Spitfire has a split personality – in a good way. It’s a place where you’re just as likely to settle into a bowl of ancient grains and a bottle of natural wine as you are to get stuck into some pints of Pabst Blue Ribbon (it’s on tap here). Depending on when you go, it can feel like you’re in a neighbourhood wine bar or a full-blown dive.
One thing’s consistent, though: the music. Rock’s always playing (loudly) on the sound system because Spitfire functions as a front bar to its sister venue Stay Gold, a no-nonsense rock’n’roll bandroom that regularly hosts local and international acts.
A late-night vibe is inescapable, and Spitfire leans into it. The kitchen opens at 5pm and on weekends it doesn’t close until at least 2am. The lengthy service means the menu has to cater to people who eat dinner at a reasonable hour as well as those who might stumble by late on their way home, keen for a dirty feed.
The bar menu, which starts after 10pm, is especially worth waiting for. Get a “God Feather” off the souva selection. It’s a warm flatbread wrap stuffed with charcoal chicken, chives, caramelised onion and a cheese sauce begging to be mopped off the plate. (Save some of your flatbread to do this.) Almost everything on the menu, from the four-hour slow-roasted lamb to the made-to-order flatbread, is cooked in the kitchen’s enormous woodfire oven.
Chef Blair Williams was in the kitchen at Bluebonnet Barbecue during the early days, as well as the now-closed Longhorn Saloon and Piqueos. He’s spent a lot of time cooking with flames, and he’s clearly very comfortable handling this monstrous oven.