Fitzroy newcomer Hammer and Tong piqued my interest when I saw someone tweet about the truffled duck egg with parmesan. Tempted as I usually am by truffles, duck and cheese, I couldn’t help but turn up for brunch on the weekend to see what all the fuss was about.
I don’t normally discuss decor in much depth, however I was quite taken with it here. All manner of old junk was creatively repurposed, including roof tiles, filing cabinets and a heater.
I even spotted an ammeter sitting on the top shelf. My workplace should really start selling old circuit breaker parts to cafe owners around Melbourne… it’ll be, like, sooo vintage.
I loved the grey, almost decoratively blemished tables; unfortunately I didn’t love my coffee nearly as much. It was quite bitter and very average. Certainly not worth $4.
I followed with a carrot, orange and ginger juice which was far too gingery for my tastes. I did like the retro candy-striped straw though.
Bob ordered the English muffins with poached eggs, Istra bacon, hollandaise and spinach ($17). Not bad, but you wouldn’t expect anything to go wrong with a fairly standard breakfast dish like this. The hollandaise was well balanced: there wasn’t any of that astringent vinegar taste that a bad hollandaise can have.
I of course went straight for the truffled duck egg on toast with parmesan and grilled asparagus ($18).
I’d never had duck egg before, but it tasted basically the same as a chicken egg. I guess ‘duck egg’ reads a bit better on a menu than boring old ‘fried egg’. I recognised the toast as ‘briont’ – the brioche x croissant concoction by Brioche by Phillip, which I had eaten previously at Cheerio. The buttery, flaky toast was perfect with the truffle oil, sharp parmesan shavings and runny duck egg yolk. This is definitely up there as one of the best breakfasts I’ve had recently.
We were lucky to get walk in and get a table immediately. It wasn’t long before there was a decent length line outside, as is usually the case with new eateries in this city of foodies. I wouldn’t be too put off by this though as the turnover seemed quite good. Despite being fairly new, service was as smooth as a well-oiled machine. I think there are a few cafes around town that could take a leaf out of Hammer and Tong’s book in this regard.
Disappointingly the coffee and juice weren’t to my liking. The food on the other hand, was excellent. I would dare say that I would wait outside for half an hour to get in again if I had to, and I usually hate waiting for food. I must return to try more of the tempting menu options: will I go for the pancakes topped with pop rocks, or will I give in to the soft shell crab burger?Hammer and Tong 412 Rear 412 Brunswick Street Fitzroy