Fire & Stone Restaurant - Manager Interview

Mon, 13 Jul 2015

By Tangalooma Island Resort

Fire & Stone Restaurant - Manager Interview

Featuring mouth-watering Sichuan cuisine, delivered with both authenticity and theatre, our new restaurant Fire & Stone has quickly become a favourite local hotspot. From traditional ancient Chinese recipes, to the more modernised Western hotrock style dishes, the restaurant and its team of skilled Sichuan chefs caters for any guest and any palette, whether you like spicy or just a good steak and salad.

We caught up with Fire & Stone manager Carl Horack to learn a little more about the cultural inspiration behind the restaurant's dishes and experience.

Tell us a little bit about Fire & Stone?

Fire & Stone offers guests the comfort of the traditional Chinese meals we all know and love, only with a twist… We feature ancient Sichuan style cooking in our dishes which means they're spicy, they're hot, they're fresh and they're fragrant. Originating in the province of Sichuan of south-western China, this cuisine is built upon two main power ingredients, peppercorns and chilli. We know spice isn't everyone's cup of tea, so we have catered for those guests who are a little less daring with the Stone element of our dining experience. Here you will find things like steaks, pastas, and even pizza. To keep things interesting, we give guests the opportunity to cook their own steaks on a hot rock which offers a really engaging and educational dining experience with great aesthetic appeal.

In China, each different city has its own style of food, drive just two hours and you can experience a completely different language, different city and different food!

And what does 'Sichuan Cuisine' actually mean?

Well it's the cuisine of the south-western Sichuan province of China and it has an international reputation for being hot, spicy and even numbing thanks to the Sichuan peppercorns that feature in many of the traditional recipes. The Sichuanese are proud of their food which is considered one of the four great styles of traditional Chinese cooking and because of its intensity and diversity has earned itself the catch phrase "one dish, one shape, hundreds of dishes, hundreds of tastes". In China, each different city has its own style of food, drive just two hours and you can experience a completely different language, different city and different food!

There are about 8 different styles of food in China, but the Sichuanese style is very popular not only because of its feisty flavour, but because it is renowned for its great health benefits and amazing taste. Salt is something that is generally associated with creating bold taste, but back in the olden days, the residents of this province used chilli's to add depth of flavour as access to salt was limited, being so far from the sea.

Is all Sichuanese food hot and spicy?

Stereotypically, yes. But in reality, no. Only about 30-40% of Sichuan food is spicy, and what I love about this cuisine is the great balance between spiciness and tastiness. The spices and chilli never jeopardise the quality of the dish, but rather, are added to enhance flavour and the overall sensory experience. However, depending on the type of dining experience our Fire & Stone guests are after, we can customise the level of spice to suit their personal taste.

A lot of our seafood ingredients are caught fresh from Moreton Bay...

What do you want guests to get out of their dining experience at Fire & Stone?

For us, it's all about the typical hospitality aspects. We strive to offer a genuine and authentic Sichuan experience with a focus not only on education into the origins of the food, but also on the 'paddock to plate' concept, allowing guests to gain an understanding of how the ingredients are prepared and the history behind each recipe. We also try to align our guest experience in the restaurant with relaxed, laid back island atmosphere that the resort offers, but with a little Sichuan spin.

Are any of the menu items sourced locally?

Actually yes. A lot of our seafood ingredients are caught fresh from Moreton Bay, including the mud crabs and of course the globally recognised Moreton Bay Bugs. We also source our Lobsters from Bass Strait, just off Tasmania which is renowned for it's rich diversity in marine life. Many food critics say that these Lobsters are some of the world's best across Christmas after they feed off sea urchins and oily fish in the Bass region.

Most people request our amazing Moreton Bay Bugs...

Do you have many guests of your restaurant enquiring about local menu items?

Many of our guests are excited about the authentic dining experience that we offer, but we also get some that are specifically interested in experiencing something that is a little less familiar to them and that is home grown in our 'backyard'. Most people request our amazing Moreton Bay Bugs because they want to try this local produce for themselves to learn why there's such a positive reputation worldwide. At Fire & Stone, we pride ourselves on taking the local cuisine and mixing it in with the authentic Sichuan style of cooking to produce something really unique, special and memorable for both our local and international guests alike.

Are there any seasonal menu items?

We are actually in the process of changing the menu and working on some key season options highlighting local vegetables. Every month we will be looking at offering unique specials that focus on what the season at the time brings us from a produce perspective.

What are your signature dishes?

That's an easy one!... The Sichuan Fortune Fish is definitely our signature fish! The dish is made up of fresh chunky fish fillets steeped in subtle chilli oil and Sichuan peppercorns with crunchy beansprout – floating on angels wings. The dish is extremely fragrant and delectable, with each individual fillet being marinated for over 24 hours prior to being cooked and served. It's always a winner!

How do guests experience Fire & Stone?

If you're on the island already, simply drop into our restaurant located between the Tangalooma Jetty and the Resort Centre.

About the author

Tangalooma Island Resort

Take the world's 3rd largest sand island…add a splash of sunshine, balmy sea breezes, a dash of discovery and a handful of adventure, and you've got Tangalooma Island Resort. An island oasis, just a 75 minute cruise from Brisbane.

Book Now