Laura Porter
11th Aug 2015

Ask an in-the-know local where to to go for drink in Neutral Bay and chances are they'll mention Firefly. Whether you have plans for an intimate gathering over a few wines, a cocktail fueled birthday celebration or you're seeking a thirst quenching craft beer pit stop you can't beat Firefly. It's a small-ish bar that's been around for years and yet continues to be a firm North Shore favourite. The wine list is long, the beers ever changing and the staff friendly and knowledgeable. It's also more than just a bar - Firefly's tapas style sharing menu offers plenty of temptation too. And it's a menu that just got more interesting.

In their quest to keep things seasonal, fresh and innovative the Firefly team recently invested in two exciting new kitchen toys, a sous vide and cryovac machine - and luckily for customers the chef is already putting them to good use. For fish fans there are two new dishes on offer - a smoked trout 'hand held' salad with citrus and coconut dressing, and seared scallops with cauliflower puree, morcilla and pickled pear. Vegetarians are well catered for with delicate bite-size pumpkin tortellini and the more substantial grilled haloumi. And Firefly's pork and lamb menu items have been given a new twist - the crisped pork belly comes with chilli caramel and an Asian herb salad, and the roasted lamb rump with crushed minted potato and pea puree. These two more hearty shared plates are almost too good for sharing and wouldn't last long in the middle of a table of hungry meat eaters.

What about the rest of the menu? Of course old and popular favourites still feature, like their famous zucchini fries with aioli and the lighter than expected salt and pepper calamari. And there's more good news - 80% of the menu is gluten free. Sounds surprising given the breadth of dishes mentioned but it's true.

What to drink? Choose from 10 or so craft beers, safe in the knowledge that your chances of grabbing them in your local bottle shop are slim. Whiskey fan? Then go ahead and indulge in their selection of single malt whiskeys. Or, avoid wine choice deliberation and ask about the Firefly Pinot Noir wall. Yes they've got 80 of the world's best Pinot Noir's on display and you can sample a flight of them. Think 2013 Pooley Cooinda Vale from Tasmania, followed by 2013 Trofeo Estate from Mornington and finally the 2014 Dead Mouse Shed from the Yarra Valley. The Pinot Noir flights, like their diverse sharing plates, feel like another way Firefly is tempting you beyond what may too often be a 'slider and shiraz' comfort zone.

The cost? With dishes priced between $8 and $24, you can happily work through several shared plates without breaking the bank. Or go with a group and enjoy easy bill splitting with the 7 course sharing banquet for $45 per person. Firefly also offers functions for big groups with the added bonus of no venue hire fees and no minimum spend.

With six new dishes on the menu and Winter transitioning to Spring perhaps it's time you tried Firefly to get a taste of what keeps the locals coming back.