Tag Archives: Hammer and Tong

Brunch: Fitzroy Focus

Well folks, it looks like Fitzroy isn’t running out of brunch places any time soon. In fact, they are continuously popping up left, right and centre. Here’s a few that I’ve been to:

De Clieu: 187 Gertrude St, Fitzroy

I forgive in advance if this review is outdated, but I visited this place during my uni days last year. To put it simply, it didn’t impress me. A uni day, means it wasn’t even peak hour during the weekend. The wait was a bit long, say twenty minutes plus. I can’t remember exactly how long, but it definitely left us feeling quite hungry and sure that we would be back to uni late.


After some debate, I went with the Berkshire Pork Neck (above, $17) with spring onion roti, tonkatsu BBQ sauce and a fried egg. Usually a fan of pork belly, I wasn’t sure if pork neck would be quite as good. Second no-no, was that this came out cold. The egg especially felt so cold, I was really curious as to whether they just left it for so long and forgot to bring it out or they cooked it so early to keep up with the orders…

If the dish did come out warm, I’d say overall it would still be a slightly average dish. Despite the delicious appearance, all I remember about the dish is that the BBQ sauce made it a fairly tasty, although I don’t see what difference the “tonkastu” BBQ sauce has. Out of all the dishes, this did appeal to me the most but unfortunately I was left dissatisfied having paid $17 for a small, cold meal and quite hungry.


My uni friend chose the above dish, but I can’t locate it in on the current menu. Another difficult thing was that the menu said no alterations. For most cafes, this usually only applies to the weekend, but this applied to everyday. My friend really wanted the dish but she doesn’t like poached eggs. After enquiring, she still wasn’t able to but went with the meal anyway. Although beautifully presented, with two jars of jam, it still wasn’t anything special. Cheese and ham? You could have this any day.

Granted this was last year, one day I might give it another try, but right now too many brunch places lie on the list before it, so it’s unlikely I will be back there soon.

De Clieu is open Mon-Sat 7am-5pm and Sun 8am-5pm. You can find the menu here.

De Clieu on Urbanspoon

Breakfast Thieves: Shop 1, 420 Gore St, Fitzroy

It’s a trend these days to have quotes at your cafe, I’m not against it, in fact, they always provide a chuckle. This one at Breakfast Thieves was amazingly accurate (for my friend, not me haha)!

Courtesy of Breakfast Thieves’ Facebook page

Arriving on an autumn Saturday morning, it was packed, which is often a good sign. We had to join two other people in waiting for a table. At least they had a bench where we could sit whilst waiting, and they even served us coffee and brought out sugar and the menu.

Eventually we were seated inside. I’m often influenced by other blogs and mouthwatering photos such as The Hungry Excavator’s, and I’m also an avid fan of French toast. Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t help but order the Brioche Pain Perdu (bottom, $17), French toast served with spiced wine poached plums, white chocolate mascarpone mousse & candied pistachio. Now this one did not disappoint.


The four rectangular pieces of crispy French toast with soft insides, plus the sweetness of the dish, actually fills you up quite a bit. I enjoyed everything from the presentation, to the succulent poached plums and the crumble on the far right to balance out the softer foods such as the mousse (not sure if the crumble is one of the aforementioned ingredients).

The other dish is from the lunch menu, called Botak Chin (top, $17). This was described as Malaysian Char-Siew pork wrapped in chilli-chive crepe with a side of crisp enoki mushroom, carrots, orange & sesame, rocket salad. Well firstly, I didn’t even notice the crispy side was enoki mushrooms until I re-read the menu now. We found this Modern dish enjoyable, the char-siew tender and flavoursome. Only complaint would be not enough meat!

Out of some of the hyped places around Melbourne, I feel that this place definitely deserves it.

Breakfast Thieves is open Tue-Fri, 7.30-4pm and 8-4pm on the weekends (kitchen closes at 3pm). Find their menu here.

Breakfast Thieves on Urbanspoon

Hammer & Tong

Hammer and Tong is fast becoming one of the top talked about places on Urbanspoon, thus you cannot blame my curiosity in trying this highly rated cafe. My friend even raved about the soft shell crab burger, so with a first-hand opinion, I was persuaded. If you haven’t seen my burger post (why not??), I’ve already discussed this burger as quite good, but pricey for a small portion ($16).


