Down Under In Mel: Hammer & Tong

Besides Hardware Societe, which I would cover soon in a review, the other two cafes that I really want to visit and try were Top Paddock and Hammer & Tong! As you have know, Melbourne can be said as the king of cafes, notwithstanding the ones you can find in the CBD area, there are many more to be discovered in the suburbs which might be a little inconvenient without driving. Both these two are a little out of the city, with Top Paddock in Richmond and Hammer & Tong in Fitzroy. While I would save Top Paddock for my next trip to town, I pounce on the chance to have my brunch at Hammer & Tong right after collecting my rented car in the morning. With my Volvo, which literally means “I Roll” in Latin, I’m all ready to roll to Fitzroy for Hammer & Tong, which is a short 15 mins drive away. Here I come, my Soft Shell Crab Burger!

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I would say that except for the iconic sign of Hammer & Tong which is quite small on the storefront, it is pretty hard to spot the cafe from the outside! It is in a gorgeous restored building with white and black facade and covered with beautiful streets art. It simply has it’s own identity alongside the hype Fitzroy district. On a quiet Monday morning, the streets are quiet but you can definitely know where the buzz are. Parking are available on the streets, there are even parking right outside the cafe. Depending on the timing, it is usually free in the morning. Even though it is a weekday morning, there were already a few tables taken in the cafe and continues throughout the time I was there. Menus were immediately given and water was served.

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The interior is covered with wooden planks on the wall and steel tables. Giving it a very welcoming feeling and a comfy, at ease vibes. The usage of light bulbs, overturned hanging lamps and warm colours also attribute to it. The place is small yet cosy with the coffee bar in the central showcase. Besides it was a little window showing the chefs with great food flying off the stove, getting a little peep while waiting for your food. The cafe also use much of the natural light, giving a warm, bright, happiness feeling, which I really appreciate.

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Unsurprisingly, the barista was an Asian, brewing fresh brews that smell so enticing. Above are the pictures of the menus. While the Soft Shell Crab Burger was my choice to go, we had totally no idea what else to get. The host was polite and offered great suggestion. In addition we got the Savory Buttermilk Pancakes and the Breakfast Ramen which came highly recommended while my mum thought the Breakfast Ramen would be something special. Drinkwise, we got a Long Black and also a Latte. Let’s get straight to the food now!

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I shall share them according to my favourite, leaving the best for the last. First would be the drinks. I like how the long black(3.50AUD) came with a glass of sparkling water, providing such an unique combination, it’s really my very first time trying it. After all Black isn’t the way for me. It was robust and strong. Latte(3.80AUD) is the way I go, smooth yet robust and the milk goes so well with it. Sometimes they are just like art pieces with gorgeous latte art that slowly disappear as you sip them.

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Breakfast Ramen(19.50AUD) would be the first, wait for it! Wait for it! HAHA! As the name describe, it is legit just a bowl of ramen for breakfast. Furthermore, super asian style. Slightly disappointed as i really thought that there would be a twist to it. At least it was delicious. With an asian broth and flair, my mum found it especially delicious as she was craving for some home food. Something worthy to point out would be the thick chunky slices of bacon ham and also the onsen eggs. The eggs were really tender and the bacon is just simply heaven. However, this dish would nicer if there were more soup and more piping hot when it came.

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The next would be the Savoury Buttermilk Pancakes(20AUD) with Fried Eggs, Pork & Duck Sausages, Maple Ice Cream and also Bacon Crumbs. This is more like it from Hammer & Tong. Expecting the unexpected is the standard that you should be getting here. I’m truly surprised by this dish and the integration of them all are that great. The waffles were soft, flavourful while the crisp and the meatty sausages goes well with it. Furthermore the handmade sausages contains bits of the meat. Then you get the bits of crunch from the salty bacon. Lastly, you get your maple syrup from the ice cream, after all maple is the partner of pancakes! The cold sweet melting ice cream just act as a sauces to bind everything up together. Awesome. It also looks so pretty!

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Definitely, my favourite would be the Soft Shell Crab Burger(17AUD) Pack in the middle of the toasted buttery brioche bun lies the huge soft shell crab. The portion of the crab were really generous and really delicious. While I am not a fan of the coriander but I really like the way it goes with the siracha mayo, together with the buttery crispy crab. Super delicious. I don’t feel any guiltiness and the dish isn’t too heavy for me. Despite it, I feel that the overall portion is a little small and perhaps too scrimpy for them! It would be much better if it came with a side salad or even some fries to go. With Just a burger on the plate, it looks a tat lonely.

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Something surprising came after that! We were being served a dish of fried cheese dusted with spices and also bbq sauce on the side. This in fact came to be my favourite one of the meal. It came on the house, been getting couple of free dishes these few days huh! At first we didn’t heard the host and when I ate it, I couldn’t taste it out. I still thought that it is some kind of fishcake or something. I only realised that it was cheese after asking the waitress. It is really delicious, soft chewy cheese together with the spices powder on top. Giving it a little kick and saltiness! I love it simply on it’s own without the bbq sauce. If you are ever here, do let me know what cheese it is and if you could order it! I really enjoyed the meal here and after filling our tummy, I am off to Brighton! Stay tuned for it!

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