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Hammer & Tong 412 in Fitzroy

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Hammer & Tong is one of the new exciting cafe restaurants in Melbourne and has captivated most with chic ambience and an impressive menu. The team is top notch and boasts ex Vue De Monde and Jacques Reymond staff that basically know what they're doing to create a superb dining experience. Set slightly back from Brunswick Street you enter via a graffiti world of Westgarth Street. The entry is understated but once inside it's immediately apparent this place hums. Especially when Johnny Cash is playing over the speakers singing "One Love"... 

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A partnership between head chef Simon Ward and manager Dennis Ferreira, Hammer & Tong celebrates casual dining and simple, fresh ingredients. An open bar and kitchen is the heart of the light filled space. Hammer & Tong have reworked the stylish interiors created for former premises The Brix with their own take on vintage-industrial chic.

Hammer & Tong serves up great coffee, which is a welcome start. As I savoured my coffee I admired the vintage pieces around the room including the large old scales and vintage cake display, and reflected on the lyrics of Cash singing "One Love."

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Dukes coffee is Melbourne coffee royalty. Great crema and strength of flavour.

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The breakfast menu at Hammer & Tong is impressive with several items I wanted to order such as the Truffled duck egg with parmesan toast and grilled asparagus, as well as the Baked eggs in tomato fondue. Well, I just couldn't go past the Spiced Corn Fritters with avocado, sour cream, smoked tomato, and poached eggs. I raved about these corn fritters all day long. Crispy outside, softer inside, a bit of kick, and a generous portion. Along with perfect accompaniments including avocado and sour cream  it spoke of Mexican influences to me.

I reckon Johnny Cash would love these corn fritters - 

Hey look at that beans and look at that corn
And I bet them watermelons must be three feet long
Man look at them tomatoes and look at them peas
Well I know if papa was here right now he'd sure be pleased...

Johnny Cash - Look At Them Beans

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Look at that corn man. Love the micro herbs - not just for show but went well with the dish. A contender for best corn fritters in Melbourne.

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Hammer & Tong has this chic ambience with a spacious area full of light, tiles with deep blue shades, funky lighting and a very cool coffee machine. You can enjoy several inviting dining spaces such as the main dining hall and coffee bar, the corridor bar and the sunroom. I dig being perched on the stools by the big window looking out over Westgarth Street.

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Hammer & Tong also shines with a superb lunch and dinner menu. How about a Soft shell crab burger? Or Berries with rhubarb jelly & whipped yoghurt? Or Braised soy beef brisket (below). I want it all. The pan seared scallops, black bean salsa, Chinese sausage, corn & chilli jam caught my eye. As did the bbq pork tenderloin, farmers sauce & butter lettuce.

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Hammer & Tong are open for dinner three nights of the week now, and it's highly popular.

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Hammer & Tong impresses at every level and I intend to return. Maybe I'll hear Johnny Cash singing about the Legend Of John Henry's Hammer...

 

Hammer and Tong 412 on Urbanspoon

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Friday, 28 August 2015
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