The Hardware Societe – Morning Chomp-Fest Part 1
120 Hardware St
With an increasingly dwindling number of my newly graduated friends left in Melbourne, I conceived the idea of having a trail of nibbles around a few renowned cafes around Queen St side of Melbourne – retrospectively dubbed Morning-Chomp-Fest. How corny ey? P.S. Don’t have to offer condolences yet – since I too will be jetting off to New Zealand soon! YIPPIIIIE~! Anyways, so first stop Hardware Societe for some mid morning breakfast. At last count there was a crazy-frenzy of 27 blog posts just on Urbanspoon – 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14/15/16/17/18/19/20 … (ok i give up… too lazy to link anymores – you get the gist). So just to make that 28…
I arrived a little earlier (and by little I mean more like 30 minutes) than Mr ES & Mr CK so that I could take some photos at leisure and conveniently get a table as well. As usual I seem to struggle with tracking down these tucked away cafes that almost just camouflage into their milieu, until of course you finally stumble onto its doorstep and it just miraculously materialises before you. Located beyond the Hardware lane up towards the quiet end of the street, this place is ambiguously signed with ‘café’ – unhelpful. If not for the bustling tables in the front courtyard I would’ve seriously just skipped passed. Note: if you’re hoping to see that herb garden that Melbourne Gastronome mentioned not long ago, it is now replaced with evergreen ornamental plants (correction: it has actually been a year since I read that post… damn!). I thought I was neurotic to notice that, but clearly not that neurotic given the lag-time.
Walking beyond the unassuming exterior, one is met with a décor that is a cool mishmash between quirky elegance, art house and modern sleek. I just clicked away with my camera on the little quirky bits and pieces – ladder used as a newspaper rack, teapots that came with cheerful knitted warmers, old school light globes dangled via electric yellow cables, and a chic black floral feature wall conflicting with the yellow scrawling-covered tiling on the other wall.
Whilst I waited I sipped away at on a Latte, which was creamy and moderately robust – nice but not awesome like say St Ali. The keen eye will also notice it comes with a cute little doughnut. Mr CK had the Iced chocolate & ice cream, which in his words: it had some “real ice cream”, like GOOD ice cream! I infer that he also thought the whole thing was good =).
My gluttonous choice for the first official meal of the day: Fried brioche. What at first looked like a piece of cake to finish, turned out to be a monstrous plate of buttery brioche smothered in sweet syrup, topped with ripened banana, a runny but very light clotted cream, crunchy scatter of hazelnuts and chocolate’y nutella sandwiched in between. It was insanely decadent but by the same token insanely mouth-watering.
Mr CK had the scrambled eggs, which was served with ham, rouzaire camembert and sweet mustard. Brought to the table in black metallic pan, it really visually flaunts the light-golden-yellow eggs that even LOOKED fluffy. A fastidious scrambled eggs eater, Mr CK was utterly satisfied. I sneaked a bite and it was OMG so airy, fluffy and creamy. Only downside was that the pan kept cooking the egg at the table, so as you eat it gets overcooked… so EAT FASTER SHEESH!
Baked eggs are the ritual breakfast order for Mr ES. He chose the chorizo, valdeon blue cheese and olive bread option. This also received a nod of approval, and Mr ES is let’s say also a fastidious baked eggs eater. What a day for fastidious egg eaters…
Rating: Yummy+1. Ok coffee but pretty damn awesome breakfast, with nods of approval from both my dining companions. I will definitely return for MORE breakfast, try their lunch and their custard tart. I found the service to be warm, particularly the shout across the room to ask if I’d like a coffee whilst I wait – how classy, but ironically I appreciated that bit of casual hospitality.
… and now just a selection of the many photos I took whilst here – love the quirky bits and bobs!
[a number of closeup shots were courtesy of Mr CK]