Meet your Maker. An apt name for the unique dining experience Hammer and Tong 412 hosted last month. Meet your maker provided an innovative dining experience where executive chef Simon Ward (previously of Vue de Monde) prepared an innovative four course dinner but the matching wines for each course came with their maker, each gracing dining tables and introducing their wine. The matching wines, carefully selected by Head Sommelier Dennis Ferreira (formerly of Jacques Reymond), were thoughtfully matched drops to the food; romancing you into the rationalities of why the wines chosen harmonises superbly with dinner. The four hosts include Barnaby Flanders of Garagiste Vinters, James Lance of Punch Lance’s Vineyard, Emily McNally of Occams Razor and Tennille Chalmers of Chalmers Wines.
First course arrived boldly on a black dinner plate, a glowing, white, lightly pan fried John Dory fillet. A thick brush stroke of puréed celeriac decorated the dish and sprinkled over them, a verdant mix up of dill, watercress and a gently charred spring onion stem. Following the theme, a green-skinned grape variety glass of the Garagiste le Stagiaire 2013 Chardonnay from Mornington Peninsula brought forward flavours of delicate, crisp, blonde oak wood that mellowed burnt onion caramel flavours.
For the second course, Autumn mushrooms laid down on a light puddle of earthy, butter sauce, tucked with sautéed, crisp lace ended bitter kale leaves, and finished with a generous sprinkle of toasted hazelnuts; some casually glossed in sauce. A cross-sectionally sliced parsnip makes itself known, lying atop the bed of mushrooms. A 2011 Pinot Noir from Punch Lance’s Vineyard had a bouquet with fine red and black berry fruits, and sweetened the dish’s woody, earth soiled flavours.
A saddle of venison decorated with thinly sliced varieties of red and golden beets was our beautiful third course. The juxtaposition of the colours of the beets with the green leaves and the venison slices made the dish a visual delight. Accompanying this course was the Razor 2012 Shiraz, a black beauty, dark, drowning in tangled berry mysteries, rich in rum and raisin.
Dessert shined golden with cubes of pineapples, drops of quince, with a round and dense biscuit-cake-like piece soaked in cloves and muscavado. Meringue kisses and a melting ball of yoghurt gelato finished the dish. A lightly sweet dessert wine, the Chalmers Aurora 2009 Passito was the perfect accompaniment with floral, honey and tropical fruit traits. This is enough for all to fantasise on a great escape from the fall/winter seasons.
When Hammer and Tong 412 isn’t hosting a dinner event like this, it presents itself as an eating house and coffee bar open six days of the week (Tuesdays to Sundays) with coffees from Dukes. There is all day breakfast; blending in lunch and offering dinner service Tuesdays to Saturdays. Expect the ordinary to get complete makeovers, with fine dining panache in their food presentation and cooking skills, flavours and ingredients combination created to stimulate.
The space exhibits modern industrial chicness allowing you to choose three dinning settings – the main hall with a coffee bar, sleek corridor bar area or the sun room. Envision devouring a sausage and egg muffin with espresso maple foam and smoked cheese or equally creative, the combination of duck egg, oyster mushrooms, truffle butter, dressed in snow pea tendrils with a fontina encrusted, briont soldiers – just a few notable dishes to start you off on curiosity.
Hammer & Tong 412
Rear 412 Brunswick Street Fitzroy VIC 3065, Ph. (03) 9041 6033
Opening hours: Sunday – Monday 7am to 4pm Tuesday – Saturday 7am to late