When thinking about eating in Ringwood fairly posh cafes is hardly the first thing that comes to my mind. Maybe Pizza Hut or Fasta Pasta, but not a converted fire station serving competent upmarket breakfasts. My mistake, because that's exactly what Firehouse is about.
With a warren of rooms each outfitted differently, we were seated in what would have once been a small office at the front of the building. Nice enough but from a quick glance there were other rooms which looked more interesting; a well lit large main room and a back room painted a very bright shade of red. Apparently the room upstairs comes with a pool table, although we didn't go up to check it out.
There are about a dozen choices for breakfast and I settled on the Huevos Rancheros, two baked eggs with tomato salsa, bacon, beans, coriander, guacamole, chill, sour cream and a crispy tortilla. This was good if not quite how I would have liked it. For example the eggs were overcooked, not to the extent of going rubbery but without that lovely runny centre. I am not sure if that's how they were intended or if the fact that the pan that the eggs were served in was so hot, by the time it was cool enough to eat the eggs had overcooked. Also the bacon and beans could have given it more a smokey flavour. On the other hand, the guacamole was good and the crispy tortilla a novel touch.
Ms No Meat and Snooze decided to share some dishes in their own version of a breakfast mezze. First to arrive was the sultana rice custard, with toasted almonds and rhubarb compote. Rice custard is one of my comfort foods and I had considered ordering this myself. It would have meant asking for it without the sultanas though - does the texture of these make anyone else think of dead flies? Anyway, the sweetness of the custard was nicely balanced by the slight tartness of the rhubarb and the crunchiness of the toasted almonds added texture. Simple and hardly groundbreaking but pleasant and nicely presented.
The toasted bread with honey and berry jam was ok, the jam and honey fairly generic but the bread quite good and not over toasted.
Better was Snooze's fruit salad. Generous in size with large pieces of fruit, I could see figs, grapefruit, pineapple and raspberries for starters. Served with natural yoghurt, this was refreshing and I'd only change two things - no passionfruit (a personal thing, I just don't like it) and add some oats or something similar to provide a bit more texture.
I also liked the way that the drinks were served. The tea came in its own beaker, something I hadn't seen before and very cute.
My own hot chocolate looked superb with its different layers and the top layer of foam was outstanding. Unfortunately the bottom layer was chocolate syrup rather than melted chocolate, a slight disappointment.
Good food with professional service in a nice café/restaurant, I enjoyed my visit to Firehouse. Admittedly the food was a bit unadventurous and the particular room we were in got a bit noisy, but presentation was very good and I am willing to put my egg misadventure down to the time I took waiting for the pan to cool. It gets bonus points for bringing somewhere worth visiting to a barren foodie location. It is also very close to Ringwood Lake Park, perfect for taking Star the happy Wolfhound cross for walks afterwards.
Food - 7.5
Service - 7.5
Ambience - 8
Price - 7
253 Maroondah Highway
Ringwood VIC 3134
Tel: (03) 9876 8100