The Fitzroy cafe, which opened in 2013 and is known for its soft-shell crab burgers and breakfast ramen, plans to open an outlet in Hong Kong by early 2017. The team is currently scouring the island for a location.

“We’re looking at opening in Sheung Wan,” says executive chef Simon Ward. It’s the central district in Hong Kong and, according to him, “It’s full of expats and food-crazy locals.”

An advantage for Ward is having Hong Kong natives on staff; sous chef William Lim and future Hong Kong manager Andy Cheng. Both are working with him to establish the cafe over there. He will remain based in Melbourne, but will travel between the two.

Ward also plans to start an exchange program, which will swap one barista from Melbourne’s Hammer and Tong with a barista from the new Hong Kong location.

Hammer & Tong isn’t the only Melbourne cafe to announce an international expansion recently. Hardware Société opened an outpost in Paris in April, and Proud Mary plans to open in Portland, Oregon in the US later this year.

hammerandtong.com.au