May 16, 2013 Leave a comment
Tues – Wed: 7am – 4pm
Thurs – Fri: 7am to late
Sat: 8am to late
Sun: 8am – 5pm
Cofffee: Dukes Coffee
“Hard work will only get you half way. We can go all ‘hammer and tong’ to strive towards our goals but there are other factors which determine success. A bit of luck, the networks we retain and the opportunities we take or don’t take are some factors that come into play. The locals and foodies of Fitzroy who have a trained eye for great cafes will be aware that before Hammer & Tong 412, there was another. The previous establishment was run by interior designers who designed and developed a cafe space that could only be described as magnificent. There was a beautiful aesthetic to the layout, matched with impressive furniture and fixtures. The only problem was that whilst the owners knew how to attract customers with its alluring designs, they had little knowledge on running a cafe. Push came to shove and regrettable they exited. Then Hammer & Tong 412 appeared. With their extensive kitchen experience they took the reigns of this space and transformed it.
Hammer & Tong 417 is just off the Fitzroy Road and from the outside there’s nothing too exciting about it. It’s the interior that dazzles its patrons. There are wooden panels acting as feature walls, polished and varnished concrete floors that give a subtle shine, pot pans fixed to roof with over hanging vegetation and all this is tied together with well-selected dark furniture. It’s not overwhelming to the eye, but it is certainly alluring.
When you move to a new home you can’t help but miss the little things. For me, I have regrettably been drinking less Dukes Coffee. I was quite excited to discover that Hammer & Tong 412 were offering a Dukes house blend [$3.50] and Single origin [$4]. I went for the single origin in a long black and it was certainly a sight for sore eyes. The coffee had delectable tan-coloured head that was beautifully presented in blue-grey cups, creating a harmonious colour balance. The coffee had a fine taste with a flavour combination of nuts and nectar.
It was the start of a great weekend and looking through the weekend brunch menu there were some winning items to be had. The Truffled duck eggs on toast, Parmesan & grilled asparagus [$18] certainly sounded inviting but my mind was set on the Spiced corn fritters, avocado, sour cream, smoked tomato & fried/poached egg [$17].
The meal was captivating with the fritters shaped into balls and deep-fried instead of the usual panned fried process. Gently laid in the middle was the perfectly poached egg topped with sour cream, atop a bed of smoked tomatoes.
Each fritter was packed with spices. The flavours appeared to be from an Indian influence as there was hints of turmeric and cumin. Pieces of fresh corn added subtle freshness and, when mixed with the crust of the fried fritters, was simply delectable. The smoked tomatoes were a delicious combination with the fritters, finishing with a lovely smokey taste and vinegar. This was a solid dish and a perfectly highlighted the fact that brunching at Hammer & Tong 412 wasn’t going to result in an experience of the ‘same-same’.
With every brunch we review or don’t review, it has become habit for both myself and Miss SL to take photos, upload and tweet before a single spoonful has enter our mouth. As we were eating and discussing how we intended to use our weekend time, we received a tweet from @AgeGoodFoodU30 telling us to try the Turkish Delight Soda [$5]. I didn’t need any more encouragement, so I quickly found a waiter and ordered one. To my surprise this homemade soda really had the flavours of Turkish delight perfectly. The mint and the vanilla pods surfaced to the top adding the right balance of sweetness. It was super refreshing and was the perfect way to end brunch.
It appears the Fitzroy brunch game has significantly improved over the past year with the likes of Little Creatures, Backstreet Eating and Industry Beans. Now, with Hammer and Tong 417 on their corner, this could make Fitzroy the ideal brunch hub.”
“Work. Dedication. Time. These are the things that make and break other commitments in our life – family, friends, kids. I work in a demanding industry and the joke in my old company was that you were ‘either married to someone within work or divorced’. Yikes! Work can, in fact, bring together magnificent relationships and shared interests. If you’re lucky, joint venture too. This is exactly what happened to experienced chefs Dennis Ferreira and Simon Ward who met at Melbourne’s favourite luxe foodie destination Vue de Monde, where they both worked as chefs.
Branching out, the pair opened up Hammer and Tong 412 in what was previously The Brix. Stripping back and adding to, the interior decor was tweaked and prepped for action. What a beautiful job they had done!
When we entered the venue I was automatically relaxed. I peered down the hallway, glimpsing some tropical woodwork and hanging vines that added a very nature-like feel to the environment.
The menu at Hammer and Tong 412 caters for both the faint at heart and those feeling creative. Dishes such as Coconut black rice pudding w mango [$12] and Berries w rhubarb jelly & whipped yoghurt [$12] were on the menu for choosing. On this particular occasion, I was feeling a little extravagant.
I put in an order for the Truffled duck egg on toast, parmesan & grilled asparagus [$18] and a double espresso [$3.50]. My coffee was full bodied and fruity – beautifully crafted and not a single bit burnt.
Our meals were taking a while to come out, but it was then that it struck me – there were shakes – delicious shakes – on the menu! I couldn’t help myself and immediately order a Golden Gaytime Milkshake [$6]. Our friend Carly was also with us on this occasion and she ordered a Tolerable Milkshake [$6]. My milkshake was a bit thinner than what I was expecting, however, the crushed honeycomb really gave that Gaytime flavour. Yum! I had a sip of Carly’s Toblerone and it was substantially thicker and creamier than mine.
Our meals came out and I had a cheeky taste of Mr LBs fritters – they were too good to miss! They were delicious and moist with flavours such as turmeric and fennel really shining through in perfect harmony.
My dish was served with a really beautiful, creamy sauce. It was mayonnaise-like in flavor and went beautifully with the brioche bread. The duck egg was magazine perfect. The egg yolk just oozed out, soaking into the brioche and salty Parmesan. The asparagus was cooked simply and was super juicy. The brioche bread was a nice twist to this dish and created a beautiful, balance with its sweet texture. It was almost like having a beautiful, buttery croissant. The Parmesan gratings were generous and added a lovely oak flavour throughout the dish.
So, what happens when you combine all these contradictory flavours altogether in one mouthful? You get an initial striking flavour of saltiness that is followed up with the creamy egg yolk and mayonnaise that is then washed clean by the buttery flavours of brioche. Heavenly.
Overall I felt that Hammer and Tong 412 was inspirational and exciting. The decor was exciting. The menu was exciting. The sodas were exciting for goodness sake. My experience at Hammer and Tong 412 was better than I was anticipating and they delivered above and beyond. Would I recommend this cafe for your weekend brunching? You bet!”
Final Though: “Exceptional execution – will not disappoint”