Tanked: Hammer & Tong go South to Less Than Zero

Brioche with avocado at  Tanked

The team behind brilliant Fitzroy cafe Hammer & Tong seem to be hell bent on creating a mini empire.  First they opened up food trucks and now they’re supplying the food for bar Less Than Zero in Prahran.  The food side of the business is called “Tanked” in reference to the shape of the (tiny) kitchen out the back of the bar. I was invited along to the launch party where I got to try out some of the dishes on the menu. 

Chicken ribs at Tanked
Chicken ribs at Tanked

The bar is cosy with wood panelling lining the walls and a timber clad courtyard through a doorway at the back.  It’s pretty hard to judge a place properly at a launch especially in this case as Less Than Zero was absolutely rammed and food was a bit thin on the ground.  What I did manage to eat was certainly a cut above your average bar food.  

Cheers at Tanked
Cheers at Tanked

Tanked is serving up a range of different sliders. So far so standard.  But what’s more interesting are the seriously good chicken ribs.  Wardy’s crispy chicken ribs (named after Tanked co-owner Simon Ward) were crisp and crunchy and doused with a zesty “Fish Fang” sauce along with a scattering of spring onions and sesame seeds ($15).  These are seriously good and seriously addictive.  

Slider time at Tanked: your choice of smoked chicken, lamb or brisket
Slider time at Tanked: your choice of smoked chicken, lamb or brisket

The dish which showed the most Hammer & Tong influence was the briont toast (a type of brioche bread) topped with avocado, and Philly cheese ($10).  The sweet soft bread is an excellent drinks accompaniment and a sprinkling of dukkah on top keeps things interesting.  There were also slightly charred Padron peppers served with goats curd ($11).  One in five are spicy so it’s a bit of Russian Roulette eating them but it adds to the fun.  

Brioche with avocado at Tanked
Brioche with avocado at Tanked

Desserts were similarly impressive including a sensational yoghurt panna cotta topped with strawberries doused in sumac and flecks of walnut ($8).  Less Than Zero is just a tiny bar so don’t come here expecting the same sort of fitout or vibe as Hammer & Tong.  Service was a bit all over the shop, but as mentioned this was a launch party so the staff were under pressure.  The key here is the reasonably priced bar food with a twist.

Panna cotta with sumac strawberries
Panna cotta with sumac strawberries

 Gourmet Chick was invited to review Tanked.

Essentials
Details:  Tanked at Less Than Zero, 153 Commercial Road, Prahran (Open: 5pm – 1am) 
Damage:  Such a bargain my mother would approve. But on this occasion I didn’t pay.  
6/10
Less Than Zero on Urbanspoon

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