Chef Nicki Morrison – owner of Flint – has a burning passion for fire. She spent years travelling across Europe (including stints cheffing on luxury yachts) before returning to Melbourne and working for a year with charcoal at Argentinian steakhouse San Telmo. That’s where she met Flint’s sous-chef Yukio Endo. And it was then that she knew she had to turn her passion into her own bricks-and-mortar restaurant.
Morrison and Endo spearheaded a seven-month renovation that elevated the Smith Street location (formerly home to a takeaway Japanese spot) into an elegant dining space. It’s complete with a curvaceous handcrafted bar and tabletops. While a private mezzanine dining room overlooks the open kitchen, providing the perfect set-up for intimate get-togethers.
But Flint’s key point of difference is that there are no traditional ovens – just fire, smoke and charcoal. And fermentation.
So, naturally, you’ll find stellar steaks. But meat isn’t always the main event here: the smoked carrot dish is surprisingly popular, too. For the base, carrots are fermented for a week in a saltwater brine, before being broken down into a puree with smoked butter. For the carrot rounds on top, the carrot is charred and cooked on the smoker. It’s all served with lashings of garlicky house-made labneh.
Also a winner is the smoked venison tartare. Cashews and fermented beetroot might be grilled on charcoal, before being cooked into a puree to serve with the tartare – stacked with buckwheat, puffed nori crackers and a cured egg.
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