Hammer and Tong (Fitzroy)
Hammer and Tong may well be Melbourne’s hottest brunch spot at present – with queues of eager patrons always spilling out the door into the narrow Fitzroy street. So it was, the morning of my birthday, I pleaded to be taken to Hammer and Tong – mostly because their soft shell crab burger causes incredible salivation whenever someone mentions it to me but also , as you know, I’m a sucker for brunch.
The inside of Hammer and Tong is modern, sleek but not without charm due to the pastry laden counter and the smells and hisses of coffees being brewed . However, as there were no tables available we were asked if we wanted to dine outside instead – which suited me perfectly.
Alas! A refreshing brunch and lunch menu that is quite concise and offers dishes you will not find anywhere else. After the last uninspired brunch menu’s I’ve come across, Hammer and Tong’s offerings made me want to return to try everything. I should point out that despite already visiting Hammer and Tong twice with the intention of trialing each dish, we both ended up ordering the exact same thing – even my coffee order of a skinny flat white remained.
Hammer and Tong churns out decent, not spectacular,coffee which is acceptable to my scrupulous coffee tastes. Being a relatively new establishment, I do feel that their coffee will improve and as I sat outside, sipping on a pretty good brew, I witnessed a constant rotating door of comers and goers ordering takeaway coffees.
I wish I could go past corn fritters but I can’t seem to do it. In the last 6 months I think I’ve turned into a full blown fritter adorer. The fritters were crispy, crunchy which gave way to a chewy center. Topped with generous amounts of manchego cheese ,encircled by freshly cut large avocado pieces and a poached egg weeping delicious yolk – the entire dish was a flavour experience. The chilli jam was substantially sweeter than it was spicy – but then I’m always chastising the lack of spice in any item that advertises it has chilli. Here, though, the chilli jam offered an unexpected sweetness to round off the dish.
Mr Sweet-tooth couldn’t go past the French toast – both visits. Unfortunately due to my allergies I couldn’t sample what looked like an ooozing mess of deliciousness. The french toast was actually better during our second visit – the bread was slightly more airy, and reminiscent of homemade brioche.
As we approached the counter to pay the bill, I caught a glimpse of my future – donuts. I quizzed the guy serving my (very acceptable) bill to me as to what type of donuts they had on offer. “Cherry, salted caramel..and sometimes we have all different types of flavours” he answered far too enthusiastically. This is a guy who is passionate about his pastries (and probably very trustworthy based on this fact). These donuts are actually the greatest donuts ever so do yourself a favour (and your waist a disfavour) and pick up one of these bad boys as you leave – even if you’re filled to the brim. Because I can’t resist a pun and I have a terrible urge to tell dad jokes, my closing remark is that Hammer and Tong really hit the nail on the head in offering inspiring brunch dishes.