However, the surprise dish for me was the duck egg, asparagus, truffle butter, parmesan briont (below, $18). There is some new craze involving truffle oil, thus I was curious as to the taste of truffle butter. I’m not sure what its magical power is, but it made my bread so soft and aromatic. I feel like there was the right amount of everything, as lately I’ve found some places overdo it with the parmesan. The duck egg, also had a distinctive taste that differentiates it from your normal eggs. The egg combined with the soft buttery bread, made the dish a surprising winner, so for once one of my risky choices paid off!


Hammer and Tong is open Tues – Sat 7am to late (they’re open for dinner) and Sunday 8am to 5pm. View the menu here.

Hammer and Tong on Urbanspoon

Hankering for one more? This post is getting a tad long but feel free to read my full article on Mockingbird Cafe & Patisserie on Weekendnoteswhich has received an editor’s award. It’s a lovely little local cafe in Fitzroy North that I would definitely return to for their service.


Mockingbird Cafe & Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Burgers in Melbourne

Before you start telling me what’s the best burger in Melbourne – let me put this straight. I’m not here to debate the BEST burger, I’m merely here to share some of the burgers I have tried. You may have heard of them, you may have not, and there’s plenty more on my to-go-list so please leave your suggestions!

Strange Wolf: Strachan Lane, Melbourne CBD

Introduced to this typically-hidden-in-a-dodgy-alleyway joint by my lovely film festival committee, Strange Wolf is located underground just off Collins St. Or should I say was – I think they’re closed now, as I heard they would be closing towards the end of the year and their Facebook and website has disappeared.

Not my picture – from Urbanspoon, click for link!

Alas, let me reminisce of the burger that was. It was called The Underbelly ($15, above), with free range pork belly, smoked cheese, pickle, apple slaw and BBQ sauce. Unfortunately, from this view you can’t tell the burger’s true size. I found it larger than your average burger, or than burgers from more casual takeaway places such as Huxtaburger, and thus quite filling. The apple slaw goes well with the large pork belly slices and made it stand out from your everyday beef burger. It felt like a fulfilling burger and it wasn’t too messy except for the bits of apple slaw that fall out.

Furthermore, they have large herby hand-cut chips, which is how I like my chips – nice and thick. I would usually prefer a larger serving than the small cone that comes with it – but the burger really filled me up! If this place hasn’t closed, please correct me, but the signs don’t look good.

Strange Wolf on Urbanspoon

Huxtaburger: Fulham Place off Flinders Lane

To be honest – I don’t have that much to say about Huxtaburger. It seems to be a highly rated burger shop amongst Melburnians, indicated by the excitement of CBD dwellers when they opened up Huxtaburger II (the original is in Collingwood).


Like most burger places, it has a bit of an American diner atmosphere to its decor. This place has more of a take-away feel, rather than dine-in, unless you’re after a quick munch on your work break or with one or two friends. Their menu is very basic, with their staple burgers and their beer/soft drink menus on either side.

As I wasn’t too hungry, I went for the classic Huxtaburger ($8.5) with beef patty, mustard, mayo, tomato sauce, tomato, cheese, lettuce and pickles. To me, this sounds like a typical burger. It was good – but what was so special about it? I’m still not sure. I also tried their chipotle fries ($2.50-$3?), which gives the chips a kind of smoked, Mexican chilli flavour. I probably enjoyed this more than the burger – although as I have mentioned, I’m pretty weak so it was a bit chilli for me towards the end.


Huxtaburger on Urbanspoon

Hammer & Tong: 412 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

On a bit of a different note, Hammer and Tong are more of a brunch place. One of their specialties is their soft shell crab burger ($16) and my table had 3 out of 4 people order the dish.

Soft shell crab burger

My friend enjoyed the mayonnaise/cheesy sauce, as it complimented and added to the texture of the crab, and seemed to provide the main flavour of the dish. I enjoyed a bite too – but I guess the downside is the price vs the serving size. Hardly enough to fill you up unless you’re after a light meal.

