We’ve said it before but it bears repeating, Racecourse Road is heating up. Literally. The strip’s newest fire-powered hot spot, Flaming & Co. is stoking some renewed interest in the iconic promenade, helping to fan the spark of inner-north interest that ignited in the wake of the announcement of the Brisbane 2032 Summer Olympics. Owners Crystal Siu and Jason Zhang (who also operate Brisbane Phoenix in The City), have been monitoring Brisbane’s growth rate since moving up from Sydney a few years back, keeping tabs on the areas that would be most receptive to new dining options.
When a space opened up on Racecourse Road, Crystal and Jason saw their opening. With Flaming & Co., the duo are looking to harness the raw elemental power of fire, championing pure form of cooking that is both primal and exciting, but still more than capable of bringing out the best in top-quality ingredients. “I think that fire – food cooked by barbecue or flame – is one of the most human cooking styles,” says Crystal, who cites the cross-cultural ubiquity of open-flame cooking as her restaurant’s driving inspiration. “I always wanted to try out something that looks back to the original, simple way of cooking.”
At the heart of Flaming & Co.’s slender premises (which over the years has been home to a noodle joint, an Indian restaurant and a charcoal-chicken shop) sits a customised woodfire grill, which anchors the kitchen and sends flickers of light through the windows out to the restaurant’s street-facing alfresco and festoon light-lit laneway dining areas.
The fit-out, designed by pdmg Studio, maximises the site’s high-ceilinged internals, with cooper, stainless steel, brick-red touches, rendered-concrete walls and a newly constructed bar (boasting vivid orange-hued backlighting) maintaining the sense warmth through to the banquette seating space at the venue’s rear (visible on the walls are Crystal’s own paintings, which add a personal touch). With a hard cap of 60 covers at any one time, Crystal and Jason are ensuring there’ll be no knocking of elbows (unless you and your mates elect to cluster around the bar) and that vibes are kept intimate at all times.
Flaming & Co.’s menu builds upon a broad modern-Australian foundation, shaping exceptional Australian produce like Fremantle octopus, Urban Valley mushrooms, Hawkesbury duck, Coffin Bay oysters and White Pyrenees lamb from Victoria with some Chinese-, Japanese- and Korean-inspired touches that pair perfectly with smoky, charred and grilled flavour profiles. Overseeing and executing the offering is head chef Jesse Brown, who is harnessing the fire pit to produce a range of dishes that span snacks and skewers, starters, mains, large plates, sides, and sweets. First-timers can start small with grilled oysters coated in fermented red chillies and wakame seaweed, wagyu katsu sandos with peppery dollops of wasabi, and golden salmon-belly croquettes crowned with house-made aioli.
Once you’ve primed the pump, scale things up with some shared starters like grilled kangaroo with beetroot and charred radish, charred scallops with sage butter, burnt leek and trout roe, and grilled tiger prawns with pickled fennel and citrus butter. When it comes to mains, you’ve got two options – either go it alone with the likes of wagyu rump cap with grilled cabbage and duck leg with Dutch carrots and autumn grains, or go in with a group on a shared plate of grilled coral trout with Aleppo pepper and confit lamb shoulder with choi sum.
Of special note is Flaming & Co.’s signature, the super-succulent whole-smoked duck – a head-turning share-style main that needs to be pre-ordered in advance, but is worth the wait. Flaming & Co.’s beverage program is set to evolve in the coming months, but guests can already browse a tight wine list showcasing Australian and international drops, a tidy selection of classic cocktails, domestic and imported beers, and an array of spirits. Though they may have one eye looking to the future, right now Crystal and Jason are committed to giving Hamilton locals an elevated dining experience they can count on. “We are just trying to provide another option for the area,” says Crystal. “People in Hamilton and Ascot definitely deserve more choices closer to home.”
Flaming & Co. is now open to the public. Head to the Stumble Guide for operating hours, booking details and menu information.