Looking for more fiery food? Try the spicy plates at Thai spot Plaza Khao Gaeng.
If you can't take the heat, go for one of our evergreen faves on your best restaurants in London list.
What's the deal?
You may not be able to throw a stone without it ricocheting off the brutalist exterior of a restaurant serving Mediterranean-inspired food cooked on an open flame, but Firebird – the latest entry to the genre – has a twist: it’s run by celebrated St. Petersburg restaurateurs Madina Kazhimova and Anna Dolgushina, who already have a solid track record of bringing foreign flavours to cities with buzzy restaurant scenes. In Russia’s second city, they helm two uber-successful restaurants that focus on flavours from Southeast Asia (including the pleasingly-named Wong Kar Wine). They relocated to London in 2020, and, after two years of pandemic-related setbacks, finally realised their goal of opening a restaurant in Soho’s heart.
The space, on the Oxford end of Poland Street, is gorgeous. Ivy trails over exposed plaster. Flickering candles drip abstract patterns of melted wax onto the walls. Black marble-topped tables are flanked by rattan-backed chairs. It all amounts to something darkly romantic, cool, and atmospheric, an effect that’s heightened by staff’s strange but charming uniforms: long white jackets that look like lab coats made by APC, as though they’re about to mix you Firebird’s signature baked banana old fashioned (which we’d recommend, by the way) out of beakers.
The food menu is a mishmash of Mediterranean influences. Greece has a strong showing, as do the evergreen flavours of Italy and the more seafood-heavy dishes of southern France. One scan of the menu shows it holds promise, with intriguing combinations like scallop carpaccio doused in Greek salad water, or flame-licked sourdough focaccia topped with jammy tomatoes. Though not everything comes off without a hitch, the menu’s creative ambition makes Firebird a worthy contender, and we bet that the food will become even more delicious as the kitchen gains confidence. In short: hot, hot, hot.
What should I eat?
It may look slightly incongruous next to all the sunny seafood fare and produce-led dishes, but the choux bun is a standout for its airy, crisp-on-the-outside pastry smeared with chicken liver pate and hazelnut. A daring combination that makes a perfectly rich treat.
The dish that best encapsulates Firebird’s Mediterranean-melting pot menu? The halloumi, which comes as a lightly charred log of melty-on-the-inside cheese, drizzled with honey and topped with peaches and truffle.
The honeycomb and strawberry eclair is the best looking dish on the menu: a pâte à choux stuffed like a mini-baguette with dollops of whipped cream, strawberries, and honeycomb pieces, then sprinkled with pistachio dust and drenched in honey. A gorgeous finisher.
Why should I go?
If you’re looking for a sexy and exciting new Soho address.
103-105 New Oxford St, London WC1A 1DB29 Poland St, London W1F 8QR