Monday, September 23, 2013

WINTOUR&GUINNESS HEADS NORTH WITH THE HIPSTERS TO HAMMER & TONG AND SOUTH OF THE CITY TO GARDINER & FIELD

Oh the weekend, its that time of the week we all look forward to and when it comes its goes ever so quickly. The highlight at the weekend for many a Melburnian is heading out for brunch. Where to go each weekend is an ever growing problem for me as there really is a new spot springing up each and every weekend.

Last weekend, whilst Kevin was away at Tough Mudder, I decided to take a trip to Fitzroy and Collingwood to see whats been happening over the last few months since I've been there. I walked the length and breath of Smith St and Brunswick St and I decided the hit Hammer & Tong for breakfast. Now before I go any further let me say that one of the things that I decided a long time ago about this blog was that it was to be 100% positive. I didn't set it up to write scathing reviews on restaurants, fashion designers, people or places, but I believe that my experience at Hammer & Tong justifies me breaking this rule. I had been dying to try this place for a long time and had heard some great stuff about it. Initial thoughts upon entering the cafe were good. Queues. Some people hate them, I feel they tell a story and a good one at that. Ummm, how wrong could I have been. I walked into the cafe and was met with the greatest news one could have received. A spot along the bench overlooking the street was free and all mine, no waiting for me. I hopped up on the seat and made my way down the menu, salivating. As I haven't been eating bread, rice, pasta or potatoes for the last few weeks I have been pretty limited to the likes of eggs, bacon and avocado and that's exactly what I ordered. Yes the picture I posted on Instagram gained a legion of likes and comments but what was found on the plate after I pretty much engulfed the whole plate was the fried corpse of a rather large insect. No exaggeration. It was pretty large. I was finished with the meal when I noticed it and when the server came to take my dish away, I reluctantly made reference to it and I was met with some laughter, as if to say my comments didn't warrant a proper response. Puzzled, I turned back around in my seat and threw myself into the magazine I had brought with me. Now what I failed to mention at the beginning was that I also ordered a skinny latte and a freshly squeezed juice with my meal however neither of them arrived during my 45min stay at Hammer & Tong. Eventually I gave up and I decided to leave. Standing at the cash register waiting to pay, the server in question walked past me several times and I honestly thought that he might interject and offer some form of a discount, a free coffee, a free cookie, an apology...but nada, nothing.

I explained the coffee situation to the guy fixing up my bill and a limp apology and an offer of a free coffee were thrown my way. I declined the offer. As I said at the beginning, I don't want this to be a place where I vent my frustration but on this particular occasion I can't help it.

Fast forward a week and this time I am in Armadale, trying out a little place called Gardiner & Field. Hammer & Tong could do with taking a trip here and getting some tips on friendly service and good food. Set away from the madness of High Street, Gardiner & Field is situated next to Malvern Tennis Lawn and along a street that wouldn't feel too dissimilar to that of Desperate Housewives Wisteria Lane. It looks very random,although really cute from the outside but inside was a different matter altogether. Clean, crisp and fresh, the cafe was a breath of fresh air. The food was rather good too.

I opted for the quinoa porridge with sour cherry, raspberries and orange blossom yogurt and I couldn't have picked a better dish. Without going on for too much longer. Lets just say that I will be eating here again soon.

Hammer & Tong, Rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.
Gardiner & Field, 43 Union Street, Armadale.

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