be debating the nuanced beauty of this menu for generations to come.
Firedog is situated on 92 Newman Street, London. Click here for more information, to read a menu or to make a booking.