An elegant setting of expansive windows looking out onto Unley Road, a striking wood oven and tables clad with black cloths set the scene for an Argentinian feast at Fire on Unley. Booth seating lines one of the walls allowing for intimate dining while the ample size of the restaurant accommodates large groups.
For entree we started with traditional stuffed pastries; Empanaditas. Three pasty shaped parcels filled with a savoury beef mince, chunks of green olive and boiled egg wrapped in a delightful crispy pastry shell. The most outer layer was incredibly crispy, almost like a fried wonton wrapper and then inside layers, slightly crumbly. They retained a little oil from the fryer which I didn’t mind and thought it worked well with the filling.
Calamares is simple dish of char grilled squid tubes and some tentacles requiring only a light squeeze of lemon. The squid retains some bite but it could not be described as tough. Accompanied by a creamy garlic aioli it was a satisfying, tasty starter.
Surtido are two skewers of cubed steak paired with Spanish onion and red capsicum. The steak pieces retain a blush in the middle and are tender. The skewers are marinated in the house chimichurri sauce that I will tell you about later.
For main course we started with the Cordero. A sliced lean lamb rump cooked pink, just like we requested. With a generous side of creamy thick yoghurt sauce spiked with loads of pungent garlic and drizzled with oil. I loved the rich dollop consistency of the sauce and it went so well with both the lamb and potatoes. This dish was flawless and I feel that I can’t talk it up enough.
The Asado present as a trio of soft and fleshy beef ribs that shred on touch. As a beef short rib should they have some gelatinous fat tucked under the bone and plenty of tender, sweet meat falling off the top. Served on the side was a house made BBQ sauce that had rich, deep vinegar and caramel flavours that paired well with the meat.
Of the 5 steaks on offer we selected the 300g Eye Fillet with chimichurri sauce. This was hands down one of the best steaks I have ever had. Impeccably cooked medium rare, it was well rested, juicy and texturally perfect. The steak was bursting with deep, rich meaty flavours. It is clear that a supreme quality cut of beef is used here. I was singing its praises trying to think of a steak that I have had that I enjoyed as much as this – then I added the chimichurri sauce. If I wasn’t sitting down my knees would have buckled. The house made traditional Argentinian sauce was bursting with freshness and zing. Loads of parsley combined with mustard seeds, cumin, chilli, garlic and vinegar. It is fresh, vibrant and lifted any food lucky enough to be dipped into it. This is the type of sauce you would lick of the floor if you spilled some. Even that ethereal eye fillet was lifted to another dimension when complemented by the sauce.
Having a focus on exquisite meat dishes Fire on Unley has an expansive menu including pasta, seafood, oysters and a varied pizza selection. Most of the dishes are accompanied by a rocket salad that is lightly dressed and well seasoned. It is a necessary side to the protein focused menu and is more than a thoughtless garnish but a balanced, harmonising addition. There are also the delicious potato cubes; crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. Loaded with paprika, salt and various herbs the golden nuggets are so tasty it is impossible to leave any on the plate.
Words by Kate Wilkinson
WHERE: 170-182 Unley Rd, Unley