Hammer & Tong

August 28, 2013

Rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Some weeks ago now I met with C for an early breakfast at Hammer & Tong in Fitzroy. C is notoriously hard to get in contact with (he’s one of those ridiculously hard working types), so I jumped at the chance to meet at 9am on a Sunday for some eggs and chats. Hammer & Tong, an all day eatery, opened earlier this year following the closure of Brix restaurant in the same space.

The interior can be described as ‘neat industrial’, although I found the space a tad grey in the early morning, perhaps a result of the south facing windows. Having said that, plenty of treated wood panelling on the walls gave the space a nice vintage feel.

Coffee is by Dukes roasters in Prahran, which is soft on the mouth and has a caramel tinge to it. The service was also very good: friendly and efficient without being pushy.

The brunch menu is very, very good. It has a perfect balance of breakfast classics, those crowd pleasers that draw people back repeatedly, with a couple of innovative points of difference. For example, I’ve heard other bloggers rave about their simple but sensational omelette with meredith goats cheese, or the euphoria-inducing buttermilk pancakes with blueberries, maple syrup and popping candy ice cream. Popping candy ice cream for goodness sakes!

I’m more of a savoury person, and was tempted by the truffled duck egg with parmesan and grilled asparagus. Ultimately though, I wanted something filling and warming, so went with their very fancy and nicely pulled off version of eggs benny. English muffins are generously topped with spinach, istra bacon, poached eggs and black pepper hollandaise. Delicious, one of the best versions of Benedict I’ve had.

C went with another fantastic dish, the baked eggs in tomato fondue with manchego, chorizo, dukkah and flatbread. He also ordered a side of smashed avocado, which arrived in a petit terracotta pot. I thought the dish was beautifully presented, and the addition of dukkah was a smart Middle-Eastern touch to a classic tomato baked eggs dish.

As I said, I never visited the Brix, but I’m very glad that Hammer & Tong has opened in its place – I’m keen to come back and try their homely but on-trend dinner menu, perhaps starting with a softshell crab burger with sriracha mayonnaise, followed by a nettle and broccoli risotto with taleggio. And then for dessert, a piece of pumpkin cake with salted caramel, gingerbread sable and buttermilk ice cream, yum!

I should also say that their menu is very reasonably priced, so it’s a great place for a nice lunch or dinner with some friends without breaking the bank. Finally, many thanks to C for being such a fantastic hand model, I know long you spent buffing those nails!

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Filed under: Brunch, Coffee, Fitzroy