Hammer and Tong is a brunch place I have long wanted to try – without really knowing why. Perhaps it was all the positive feedback from word of mouth, or a subliminal message delivered to my stomach; nevertheless I finally got round to visiting the tucked away shop off Brunswick St (the door is tiny, don’t miss it).
First off, the service is great, friendly and attentive wait staff and the food comes out super quick (this may be due to the fact I was there on an early Thursday morning though). The presentation is immaculate – I don’t think I have ever seen such beautiful brunch presentation; it was to the standard of fine dining restaurants.
I tried the duck egg, oyster mushrooms, truffle butter, watercress and fontina briont soldiers ($18) first. This dish blew my mind: it smelled amazing and tasted even better. Usually my stomach gets a weird feeling when exposed to the rich truffle smell and taste but in this dish it was light and not overpowering the dish. I am an avid meat eater, thus ordered a side of smoked trout, but this dish didn’t need it at all. It is wholesome and satisfying – probably from the mushrooms and truffle oil combination. And WOW, the brioche soldiers were SO GOOD. I later asked whether they bake their own brioche, but luckily (hah!) their stockist is Brioche by Philip (I tried to get there but they were closed for the Christmas break, gonna nom the shit outta them when they reopen). The only downside of this dish (and the meal) was some fine bones found in the trout.
The next dish I tried was the Breakfast Ramen – 62c hens egg, bacon, oyster mushroom, spring onion, bacon dashi ($15). I could eat the shit outta this ramen for breakfast every day; the dish came to the table with just the dry ingredients but had this cool pouring pot that contained the broth which you poured onto the noodles yourself – even that small addition was entertaining to me lol. The broth was very rich and tasty, the noodles were done just right and the bacon was great – if not a bit fatty and slightly salty.
The last (but not least) dish was the soft shell crab burger ($12). This burger is literally a full fried soft shell crab in between a burger bun which is a tad disconcerting as you see all the details, but close your eyes and take a bite…………. totally worth it. Great spicy aioli type sauce, the soft shell crab is crunchy and perfectly cooked, the brioche bun is sweet and soft and the slaw complements the crab perfectly.
I didn’t take a photo of the iced chocolate, but I‘ve had better at other joints (read: Merchant’s Guild, Moorabbin). Other dishes I am keen to try are the fritters (they went out stacked high and pretty to other tables) and the lavender yoghurt custard. ARGH I can’t wait to get back.
TL;DR Go to this place right now.