Monday, 30 June 2014

Hammer & Tong

High expectations..... met?

Arrived 10:30am on a very chilly Saturday.  Busy bustling and noisy, but with a energetic buzzing atmosphere.

As they don't take bookings and don't seat tables until all diners have arrived, I stood around for about 15 minutes whilst waiting for my tardy friends to turn up!  Tram troubles, they blamed, but who knows what shenanigans they had been up to the night before?

Anyway, once our group of 4 were all accounted for, we were seated quite promptly.  Kudos to the front of house staff for keeping us regularly updated regarding our table-situation.

Coffee orders taken - my poison of choice is cappuccino and this was a lovely one.  No pics I'm afraid, you'll just have to take my word for it!

Front: rye and shallot bagel w smoked rainbow trout, kale, pickled carrot, poached egg & nori-hollandaise / $18
Back: buttermilk lamb, goats cheese panna cotta, onion rings, eucalyptus & apple gel, frisse / $22
While I usually try to order something a bit out of the ordinary when brunching, couldn't resist getting the bagel after spying it on another table.  Turned out to be a winner - a twist on your usual eggs benedict.

For one - bagel.  Who can go past the lures of a bagel?  Not me.  I was even given a special pointy knife with which to attack my bagel.

The kale was lovely and crisp, nice change from usual damp or soggy-ish spinach.  Smokiness of the trout was quite heavy, just they way I like it, and they were quite generous with the portion.  Eggs poached to perfection (as we spoilt Melburnians have now come to expect!).

But what really impressed me was the pickled carrot, which provided a nice tart and refreshing contrast to the rich nori-hollandaise.  Great combination.

My friend was quite taken by the sound of "goats cheese panna cotta"on the menu, and who can blame her?  Goats cheese...mmm...  Her dish looked beautiful and the goats cheese was beautiful creamy decadence.  Not too sure about the apple gel, though.  It had a strange texture, not unlike glue, but was refreshing on the palate.

My other two pals both got the signature soft-shell crab burger ($12), which they found more than satisfactory.

A consistent remark from my other 3 diners was that they found the food tended towards the salty side.  I personally found the nori-hollandaise in my dish quite salty, but this saltiness was nicely juxtaposed by the other elements of the dish (namely pickled carrots).

All in all a worthy brunch destination, especially considering the well-designed menu which offers creative options different from your usual brunch joint.  Wouldn't have expected any less from an ex-Vue de Monde chef.  Look forward to returning to try the other dishes (ducks egg and brioche soilders anyone?), and also the dinner menu.

Munch-marks: 8/10

Hammer & Tong on Urbanspoon

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