Upon arriving mid-morning in Melbourne, the bf insisted on visiting the highly rated Hardware Societe for brunch. It’s currently rated 4.6 on Zomato, so he knew there would be a line at around 10am.
Luckily, we were given only a 40 minute estimated wait from the guy taking down names. This guy was super brisque. Not a fantastic first impression of the cafe. I know it’s hellish managing the flow of customers through your very busy cafe, but remember you are in the service industry.
While we were waiting for a table, we popped down to La Belle Miette – a wonderful macaron and icecream store just a block down on Hardware Lane. Even though Belle Miette was also highly rated, they were just starting up shop for the day and they brought out the macarons for us as we ordered. Perfect short walk around for some fresh nibbles before brunch 🙂
We ended up being seated at a narrow high table partitioning the kitchen side of the cafe and the barista side. It was a very small space for two people, and barely fit our meals and drinks. If you have both people ordering baked eggs (which are served on long wooden slabs), with drinks, haha good luck manoeuvring.
Behind us was the kitchen area so we were pretty lucky. We didn’t look through Zomato beforehand to see the recommended items, but we saw what was being chugged out over a good 10 minutes. The savoury special (which bf ordered) was in high demand that morning.
Couldn’t remember what it was, but there is kale in it. Have I mentioned how much I hate kale? Surprisingly, the bf who doesn’t even like anything not-meat all that much really enjoyed it 😛
To be fair, the kale was pretty good here. I don’t know why it tasted of grass in my memory.
The poached egg was fantastic, and their special hollandaise sauce balanced the flavours and textures well (it is rather different from standard hollandaise consistency).
Meanwhile, I ordered the sweet special of the day –
It includes freeze dried mandarin! First time I tried mandarin freeze dried. The texture is really interesting and pretty addictive!
The brioche was overall very nice, and my only regret is that it was gone too soon.
For drinks –
The straw for the cold drip is super cute. Mix your drink quickly though, if there’s little space on your table, the server will offer to take the board to free up space when they come to server the food.
The cold drip had a very light flavor which I liked (though it didn’t feel strong enough to start a day with), but the bf found it too watery for his liking.
I ordered the chai latte. I don’t know what drove me to order chai for the 5th or so time in my entire life here, but it’s a regret I will never come to terms with.
I like the chai flavor. It took me a long time to like the chai flavor. And this chai just tasted of warmed milk with a droplet of chai, and the sprinkling of cinnamon on top. It was super bland and I should have read the reviews online to order the hot chocolate or mocha because as we were walking out, the barista looked like he was creating a masterpiece with the coffee. I’m not kidding. He was so intent on his latte art, it looked like he was nursing a fallen baby bird. I bet that mocha tastes of his love.
The cabinet food looks pretty good too tbh, I would recommend having a glance before sitting down or on your way out.
They really surprised us by posing for the photo hahaha I didn’t even notice they posed until after I took the photo! Love these people 🙂
All in all, I would recommend going once at least to try one of their famous dishes (such as the baked eggs which I will probably return to try sometime), and their hot chocolate or mocha. The food is pretty darn good as far as breakfast goes, but the Hardware Societe is certainly not for the tight budgeted and forever-hungry youth (our brunch came down to 47AUD), nor for those with less than 3 hours to spare.