Hammer and Tong, Fitzroy

6/01/2014 , , 1 Comments

Hammer and Tong is a popular cafe in the Fitzroy area just off Brunswick St, frequently in the top 10 talk of the town list on Urbanspoon and best known for its soft shell crab burgers. It is easily accessible by tram 112 - it's on a side street off stop 17, and there's lots of side streets for parking as well. I did have quite high expectations of the cafe as it is so well known, so was a little bit disappointed when my experience didn't quite live up to it. Having said that though, it was still an enjoyable experience nonetheless!

One of the downsides would probably have to be the amount of time we spent waiting for a table. I had expected a bit of a wait, as with most popular places there's usually a queue. We got there around 12:30pm on a Saturday, and had to wait about half an hour outside before we were told to wait at the bar for another fifteen minutes. Once we did get a table and ordered, it was more than 20 minutes before our food was served, though drinks did come quite quickly. The service was really great though, as the staff were very attentive and kept us informed of how much longer it would take, and once we were seated at the bar, gave us water and told us we could order coffees first.

The atmosphere of the cafe is really lively with the chatter from customers, together with the sounds from the kitchen and the music playing in the background. We did find that the music was quite loud though, and you had to raise your voice just to hear the person sitting right next to you. The interior design is quite simple with not many decorations, and there's two large windows that allow for plenty of natural light to enter, giving the whole cafe a brighter feel.
The daytime menu runs until 3pm every day of the week, though some of the items on that menu can also be found on the dinner menu. My friend decided on the Soft Shell Crab Burger ($12), and I got the Breakfast Ramen dish ($15). We also both got the mango, passionfruit and pineapple juice ($6.50), which was really refreshing and citrus-y, though a bit sour initially that may not be to everyone's liking. The sourness died down a little as the ice cubes melted though.

For all the built up hype over the soft shell crab burger, my friend actually thought it wasn't as good as she'd expected it to be. It was lovely and juicy though, and there was an unexpectedly good balance of flavours between the sweet and the savoury, and the bun didn't become soggy. There was a good portion of sauce, almost to the point of being too much though, as the filling was made quite moist by it. We did notice that every single table ordered this dish - I myself have tried it back at the Queen Vic Night Market I went to in February (you can read about my experience here) and it is something I'd recommend ordered when going to Hammer and Tong.

The Breakfast Ramen consisted of 62C hen's egg, bacon, oyster mushroom and spring onion in a bacon dashi (Japanese soup/stock). It was definitely a very interesting dish - I'd had ramen before plenty of times, but never as a breakfast style dish, so this was quite enjoyable for me. I did find the dish itself to be quite infused with spring onion and possibly coriander flavours, and did become a little overpowering. Also, the use of the bacon dashi though a good idea, did make the broth a bit more salty, and I had to keep drinking my juice to cleanse my palette. However, there was a nice balance of textures and flavours, from the chewy oyster mushrooms to the salty and soft bacon pieces, to the crunch of the spring onion. The ramen itself was average, but the egg was perfectly cooked, and you could separate the yolk from the white and mix it with the ramen for more flavour, as it oozed out when cut into.

In my opinion, Hammer and Tong is definitely worth visiting, as it has different menu items to what you'd expect at a typical brunch style cafe. However, it's one of those places that I probably won't go back to again unless I was in the area - it is a bit out of the way to get to and there wasn't anything that particularly amazed me here. To be fair though there are still a lot of other items on the menu that do look interesting and I would like to try, but it's not somewhere that's high on my list of places to visit, now that I've been once before.

Hammer & Tong on Urbanspoon | Website | Instagram

1 comment:

  1. Hello from Third Wave,
    We have touched base with you on another occasion inviting you to try the new café in Prahran. Now I would like to invite you to try our American BBQ dinner menu.
    On the menu are 5 different meats and Smoked Salmon. They are all smoked with different woods to impart specific flavours and are done with dry rubs. Beef Brisket, Beef Ribs and Lamb Shoulder are smoked for up to 12 hours using Hickory wood in a proprietary mix of spices. Brisket is marinated for up to 48 hours prior to smoking. The amazing flavours penetrate the meat such that you don’t need to add any sauce.
    Pork Ribs and Chicken are smoked with Maple wood for 5-6 hours. Pork Ribs are the standout of our menu, fall of the bone, juicy and packed with flavour. No sauce required (only if you want to add that extra punch).
    Salmon is marinated, dried out and smoked with Apple wood. People often say that the result is nothing like they tasted before.
    We have lots of tasty side dishes as well as house made BBQ Sauces. See the entire menu at http://thirdwavecafe.com.au/prahran/menu_dinner.php
    We would love to invite you and a friend to try the American BBQ menu. Please email me on info@thirdwavecafe.com.au with a suitable time. Dinner will be on us.
    The invite is for the Prahran venue. Thank you for your consideration.

    Best regards,

    P.S. We also have a really interesting Reuben variation, Pulled Pork and Soft Shell Crab Sliders and a few tasty quesadillas. Lots to try.


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