Over-wood restaurants

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Popular with early new Nordic chefs such as Bo Bech of Geist in Copenhagen and Victor Arguinzoniz of Asador Etxebarri in northern Spain, advocates of cooking over wood treat the wood itself as a key ingredient. Whether you are in Stockholm, São Paulo, Singapore, or Sydney, the wood movement is dominating new openings. Greg Sunning reveals three great places worth smoking out.


What you need to know about cooking over wood

Modern chefs now prize the authenticity of cooking over wood, with its uneven burn and textural variations. The natural lack of uniformity imbues an assortment of flavours – smoked, sweet, or robust as oak. Gone are the foams and purées of five years ago in favour of smoke and flame.

The Dairy, London

This fantastic suburban bistro is unassumingly brilliant. The charcoal and applewood-chip grill not only sears sensational meats but also smokes the house butter, which is then paired with the home-baked bread. The sourcing of impeccable ingredients (some are grown on the venue’s roof) is complemented by masterful flourishes from the ex-Le Manoir aux’Quat Saisons chef Robin Gill.


In ’t Nieuw Museum, Bruges

Continental Europe has a long tradition of open-fire cooking predating the current shift to wood. Just an hour from the Belgian capital, Brussels, in the stunning medieval town of Bruges lies the 17th-century open grill at the heart of this restaurant. Here you’ll find well-priced traditional fare in an esoteric, memento-adorned bistro.


Burnt Ends, Singapore

Australian chef Dave Pynt’s CV includes some great eateries, but now he helms Asia’s 14th Best Restaurant, near Chinatown. Counter-seating overlooks the open kitchen (complete with a four-tonne brick kiln Pynt designed), where almost everything is touched by fire or smoke. Vegetables are given equal billing to steak and wagyu on the Australian-leaning menu.

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