Prahran's flame-driven Vietnamese restaurant from the Hanoi Hannah team offers smoke aplenty, across both the food menu and cocktail list.
For its latest culinary adventure, the crew behind Tokyo Tina and Hanoi Hannah is once again tackling the flavours of Southeast Asia. Its new flame-driven Prahran restaurant Firebird is inspired by the smoky street food stalls of Vietnam, while rocking a distinctly Melbourne edge. The High Street haunt is here to dish up a taste of two worlds.
With room for 110 diners and interiors by Ewert Leaf, the space has a modern industrial feel with exposed beams, distressed concrete and soft timber pendants. Custom-built chargrill and woodfired ovens take pride of place in the open kitchen, and you'll spy splashes of green and 70s-style tiling throughout.
Here, Head Chef Steven Ngo (Long Chim) offers up a modern menu celebrating the traditional flavours of his native Vietnam, abundant with smoky finishes and charry elements. For smaller plates, expect grilled squid with green mango, beef carpaccio with finger lime and flat pressed banh mi with charred eggplant relish. In the 'from the fire' section of the menu, you'll find grilled whole fish in a brown butter and citrus nouc mam sauce and an extra rich smoked lamb rib curry.
Patrons can also tuck into a re-imagined duck l'orange, which features a half or whole slow-roasted bird with burnt orange and a punchy sauce; meanwhile, fire-tossed pipis are done in a sour tomato broth and paired with pieces of grilled Chinese doughnut. You can jump into a four-course chef's selection for $68 a head, or a vegan version for $62.
To match, there's a tight, but well-travelled wine selection and a handful of crafty brews. You can stay right on theme with something from the smoke-driven lineup of cocktails, too — try the burnt grapefruit paloma or the Junglebird — pineapple rum, cherry liqueur, Dom Benedictine herbal liqueur and freshly juiced pineapple.
Images: Parker Blain and Jana Langhorst