Hammer and Tong on Urbanspoon

Misty’s Diner: 765 Gilbert Rd, Reservoir

This year, Misty’s Diner opened its second branch in the northern suburb of Reservoir. We’ve discovered this place is basically where you go if you want to have a heart attack on a plate…so it’s best not to go too often. Misty’s goes all out with it’s American theme, from its Marilyn Monroe newspaper art, to the American accented cashier at the counter.

ThickshakeThe attraction of Misty’s is its extra goodies from thickshakes, deep fried desserts or American snacks such as Twinkies at the counter. Having enjoyed a white chocolate cookies and cream thickshake last time, I couldn’t resist trying a mixed berries and white chocolate shake this time! I think I still prefer the cookies and cream one (they’re a bit expensive though, can’t remember the price but probably $6 or $8+).

Burger and fries

Another extra, is that they have various fries with topping. Delicious, but fills you with so much guilt after the meal. I ordered the Western & Bacon burger ($14.90, above), mushrooms, BBQ sauce, onion rings, bacon, mayo and Swiss cheese, with a side of wet fries (fries topped with meat gravy).

In complete American style, these meals are oversized but delicious, fatty but mouthwatering.  The menu with its sauces and abundance of ingredients really attempt to pack lots of meat and flavours into your meal. Not for the light-hearted!

Misty's Diner on Urbanspoon

Beatbox Kitchen: various locations

Lucky last, and lucky for me, Beatbox Kitchen often stops by the front of my work building. Eager to try, I left my lunch at work in order to try burgers from this cutely designed truck. There were only two options, the Raph Burger ($11, beef) and the Shroom Burger ($10, portobello mushroom).


Never content to leave it at that, we asked if we could add a beef patty to the shroom burger. Of course, it was possible, but for a price of $15. This meant my burger had a whole marinated portobello mushroom, beef, lettuce, gouda cheese, tomato, onion and stereo sauce (tangy mayo).


Out of all the burgers, I enjoyed this one the most. It seemed to have just the right amount of everything, including sauce. That means you still get to a messy stage, with sauce dripping out, after you get about halfway. It was so good, I didn’t even need to take my tomato out (I don’t like tomato) as the other ingredients and sauce still made it taste rich and flavoursome.

The excellent flavour might have something to do with the stereo sauce, but the beef patty was juicy and tasty too. We also ordered chips with stereo sauce (at that time, I still wasn’t sure what stereo sauce was but it sounded interesting), but didn’t realise the serving was so big. The burgers were incredibly filling with the extra beef, and the chips were too similar to McDonald’s fries for me to enjoy so I didn’t finish them.

To add to an already very long post, I couldn’t help but try Beatbox Kitchen again whilst pondering what I should have for lunch the other day. Spying the truck across the road, I thought this could only be a sign! I thought I would try the Raph Burger and see how it stands on its own. This included the 170gm grass-fed beef patty (medium-rare), cos lettuce, tomato, cheese, onion and stereo sauce.


So the difference from last time was no gouda cheese or mushroom. As I was looking for something less filling, I still enjoyed the burger immensely and can deduct that the actual beef patty is cooked just right. Without the gouda cheese, it’s evidently less saucy/cheesy but the stereo sauce was still great and tangy. It also meant that this time, I could notice the buttery bun a lot more and the bun’s texture was slightly crisp and crunchy today. Goes to show what different experiences you can have with the same place!

Beatbox Kitchen on Urbanspoon

In addition to these places, I have been to Andrew’s Hamburgers in Albert Park and The Bottle of Milk in Lorne, but due to my lack of photos and memory, I can’t comment too accurately. I do however remember I wasn’t completely amazed by Andrew’s Hamburgers after all the hype, and that I enjoyed a good messy burger from The Bottle of Milk by the nearby beach! Perhaps it’s better to try it yourself rather than trusting my bad recollections.

I am still eager to try Ribs and Burgers, Top Paddock’s soft shell crab burger and anything else you guys recommend. Let me know what burgers you liked or where I should go in the comment section below!