Black Fire, Braddon

8 Dec

It’s Monday night and there’s a rumbling – but it’s difficult to tell whether it’s from stomachs belonging to me and Capital Food Journal, or from the pending great storm. We’re at Black Fire in Braddon for the first time. The mediterranean restaurant with its charcoal grill (or black fire) has been getting plenty of good publicity, both formally and by word of mouth.

We’re seated in front of some neon lights in the restaurant, the space of which is smaller than I expect. The busy kitchen takes up one end of the restaurant, and it’s not short on wait staff – and is packed by 7.30pm.

Black Fire has a very large range of ‘first’ and ‘second’ courses which are tempting – among them omnipresent pork belly, chorizo, dukkah crusted ocean trout and prawn cutlets – but we’re here for the main event: food from the fire!

The fish, black Angus, Wagyu and ‘organic farm animals’ (suckling pig, chicken breast and lamb) all come with a free side from the menu (normally $9) and condiment sauce, so while the dishes are on the more expensive side ($27-42) it seems like a good deal.

We struggle to pick between the different steaks so seek advice from our helpful waiter who can explain the difference between them all; CFJ orders the rump cap ($27) while I opt for the thicker-cut Angus tenderloin ($36).

Our meals arrive quickly and are hot, but the small size of the sides surprises me. I’m not sure a few slices of tomato with capers (or tomatina of fresh marinated tomatoes with capers, basil and oregano) is quite worth the $9 on its own, and aren’t anywhere near as juicy as they look.

Tomatina ($9)

The meat, on the other hand, is extremely tasty but at parts gristly – and CFJ has a similar experience with her portion. My tenderloin is mostly evenly cooked which is pretty impressive for a piece its size.

Angus tenderloin ($36) with tomatina and roasted garlic and rosemary sauce

Apart from my poor knife skills, you can see the gristle in this photo. It wasn’t quite this pink (the lighting has upset the pic a bit!) but it was cooked rare (as I’d ordered)

Rump cap ($27) with taroz of yellow mashed potatoes, beans and sauteed onions

While tasty neither of us is blown away. The table next to us has ordered the suckling pig and it’s dry. All of this confounds me given the rave reviews. But, we’ve saved room for dessert and the menu is particularly tempting and reasonably priced ($12-13).

On arrival we both have to check what we’ve ordered: the plates are busy, so much so that it’s like we’ve got two or three desserts on each plate (not necessarily complaining!).

Chocolate indulgence double mousse on a wild fennel and white chocolate silk, raspberries and butter toasted almond tart ($13)

Closer look

Both my dessert and CFJ’s banana cake and dulce de leche with pomegranate maple syrup and poached pear come with chocolate lattice flakes and are swimming in beds of flavour. The mousse indulgence in my dessert is more an icecream covered in chocolate, and basically separate to it – competing with it – is the unmatched butter almond tart. Both elements taste great but the combination (if you can call it that) doesn’t work.

Despite the many waiters that pass us we struggle to get anyone’s attention to take our money after getting the bill, and take it to the counter.

The experience bemuses me more than anything – it’s not quite the hyped experience we’ve been told about. In recounting our experience in the days since, most people can’t believe me (Boyfriend included – and he is a harsh critic!). I think I’ll have to go back for another round.

Date: Monday, 1 December 2014

Where: Mort Street, Braddon

Cost: $36 + $27 + $13 + $13 + two glasses of wine (about $11 each)

Value for money: Medium

Worthwhile factor: Remains to be seen. It was a pleasant enough experience but without the continuing hype I’m not sure I’d rush to return.

Want more? Black Fire has a very comprehensive website here.

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2 Responses to “Black Fire, Braddon”

  1. sak December 9, 2014 at 11:41 am #

    This was my experience at Black Fire too! The meat was nowhere near what we expected (dry, small, taste was just okay?) and while the sides we ordered were fine, we didn’t feel it was value for money. Service was well-meaning but missed the mark. Would be nice to go back again and see if they were just having an off night…

  2. John December 13, 2014 at 8:16 pm #

    Over-rated, but why not, give this rip-off restaurant another chance, maybe things will magically change and you’ll find it the best in Canberra…*cough*.

    “Value for money = medium”….LOL!

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