Images courtesy of @HNTongs
If you’re driving through the centre of Strathalbyn, or if you’re simply a local, you may have noticed that the former Commonwealth Bank site looks a little different.
Taking over a year to renovate, the large building located in the town centre has now completely transformed into a hip, industrial café/bistro that serves its customers fresh, delicious food and drinks.
Having only opened over three weeks ago, Hammer ‘N’ Tongs has already received a great response from diners who, like owner Maurice Behan, describe the venue as a place to relax and enjoy quality food with mates.
The relaxed atmosphere is enhanced by the café’s semi-industrial interior, fixed with 100-year-old recycled timber from a local stable and skylights that produce natural light to create a bright and airy space.
This industrial fit-out goes hand in hand with the café’s name, as ‘Hammer N Tongs’ is a metaphor from the blacksmith’s tools meaning to ‘go hard and go fast’, reminiscent of Maurice’s vision for his business.
With the interior of the café fully completed, the new Strathalbyn staple is serving customers breakfast and lunch everyday from 7am until 4pm.
Being a big believer in using fresh produce and opting local, Maurice is always looking for the freshest ingredients.
Often visiting the farms where his produce is sourced from, Maurice also has a particular focus on using freshly caught SA seafood and homemade bread from artisan bakers.
“You have to eat food how it was meant to be eaten – fresh, it’s as simple as that,” Maurice explains.
Hammer ‘N’ Tongs serves a mix of classics such as the egg and bacon bun (with swiss cheese and relish), smashed avo (everyone’s fave), fish and chips, and a pork bahn mi, as well as numerous of vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options.
If your tastebuds are more adventurous, don’t worry, they also offer dishes such as their popular wood oven lamb bowl (with roasted peppers, hummus, garlic yoghurt, toasted pita and Fattoush), the chicken quesadilla (with gruyere, coriander and lime crema, blistered cherry tomatoes and a house made hot sauce) and southern fried cauliflower (with vegan slaw, dill pickles and spicy buffalo sauce).
Whilst providing a relaxed atmosphere serving café meals during the day, by September Maurice hopes to have a beer garden and tapas bar in full swing, offering authentic Italian wood-oven pizzas, share plates and drinks that they will serve customers well into the evening.
Also being an absolute wine lover, Maurice explained how he wanted his first restaurant venture to include a wine bar and highlight the regions local creations.
So, whilst a few gins and spirits will be available, wine is at the centre of it all, with the old bank safe being converted into an epic wine cellar.
Once all COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, the space will have the capacity to fit 190 customers, but for now, they are currently only seating 20 inside and 20 outside, with takeaway available as well.
You can find Hammer ‘N’ Tongs at 39 Commercial Rd, Strathalbyn SA.