Hardware Societe is a small Spanish influenced cafe that pulls in a large audience looking for breakfast and lunch during the week. Of late, it seems to be crowded with tourists showcasing their large DSLR cameras.
The interior is clean and bright and the space is small, but there are several tables at the front overlooking the lane to help with indoor overflow.
The menu includes baked eggs, omelette, fried brioche, cereals and more eggs.
We arrived just before the lunch time rush, and were able to find a table immediately.
The counter is adorned with sweets and baked goods such as almond praline biscuits and croissants, which go down well with your tea or coffee. Specials of the day are written up on a small blackboard on the wall.
The breakfast items extend well into lunch where creativity from the previous Beetroot Cafe owners offer interesting items from their French/Spanish roots such as roast duck leg, stuffed peppers, poached boudin blanc, veal escalopes and seared scallops.
Weekday lunchtime hour can be rather busy at this bustling city digs, so if you’ve only got an hour, get in early. When we came out after our brunch there was already a long queue of people predominately tourists carrying large DSL cameras.
Our coffees came far too early, as it was all consumed ahead of my baked eggs. Coffee was pretty good, definitely comparable to coffee in Wellington :).
The baked eggs with chorizo sausage, piquillo pimientos sauce, crunchy almonds, queso de cabra goats milk cheese was average. A huge helping of almonds are served on top of the baked eggs, where I had to push some aside as there were far too many almonds. The eggs were over done and dry for my liking . A few slices of fresh ciabatta bread with olive oil was provided with the dish. The dish itself lacked seasoning, thankfully pepper was at hand.
The scrambled eggs with prawn & moreton bay bug gribiche, peas, zucchini was fairly large. The prawns and moreton bay bug was well cooked and the eggs were perfectly cooked whre it was ever so slightly runny. The dish lacked seasoning expeically when eating the the salad part of the dish (zucchini and peas).
Having visited and dined at Hardware Societe, I am unsure as to why this place is so popular. The food is average and slightly overrated. What I enjoyed about this place, is the number of French jams – Bonne Maman that were available for you to use.
You can judge for yourself. There are plenty more good places to go to in Melbourne.
Location: 120 Hardware St, Melbourne