Saturday, 19 July 2014

Casual Dining - Firefly pizza in the CBD

I find it interesting that the Brisbane CBD, while not overly huge compared to Sydney and Melbourne, still has little clusters of restaurants and cafes.  These little clusters almost become tribe-like during the working week, with city workers streaming out of their high rises and flooding the surrounding eateries. Importantly though, you mainly stay close to your local tribe, never venturing too far away.  Usually its just a quick bite to eat before heading back to the desk and continuing on with the daily grind, but towards the end of the week, things start to slow down a little and you can take a little more time over lunch.  It's these days at the end of the week that you might consider wandering just a little further away than usual.

My workplace is in midtown (haha, we don't officially have a midtown, but it sounds very cosmo) and my tribe rarely ventures further afield than Post Office Square.  I was recently invited to venture a little further than my usual lunch haunts, up to the top end of the city, to check out a little spot called Firefly espresso - bar - pizza.  I'm not a stranger to the top end of the city, often meeting in the Telstra Building on George Street and sometimes frequenting Cicada for lunches when in the neighbourhood (see post here).  I'd often wondered how a Firefly pizza would go and I was about to find out.

I was meeting up with a regular work-slash-lunch buddy, MJ, whom I'd actually had to cancel a few of our lunch dates on over the last couple of months and was really looking forward to the catch up.  Arriving a little early for our 12pm reservation (I am always early!), I was able to take in Firefly for the first time - up close. It's actually quite a small space located in a little lane way that joins Ann Street and George Street, the inside dominated by a bar and serving area.  Seating is outside and separated from the surrounding area with a little white picket fence, the type that you expect 60s TV shows where the perfect family has the perfect house.  

I'd scored a little table right out the front of Firefly, with a good view of the surrounding area and did a little people watching until MJ finally arrived.  I'd arranged Firefly without really knowing if MJ liked pizza, but I'd just made the assumption that he did...  Everyone loves pizza, right?  MJ looked at me as if I was mad when I asked him, so question answered - a resounding yes!  We looked over the menu, which had a great assortment of pizza options, as well as some salads, which actually looked pretty good too.  The pizzas came in two sizes, a small ten inch base for dining in and a larger fourteen inch base for taking away, with the ten inch pizzas ranging from $10 to $15.

It was time to order and while we were there for pizza, one of the salads caught my eye and once confirming MJ was cool, ordered the seared chorizo salad with cucumber, feta, vine tomato, rocket and lemon olive oil.  Once I'd seen that one of the salads had chorizo, I was always going to struggle to resist the call of the sweet and spicy paprika flavour of one of my favourite meat products.  The salad was presented in one of those old school wooden bowls and was very fresh and rustic looking (a little messy though).  Importantly, there was a huge pile of grilled chorizo (the good stuff) and MJ and I almost got into duelling forks to get into it.  I was really happy with the salad, and surprisingly found that I liked the chorizo and feta combination.  Go figure!?

It was time for pizza and first out was MJ's supremo which came stacked with mozzarella, leg ham, chorizo, mushroom, roast capsicum, red onion and kalamata olives on a tomato base.  The ten inch pizza looked small on the plate, but given it was lunch and not dinner, ended up being a good size. I'm personally not a fan of stacking heaps of ingredients on a pizza but MJ is and he powered into his pizza with a gleam in his eye.  MJ seemed to be enjoying his supremo so I asked if I could have a small slice, which was thankfully handed over with no violence (jokes).  The base was was really crispy, which was excellent and the toppings working well with the pizza - not a bad effort but I thought it could have had a little more tomato sauce as a base and a touch more mozzarella to bring it all together.

Being ever the pizza traditionalist, I only had eyes for the margarita that came with mozzarella, roma tomato and oregano.  I had a suspicion that it wouldn't be the traditional Italian margarita and more of the Aussie variant, especially when I saw the roma tomato listed as an ingredient.  Sure enough, the pizza came out with thin slices of tomato covering the pizza, in the same way that pepperoni would cover a pizza.  I wasn't overly disappointed, I'd half expected it anyway, and I quickly reset my pizza expectations and dove in.  The pizza had a lovely crispy base also and had good flavour, which was enhanced by the fresh tomato on top.  As with the supremo, I think that the margarita could have done with more of the tomato sauce, which was lovely and just a touch more mozzarella.  Initially I'd though the ten inches was going to be too small, but it was the perfect lunch time size.

I'd been posting my photos to Instagram and Facebook as I'd been eating and was interested to get feedback from people who'd worked in the area and loved eating at Firefly.  MJ and I had a pretty enjoyable meal, with both of us liking our pizzas but loving the chorizo salad.  

Service at Firefly was pretty quick and efficient, with the busy lunch time crowd needing to get through fairly quickly, and pizzas were coming out of the oven at a rapid rate.  It was later in the week, and I could see a few glasses of wine and beers coming out of the bar area as well, and I could feel the tension melting out of the lunch time crowd.  It' had been pretty quiet when I'd first arrived but by the time we finished up and left, the place was humming.

If you work in the part of the city that has Firefly as your local, then you've probably stopped by from time to time for a pizza or a Friday afternoon beer at the bar.  If your tribe's lunch zone is a little further afield, then you might want to put together a raiding party and head down on a Thursday or Friday, you might just find it worth the trip.


**I was a guest of Firefly and the Cicada group for this meal

Chorizo and Salad - it may not surprise to learn that we ate all the chorizo first!
The supreme pizza was packed with lots of fresh ingredients and chorizo
My margarita needed just a little more cheese and a little more of the delightful tomato sauce base
There were a lot of Belvedere Vodka bottles around - must have been a bar!
The well stoked bar goes off on a Friday night after work
The lunch time crowd settling in
Some pretty interesting beers on tap

Firefly on UrbanspoonFirefly Espresso.Bar.Pizza

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