The UK’s top wood-fire restaurants
Book a table and put some fire in your belly
Cooking with fire is so hot right now and these are the kitchens stoking up their flames for your gastronomic enjoyment.
Here we pick out some of the UK’s best wood-fire restaurants and the reasons why you should make a booking.
Fanning the flames in the name of good food is Edo chef and owner Jonny Elliott. His impressive CV working for the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Gary Rhodes sets the bar high for this vibrant modern European restaurant in Belfast. The name (pronounced aye-do) is Latin for “I eat” and you’ll certainly be doing a lot of that here. Dishes are cooked over apple and pear wood in a Bertha charcoal oven, giving a distinctive, smokey flavour. If you can’t decide on a starter and a main, opting for the sharing menu is a great way to sample a number of the great dishes on offer.
Edo, 3 Capital House, Upper Queen Street, Belfast BT1 6FB; edorestaurant.co.uk
Una Kitchen, St Ives
The taste of Mediterranean sunshine is a tempting proposition at this popular restaurant in west Cornwall. While award-winning chef Glenn Gatland rustles up some impressive dishes on the wood-fire oven in the restaurant’s open kitchen, diners are able to watch their dinner being cooked over the flames. Brimming with local and seasonal produce, the menu provides generous helpings of fresh Cornish seafood and lamb shoulder to authentic wood-fired pizzas and antipasti. Una Kitchen even offers a flame-grilled Sunday roast.
Laity Ln, Carbis Bay, Saint Ives TR26 3HW; unastives.co.uk
Blue Smoke on the Bay, Low Wood Bay, Windermere
Blue Smoke on the Bay is a hidden gem in the Lake District combining an exciting wood-fired grill with stunning views of Lake Windermere. The three-metre-long double wood-fired grill is the restaurant’s centrepiece, and all the senses are entertained, with glorious smells and the visual theatre of the kitchen adding to the ambience and beautiful surroundings. Cooking over hot embers of sustainable British wood such as elder, birch, and oak, the chefs create fabulous flavours in aged steaks, meats, fish, and vegetables, all complemented with a diverse wine list. Blue Smoke can’t be beaten for location, visual flair, or simple, hearty cooking.
Low Wood Bay Hotel, Windermere LA23 1LP; englishlakes.co.uk
Neil Rankin’s Temper City, London
Neil Rankin is a pioneer of London’s high-end barbecue scene and is lauded for his experimental use of bold flavours and his eclectic global influences. From his early days at Barbecoa with Jamie Oliver to Pitt Cue, and his Smokehouse restaurants you know, when it comes to cooking with fire, you’re in safe hands. It’s hard to argue with Temper City’s no-nonsense menu: barbecue meats and poultry alongside curry, tandoor roasted meats and homemade roti breads. If you can’t make it to the City, there are also Temper outlets in Soha and Covent Garden.
2 Angel Court, 30 Throgmorton Street, London EC2R 7HJ; temperrestaurant.com. Image by Steven Joyce
Opera Grill, Chester
This vast 400-seater restaurant, housed in a Grade II-listed Methodist chapel dating back to 1836, boasts a bar space and a music lounge. The star of the show is the open kitchen, which is centred around a three-metre handmade charcoal and wood burning grill, sitting between two wood burning ovens. Either side of this are two floor-to-ceiling fridges, lined with pink Himalayan salt bricks where cuts of meat are dry-aged. The raw bar, cold counters and salad bars perfectly complement the superb charcoal grill and wood oven dishes.
3 Pepper St, Chester CH1; individualrestaurants.com