The Pinot Noir sign is un-miss-able on the corner. Firefly owner Dan Sofo says the list just took on a life of its own. It started with a dozen or so Pinot Noir, but Firefly now has about 85 different bottles. On the shelves behind the bar are tasting notes, including recommendations for staff.
Even the new cocktail list at Firefly features Pinot Noir. The new Pinot Colada tops Pisco, Becherovka, Coco Lepez, tiki bitters and pineapple with a colour Pinot Noir float. On a blistering cold and storm swept Sydney night when winter peeped through Warm Spiced Wine ($14) was our other choice of greeting. Other new Firefly cocktails, from the signature list of ten, range from the Neutral Bay Sailing Club ($17) Angostura 5yo, apricot brandy, grapefruit, falernum to the Firefly Espresso Martin ($20) with Stolichnaya, Mozart white choc, Mr Blacks, fresh espresso with milky bar shavings. After Eight ($18) finishes the cocktail list with Bacardi Ocho, 70s crème de menthe, Fernet Branca, vanilla ice cream. Oh my!
Along with craft beers and ciders such as Young Henrys Newtowner APA ($10) and David Franz Scrumpy Cider ($13) there's a long list of others wines by the glass including a pin board list of specials. At anyone time there'll be at least a half a dozen Pinot Noir open that can be ordered by the glass for those that don't want to indulge in a whole bottle.
The rest of the wine list is pretty special too with a good range of the under-rated varietal Grenache. We spied the marvellous McLaren Vale wonder Samuel's Gorge ($99 a bottle) all too late, when we'd already had enough to drink.
The popular bustling north-side bar also brings a 70s influence to the food. Break out those Afros and flares and get down and boogy with classic Fried Camembert ($15). It's done well, crisp on the outside, oozing in the centre, with the old school cranberry classic relish to accompany the cheese.
The menu at Firefly, appropriately for a bar, consists solely of share plates from Marinated olives ($8) to the more substantial and extremely well crafted and delicious Roasted lamb rump ($23) still harking back to the 70s with a crushed mint potato, and pea puree.
In between there is a wonderful array of bar snacks and more substantial food. Pork & fennel sausage roll ($15) is outstandingly scrumptious in its own right yet is served with a sticky spiced caramel topping. Duck pancakes (4 for $24) are a top knotch example of this dish; at Firefly the filling is delightfully crunchy. Pumpkin tortellini ($17) are delightful with the beurre noisette and crisp sage, but could have done without the slivered almond topping which took away from the perfect pasta and its pumpkin puree.
Best of the dishes are the Canadian seared scallops ($22) in a share plate that has already had a thousand incarnations around Sydney, this is a very fine example and probably the best we have enjoyed. Firstly, the scallops were perfectly cooked, still slightly translucent. They were served with a morcilla (blood sausage) that was not strong and overpowering but still light enough to provide harmony and balance in its contrast. With these, came a bed of cauliflower puree and pickled pear. A dish worth travelling for.
My other favourite on that winter night last week was Baked mushrooms ($18) which were just beautifully cooked, melted but still retaining their body, with chevre thyme and a PX reduction. Simple? Yes. Simple delicious.
The other mushroom dish of the Firefly menu, Wild mushroom arancini ($14.50) although ubiquitous in Sydney bars and cafes, deserves its place here. They are not only full of flavour but unctuously cheesey. Just right for mopping up that Pinot Noir that you know you're going to have.
Along with the other gun, roasted lamb rump, Sliced beef scotch fillet ($24) is enough for a main as well as a wonderful way to share. This new plate is hearty and encouraging to the appetite, with dark wholesome goodness of black garlic and lashings of buckwheat soba noodles., it's a winner.
Firefly options include $5 sliders on Mondays through to a Sharing banquet of 8 courses at $55 per person. And for those that need a little something sweet, there are three dessert options. We tried the Elvis Presley's Parfait ($12) which is a decadently rich dessert of peanut butter and chocolate ganache. I wonder how it got its name? Are there any Elvis Presley fans out there that can enlighten me?
But the best of all was saved until last. More red wine. This time the wonderful Piggs Peake 'suckling pig' dessert shiraz ($13 by the glass).