Firechief. The simple title given to Paul Mathis’ pizza venture located on Camberwell Road on the east side of Hawthorn. The name has not escaped my memory for the last month or so. Who would think that a local pizza shop could leave such a long-lasting impression in my mind?
Firechief’s big draw card for me was the availability of three different pizza types. You are truly spoilt here with the choice of: the traditional wood-fired oven, the Moretti double decker oven and finally the conveyor belt option. Each of these three ranges boast 8 different pizzas that are believed to best suit each cooking method. We sampled 6 different pizzas on this lovely occasion, which we believe was a great representation of all the offerings.
The space makes for a boisterous, yet comfortable eating hall. Accommodating for smaller groups (1-4) and larger groups on the long tables (shown above). Further eating quarters are located at Goldilock’s cafe (at rear, also part of Mathis’ group) which is used as an overflow on busy nights – from what I have heard, its used all the time. Don’t be put off by the plethora of followers here. The friendly staff take bookings 7 days a week for lunch and dinners so you will be eating pizza before you know it.
Do with this next amount of info as you like, but pizzas are not the only thing available at Firechief. If you happen to fall into the category of not liking pizzas (freak) then you can chom on some calamari + tzatziki, char-grilled lamb skewers, roasted chicken breast or even prawn tagliatelle to name a few. I can’t vouch for the above-mentioned, but if they follow the same standard as pizza, then you will have a pleasant evening/day of eating.
We began with a pea and spinach salad with goat’s cheese, mint and croutons ($14.00 – above) to make ourselves feel fresh and healthy. A basic side salad that works if you need to see some green with every meal. Personally, I would just order more pizza :)
The warm green bean salad with toasted hazelnuts ($10.00) is more up my alley. I found a sense of comfort in these veggies which more often than not will accompany a fine piece of eye-fillet. These complemented the pizzas very well.
Obviously unnecessary but totally delicious shoestring fries with rosemary salt flakes ($7.50).
‘Ocean Trout’ with fior di latte, smoked ocean trout, taleggio cheese, fresh parsley and lemon ($24.90 – Moretti oven). A true success story. Note: trout toppings compete with the likes of other heroes i.e. ham, chicken and prosciutto. I need not go on about the pizza bases – they are all thin to mid sized and are perfectly cooked/fired depending on the respective method.
‘Funghi’ with fior di latte, wood-fired baked mushrooms, porcini, taleggio and fresh parsley ($21.90 – Moretti oven). A solid vegetarian option though chommed by carnivores across the table.
I have to give my full votes to this pizza cooked with the perfect amount of wood-fired char. The ‘Melanzane and Peperoni’ with san marzano tomato, fior di latte, wood-fired roasted capsicum and eggplant parmigiano and fresh basil ($22.00 – Wood-fired). Next time I will be ordering from this range, but throwing some protein on top.
‘Braised Lamb’ with Italian crushed tomatoes, 8 hour braised lamb, goat’s cheese, toasted almonds, fresh parsley and mint ($23.90 – Moretti oven).
‘Vegetarian’ with seasonal vegetables, pineapple, kalamata olives on crushed tomato and mozzarella ($16.90 – conveyor oven). Again, another vegetarian option enjoyed by all. Each pizza was sizeable, 8 slices per pizza (one standard size) and not to mention, very affordable for restaurant standards.
You don’t mess with this Australian classic – except this time we replaced ham with chicken. The ‘Hawaiian’ with crushed tomato, mozzarella, shredded Virginia ham (chicken today) and pineapple ($16.90 – conveyor oven).
‘Firechief tiramisu’ with coffee jelly, genois sponge, vanilla bean custard, creamed ricotta, toasted almonds and kahlua ($14.00). A rich, tasty and easily divisible choice among 3 – 4 chommers. Mind the strong coffee jelly loitering at the base – not suitable for children and non-coffee lovers. Overall this was a great way to end a tremendous feast at this fine establishment.
Do not even sit there for one second and pretend that you don’t like pizza because you do. The Chommery knows the truth. Look no further if you desire delicious, family friendly and affordable dining. Why not make a night of it? Catch a screening at The Rivoli Cinemas located diagonally opposite. Pizza + Movie (+-) choc top = Good times.
The Important Details…
Cuisine: Italian – pizza focus
Noise: Most definitely
Bookings: Via phone and e-mail
Suitable for: Pizza lovers + very kid friendly
Price: $25 per head
My View: A superb eating hall
Address: 169 Camberwell Road, Hawthorn East (loads of parking at rear of building)
Phone: (03) 9831 1700