Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hammer & Tong, Fitzroy

My short black
Should've taken a photo of Mum's cappuccino because that was great

Buttermilk Lamb, Goats Cheese, Onion Rings, Eucalyptus & Apple Gel, Frisse - $22

Tiny morsel for a Main, IMO...

Sausage & Egg Muffin with Espresso Maple Bacon Foam, Smoked Cheese -- $16

Okay, so muffin and nothing else... Where's the rest of the food on my plate?
Quite exxy for $16

Soft Shell Crab Burger - $12

So small... Slightly taller but practically the size of a Maccas cheeseburger

Hammer and Tong… A place that gave me high expectations, thinking the chances of it being a disappointment would be highly unlikely. You know, being No. 1 on Urbanspoon now and all. We waited 30 mins in line, which was fine. I was prepared to wait at brunch places like these on weekends anyway.

I must say, I was just a little bit gobsmacked by the loudness of the noise in the cafe as soon as we walked in (why do all the cool places need to be like this). It was seriously loud and the banging music they were playing the background was even louder. The whole scene was giving me a little bit of a headache. I was almost screaming in my head that I couldn't wait to get out of there. What a horrible position to be in. I've been to many noisy cafes before but this really takes the cake. Call me an old fart, but this was neither relaxing nor how I want to spend my weekend after a long week at work. 

As for the food, we did find it to be totally underwhelming. We did not enjoy the muffin and lamb and thought that it sounded better than it tasted. The thing about dishes that sound too pretentious is it does create an expectation and what we got on the plate did not deliver. Obviously, we had to order the soft shell crab burger. It was tasty but IMO it's hard to go wrong with fried soft shell crab anyway. 

As a whole, I found the dishes to be severely lacking and incomplete. And, as mentioned, sounds better than it actually tastes. You order a burger and all you get is a burger on a plate with nothing else. You order the muffin and all you get is a muffin with nothing else. For me, the plates desperately screamed a sort of side or salad, something more to complement the dish. Not having anything else sort of felt like a half arsed effort, especially when a dish is over $15 (like the muffin). Not good value money for me at all.

Finally, I must say that we found the portions to be way too small too. We ate through them pretty quick because there wasn't much on the plate to begin with. Even my mum who's a small eater also left feeling hungry and unsatisfied, which says a lot. Put it this way, there's not many things that's worse than when you're paying to eat at a restaurant only to still leave feeling hungry

All that aside, what I will commend them on is their coffee. Good beans but the milk was the highlight for sure. It was frothed beautifully and so smooth to drink. To me, the difference was rather prominent. As I was paying, I realised that they were using the Saint David Dairy brand of milk. "Nooooo wonder", I thought. Superbly good quality and locally sourced milk goes a long way.

The truth is, there are so many great brunch places these days that this places doesn't even meet the top 20 for me. It just escapes me how this place is now voted as the most talked about restaurant in the whole of Melbourne. Well done to them but this place is definitely not for me. Loud space, small portions, incomplete and pricey dishes (as you can see). What more can I say. The soft shell crab burger is just fair but I can't say that putting soft shell crab in burgers are my favourite way of having them anyway. Theory applies to crispy pork belly. Not coming back for sure. 

Shameless plug: if you really enjoy soft shell crab I recommend that you make it at home using my Tempura Soft Shell Crab. Way more satisfying and at least 50% bigger than what you get at most places. Recipe: HERE

Hammer & Tong on Urbanspoon

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