If you are looking for a casual place to eat at in Melbourne, Hammer & Tong would make a pleasant little stop. Don’t believe me? Ask their cute table bunny yourself:) [For the direct review, skip 2 paragraphs down]
Last month, I headed down to Melbourne for one of the biggest sporting events held at the start of the year. If you haven’t the slightest clue what I’m talking about then clearly you aren’t a TENNIS fan;] In January, Melbourne plays host to the year’s first grand slam tennis event – The Australian Open – which sees top players from around the world gather for one of the game’s most prestigious titles. Despite the crazy temperatures in Melbourne during that period, the level of high class tennis was definitely worth it – plus I got to see Nadal pull his wedgie live!!!;]
But most importantly, the crowd’s energy was just super awesome, and the candidness of my fellow spectators was icing on the cake:)
Ok but enough of that, I shall move onto the main topic now before I bore the food seekers to death with my tennis rambling.
HAMMER & TONG – MELBOURNE
I have been to Melbourne a few times before, but I have never really explored the food places outside of my hotel in the past (yes I was that lazy, besides we had a lot of good restaurants where I stayed), so I decided to seek out new pastures this time round.
I found out about Hammer & Tong through the internet and I was hooked the moment I saw all the pretty looking food after doing a quick #hashtag search of the place on instagram (yes you heard me right, instagram is one of my top search tools for checking places out, you’ll be surprise at what you can find out from the pictures people post, even if the business itself does not have an instagram profile, that’s the magic of an instagram #hashtag).
I almost missed Hammer & Tong after dropping off the cab and walking across the street, the letters on the sign weren’t that big and in bright sunlight I have the vision of a mole, but once I saw it all was good. From the outside the place looked small and humble, and so was the inside but rest assure, their food was not humbling in taste.
We were given a bar seat by the window, the view was interesting.
I enjoyed the graffiti art but it looked a whole lot better with the rubbish bins cropped out and applied with a filter;]
The setting was cosy with wooden tables and seating. There was a mini plant box on the wall right next to the bar top where I was seated. The salt and sugar were housed in glass beakers which was cute, and oh yes.. I made friends with their grass bunny.
Service wise, overall the people were jolly and friendly. The only blimp of my experience happened during order time. My dad didn’t know what to eat so he told me to order for him, he said he wouldn’t mind a burger dish, like a beef burger. When I asked the server she said they only had one type of burger which was the soft shell crab burger, so I asked my dad what else he might fancy and he was like … burger… or anything.. you choose (men, sigh). So I asked if they made other burgers by any chance (as in Singapore sometimes they do whip things up not written on the menu). She was probably trying to be nice (I dunno) when she said “Does your dad really crave a beef burger? Well, actually there’s a really nice burger place just down the street… you could try out that place instead”. But I immediately felt a wee bit offended as it seemed she couldn’t be bothered to run through the menu and wanted to be gone with us. I’ve never been suggested by a server to eat somewhere else before after settling down and while deciding on food, and it made me feel so unwelcome. In the end I said nah it’s fine and asked what’s popular here, before quickly settling on a delicious sounding egg and bagel dish for my dad plus a soft shell crab burger for myself. So all was good again:]
For drinks, I order an iced chocolate even though I love coffee and there were beautiful coffee pictures from this place scattered all over instagram. But the weather was just so perfect for a nice cold drink that day. I loved how my drink came with a candy coloured striped paper straw, it gave me a nice old school nostalgic vibe. The fact that the chocolate was yummy made it even better.
The food was both pleasing to the eye and tastebuds. I liked how the soft shell crab looked so juicy and alluring against a simple all black plate, with no nonsense on the side to distract the attention from the burger. This is what “Simple is Best” means. I also appreciated how they helped divide my burger into halves when they knew we were sharing it. 3 words – Juicy, crispy, tantalizing. Nom nom goodness.
The bagel with smoked rainbow trout, kale, radish and poached egg doused nicely with nori-hollandaise sauce was not bad as well. I thought it looked pretty especially with the purple salad leaves giving it a nice pop of colour for presentation:)
The lady also recommended that I give their bbq corn dish with chipotle and popcorn butter a try as it was good and also popular, especially among those who like corn. I’m glad I went with her suggestion as it was delicious! The corn came whole and all, with the leaves intact, almost as though they plucked it out from their backyard (did they?). It was just so yummy and I was trying hard to go for every single kernel and not leave one behind!
Overall, this place provided a pretty satisfying and laid back dining experience. The food was good and the drinks too. The setting was adorned with big glass windows and some greenery alongside, making it feel very open and bright. The price was decent, around middle range – you can check out their menu to gauge for yourself. I believe this place would be great for casual meals with a plus-one or for luncheons with a small group of friends. There are also a number of nice shops and cafes down the street so the area is good for a stroll after the meal. I’d definitely be back again the next time I’m in town, and I’ll be sure to try the coffee then;]
For more food pictures check out wheremytummycomes from on instagram:]
RESTAURANT: Hammer & Tong
SPIED AT: 412a Brunswick St Fitzroy 3065
OPERATING HOURS: Tue – Sat from 7 a.m. to Late & Sun from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
CONTACT: 03 9041 6033