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Hammer and Tong

Posted on May 1, 2013 by in Fitzroy, Melbourne, Reviews | 6 comments


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.

The verdict

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
 Hammer and Tong 412 on Urbanspoon


  1. I like H & T too, and am planning to go back. The truffled egg is definitely one of the more tempting options for me!

    • Definitely! I would probably be tempted just to get the truffled egg again :)

  2. I recently visited on a Friday and loved the truffled duck egg dish as well! Unfortunately my friend’s corn fritters were a touch doughy. Don’t the pancakes sound divine though!

    • Oh that’s a shame, I’m a fan of corn fritters! Our food was pretty good but I’m starting to hear the food in general is a bit hit and miss… hope the pancakes are good…

  3. I am not a fan – went in the first few weeks and found the coffee overpriced for what it was, the jiuce was the same as you found it and the food to be incredibly bland – the salad and their version of a bahn mi just did nothing for me. Don’t need to go back – other places are more deserved in that area.

    • General consensus seems to be that the coffee is terrible, I do wonder how they get away with charging $4 for it. It’s a shame the food was no good for you… I am usually quite averse to ‘Asian’ food done by regular cafes as it tends to be pretty terrible. Especially when I live in Richmond and can get the real thing for 1/3 of the price.

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