Monday, 23 December 2013

Hammer & Tong, Melbourne - 15 Dec 2013

Hammer & Tong opened in February this year in Melbourne and has become a very popular eatery in a short space of time. Hammer & Tong is on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, a bohemian hot spot filled with loads of cool bars, cafes and boutique stores. It's owned by two ex-Vue de Monde staff, chef Simon Ward and front of house manager Dennis Fereirra. With this in mind, I knew I had to check this place out as soon as I found out that I would be spending the week in Melbourne.    

The space at Hammer & Tong is very cool. On the outside, the walls are filled with street art and graffiti. On the inside, it's casual, relaxed and industrial. There are three different dining areas: the main dining hall and coffee bar, the corridor bar and the sunroom. As we arrived at 10am on a Sunday morning, it was packed so my wife and I had to wait 10 minutes or so before we were seated. We were seated in the sunroom at a communal table with other diners.

Hammer & Tong offers coffee, breakfast, lunch, and snacks Tuesday through to Sunday. Dinner is also offered Tuesday through to Saturday. We were here to try their daytime menu (click on the image to enlargen). The dinner menu will have to be for another day. 

Cappuccino ($3.80)
Both my wife and I decided to order a cappuccino. Hammer and Tong uses coffee beans from Dukes Coffee Roasters. This was an excellent coffee that was smooth and full bodied. A great milk coffee to start the day with before moving onto the stronger stuff later on.  

Corn & zucchini fritters, avocado, manchego, spinach, chilli, tomato relish, poached egg  ($17)
I absolutely love corn fritters and these were no exception. The corn and zucchini fritters were quite enjoyable: crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy in the inside. The poached egg was cooked well, with warm egg yolk oozing out waiting to be mopped up by the fritters. I really liked the tomato relish in this dish and it is an obvious match with the fritters. However I thought there was a lot happening on the plate with this dish, each component being quite delicious although I am not sure if everything on this plate was needed.     
Duck egg, asparagus, truffle butter, parmean briont ($18)
The duck egg was my favourite of the two dishes we tried. This was like a modern take on eggs on toast. The duck egg was massive and the egg yolk was runny and gooey, perfect for mopping up with the buttery briont, a cross between a brioche and a croissant. The truffle butter was amazing and smacks you in the face with its intense, pungent flavour and aroma. Asparagus spears were also a perfect companion with the runny egg yolk and the truffle butter.   

I decided to order another coffee, a macchiato, as I wanted to sample the single origin bean Hammer and Tong had on offer today. The beans were from Brazil and it was a pleasant concoction, with a distinct nutty flavour from the almond and honey notes. Certainly a coffee worth coming back for!

One thing that I have learnt quickly is that the all-day eatery is something that Melbourne does much better than Sydney. We both love Hammer & Tong and wish that Sydney had more places like this. For Sydneysiders, think Devon Cafe, except Hammer & Tong opens for dinner as well. I am definitely keen for a repeat visit, especially to try their signature soft shell crab burger

Highlight: The duck egg and paremesan briont was a winner!
Lowlight: Hammer and Tong is incredibly busy, especially on weekends, so be prepared to wait. You may also have to share a table with other diners, which may not be for everyone. 
Overall: Hammer & Tong is a great cafe that does good coffee, delicious food in a relaxed, casual environment. The service is friendly, efficient and attentive service despite how busy gets. Drop by anytime of the day as it is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 7.5/10 (Great)

Hammer & Tong
Address: Rear 412 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, VIC
Contact no: 03 9041 6033

Hammer & Tong on Urbanspoon