Fitzroy is no breakfast Siberia, but brunch at Hammer and Tong is as good as it gets
Hammer and Tong has crawled hermit crab styles into the stunning shell recently vacated by the Brix Bistrot. But not only is it the prettiest place to brunch on Brunswick Street, it's also the only joint serving pop rock pancakes to some Caribbean beats.
This is a new all day eatery (serving dinner as of this week) by chef Simon Ward and front of house manager Dennis Fereirra (both ex-Vue De Monde). They've& built their business on the intersection of fancy and fun, applying their restaurant smarts to boot, and that means great service meets house-made Turkish delight fizzy pop.
Those pancakes are a fat, fluffy stack of buttermilk frisbees topped with vanilla ice cream that fizzles its way through a sea of syrupy blueberries and crackling candy. Pair that with a biscuity Golden Gaytime shake and you’re breakfasting like it’s your birthday.
Your ploughman’s lunch is stacked with salty slices of ham from the Istra smallgoods kings. and baked eggs arrive in a saucy mire of cheese and rich tomato sugo. It's now a pretty old dog turning a hell of a trick.
Take your macchiato (predictably good and powered by nutty beans from the dudes at Duke’s) among the tarts and shortbread at the sleek slate bar or frame yourself in the bay windows out back and photo bomb people’s graffiti shots like a jerk. That’s a Saturday morning all sewn up. The building is a street art canvas on the outside and a delicate-boned beauty within of whitewash bricks and plush wallpapered toilets, all toughened up by heavy industrial scales and vintage wotsits.
They dabble with Asian flavours, but chilli chicken wings fail to rock our socks - the meat could use more oven love and the Thai-ish mango salad dressing is pretty sweet. We’re all about the soft shell crab burger: a crisp-battered Queensland crustacean housed in puffy brioche with squiggles of sriracha mayonnaise and ‘slaw. It's the fun dishes based on can't fail combinations that will keep us coming back to this joint time and again.
Shower us with your candy-fuelled fun Hammer and Tong, and bring on that dinner service.