Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Hardware Societe, Melbourne

the hardware societe

My boyfriend has called me a Nanna on my occasions. Sure, I like to potter around the kitchen much more than I like to be doing, well, almost anything else. I have quite an epic collection of vintage flatware, often fall asleep in front of the TV, and wear a lot of cardigans. All of my Nanna-like tendencies culminated recently… but more on that later…

the hardware societe

On a recent trip to Melbourne with my sister, one place that I knew we had to go was Hardware Societe. I had been once before, almost a year ago to the day in fact, but I only snapped a few photos on my iphone and they didn’t really do the place any justice. This time around, the first thing I notice is that the café itself is bigger, having also taken over the space next door sometime in the last 12 months. I love their airy white fit out with bursts of yellow and quirky touches like the wall of teacups behind the coffee machine.

the hardware societe

I order a long black, which hit the spot perfectly on that drizzly morning, though I remember on my last visit that the coffees had come with a tiny cinnamon doughnut on each saucer, but is missing this time around. Beth decided on a French Earl Grey tea, which was served with the most adorable tea cozy, which totally made my inner-Nanna flip out, and my breakfast envy officially begin!

the hardware societe

I was in the mood for something savoury, preferably with bacon, so the BLT sounded perfect for me. When it came out, it was much bigger than I had expected, sandwiched on a crispy baguette. It was pretty great – a fine example of a BLT for sure, but as good as it was, it never had a hope of impressing more than this…

the hardware societe

Yes folks, that right there is the Fried Brioche, probably the Hardware Societe’s most famous dish that changes seasonally. It’s hands down the best version of French Toast that I’ve ever had – this time served with a generous amount of nutella, strawberries and a scattering of roasted hazelnuts. On my last visit it was salted caramel and red wine-poached pears. Oh how I wish I had ordered it for myself, but Beth was nice to share some with me. I can’t wait to see what new twist they’ll come up with the next time I’m in Melbourne, because there will definitely be another brunch at the Hardware Societe in my future.

the hardware societe

Another thing to mention is the Mini Marchet set up inside, selling gourmet products like cordials, jams, breads, eggs, and much more. Excitingly for me, they also sell those tea cozies, which are made especially for the café... And I bought one, which earns me at least 100 more Nanna points. I’m 23 going on 60.

It’s easy to see why this is one of Melbourne’s most blogged about cafés. I love the quirky touches and attention to detail (even though my coffee was missing a doughnut!) and the great menu, which effortlessly straddles the line between modern Australian and nostalgic French cuisine in a quintessentially Melbourne laneway.

The Hardware Sociéte on Urbanspoon

The Hardware Societe – 118-120 Hardware St, Melbourne (02) 9078 5992

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