Masters of mezze: all eyes on Fitzrovia’s new Aegean dining destination, Firedog, where brunch traditions are being turned on their head – and avocado is banned
Aegean-inspired bar and restaurant Firedog is Fitzrovia’s latest foodie destination. 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 serves up its contemporary Greek and Turkish street food mezze from a grill fuelled by olive wood chips.
Three interlinking neon triangles – the symbol for a lit fire – glow on one wall as my friend and I enter and take a seat under the colourful, hand-painted pop art-style murals along the other wall. Part of an Aegean mythology mash-up, the design’s dancing skeletons look surprisingly cheery.
Other than this punk outburst, the interiors are traditional and muted, with brass detailing and a wooden panelled staircase leading down to a larger dining room, where dinner service begins later this month.
For now, all-day breakfast, brunch and lunch are the order of the day. Responsible for pleasing palates is executive chef George Notley, and – fully aware of the official no-avocado policy – we trust the kitchen and order the set breakfast mezze.
A chunk of glistening honeycomb, made in London our waiter says, is set down with a side of clotted cream. With grilled flatbread to spread it on, it feels like a deliciously alternative afternoon tea. Classic cheeses – think grilled halloumi and feta – come with sides of sour cherry compote, an apple and quince paste and a vibrantly crisp and fresh heap of cucumber topped with lemon zest and poppy seeds.
A few English breakfast staples make an appearance, but eggs are scrambled and spiced with harissa paste and the spicy sujuk sausage is served with a smattering of spring onion for an extra kick.
The mixture of pottery, from the blue and green glazed tiles to the uneven edged dishes (some handmade locally), emphasises the overwhelming variety of the food.
Eating more than a dozen dishes between us is thirsty work, and in the spirit of turning breakfast traditions upside down my friend trades her staple OJ for a freshly squeezed juice of the purple carrot variety. I opt for a non-alcoholic fruit soda made with a house syrup infusion of plum and mastika, the latter being a resin from the native Mediterranean mastic tree that can also be chewed as a gum.
Brunching at Firedog offers a playful initiation to Aegean dining. And if this is how the place starts the day, I can’t wait to put my name down for dinner.