There are some friends that are lunch friends, some that are dinner friends, some that are coffee and cake friends, and some are friends that you never want to see eat because the way they masticate foreshadows the end of worlds. My friend Kristen is a breakfast friend. Which means she is best kind of friend!
We used to do breakfast down at a place in Croydon, but the last time we went it was distinctly lackluster, complete with them serving Kristen an iced tea that was completely undrinkable (I don’t even want to know how that happens), so I was charged with finding somewhere new which, frankly, is a little hard out here in the outer east. But! I was driving down Maroondah Hwy not shortly after and was reminded of The Firehouse, which has had reasonable coverage in print media outlets, something of a small miracle considering no one goes to the outer east to eat unless you live there.
The Firehouse, as the name suggests, is in the old fire brigade station house, and is pretty much the cutest damn little place you could clap eyes on, with its red brick peeking out from between all the climbing ivy. Apparently they still have the original fire pole somewhere inside, but I couldn’t see it. So I’ll just imagine that there were firefighters whizzing down it all through our breakfast but I just couldn’t see them because they were also NINJAS.
Kristen had the hueveros ranchos: spicy baked beans, baked eggs, coriander and turkish bread in a big clay pot (with the bacon kindly omitted). This was huge! In fact everything at The Firehouse came in hefty sizes – I got a grapefruit juice and later an earl grey tea that came in giant glasses. I am an advocate of big servings, but if you have a tinier appetite you might struggle a little; Kristen couldn’t finish her beans, despite loving them madly.
I had poached eggs with chive butter, hash brown and beautiful canary-coloured hollandaise sauce on turkish bread. This was pretty damn special. The poached eggs were perfectly done; a little ‘pop!’ with my knife tip and the yolks oozed all over everything. The hash brown had nothing in common with the flat, McDonald’s version that seems to crop up in a lot of cafe breakfasts lately, and was instead a hefty wedge of potato that when broken open was vividly fluffy. The hollandaise was divine, and the chive butter lended an extra tang to the dish that I worried was going to end up being overpowering, but actually ended up blending into the other flavours nicely.
The space is big, well plotted out and, well, friendly is the word I keep thinking. It’s like someone’s opened up their house for you. A house that used to have a firetruck in it. If the house is full there’s a nice area (vestibule! I’ve always wanted to use that word) just inside the front door with squishy couches to sit on and chat while you wait for the tables to free up. No clambering outside the door in the cold!
It turned out that Kristen had an ulterior motive in us going out to breakfast. She had a present for me! And get ready to gird yourself against the sheer awesomeness that is this gift. Girded? Good.
She knitted me… a DALEK!
He is orange and green and a fuzzy, cuddly woolen ball of DOOM! He sits on top of my telly, menacing my stuffed Totoro with his proboscis (don’t worry, Totoro’s a nature god, he doesn’t take no crap from some punk-ass robot alien). Thank you so much, Kristen, he is wonderful.
253-257 Maroondah Highway, Ringwood
Ph: 9876 8100