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Phire away! Fine dining restaurant gets "accessible" new neighbour

Phire away! Fine dining restaurant gets

Friday 09 February 2024

Phire away! Fine dining restaurant gets "accessible" new neighbour

Friday 09 February 2024

A new restaurant which aims to bring the high-end ingredients and classical cooking techniques of its more sophisticated sister to a wider audience has recently opened its doors. 

‘Phire’ opened next-door to fine dining restaurant ‘Samphire’ on Don Street in December.

The new venue aims to offer a more affordable and intimate dining experience than its high-end neighbour – serving modern, globally-inspired dishes and a range of small plates for sharing in a "no-fuss casual space".

Phire's focus is on Southeast-Asian flavours, with many dishes cooked over coals on a Japanese grill by classically trained chefs who serve the food themselves and engage with diners.

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The venue was previously home to an informal eatery called 'Street' that served tapas-style food and closed after the pandemic.

Chula Whelan, CEO of Samphire, described Phire as "a natural extension of Samphire" with a "relaxed and casual philosophy".

She explained: "It has a very different aesthetic [to Samphire] and has a shortened and more refined menu.

"We were very conscious of the cost of living and inflation... so its all about keeping the prices down and keeping it accessible."

Ms Whelan added: "Dining has become more of an occasion rather than the norm so we wanted to make the experience available to everyone."

"The world is changing... but we want people to feel that they come here every day — for lunch or dinner."


Pictured: The coconut crab curry is one of the restaurant's most popular dishes. 

Phire's head chef, Ben, who previously worked at Michelin-starred restaurant Bohemia for two years, spoke about the inspiration behind the new menu.

"It's focused on Southeast Asian flavours, with an emphasis on simplicity and providing high-end ingredients prepared and cooked using fine-dining techniques," he said.

"There are vegetarian options and all of our dishes are gluten-free, except for the burger, and we are really conscious of allergens."

Some of the dishes also use the family recipes of the Indonesian front-of-house manager. 

Phire's main aim is to offer a relaxed and casual atmosphere but there are plans to make Friday and Saturday more lively, with the possibility of a karaoke machine in future!

Ms Whelan added that Phire has only been open for six weeks so far, but already have a bunch of regular customers — both Samphire loyalists and new customers.

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