There are certain places that are on the top of people's list of places to eat at when they visit Melbourne and I think that The Hardware Sociéte would be high on that type of list. My last visit over a year ago for lunch did explain why it was so popular but having never visited for breakfast before, Ms L and I decided to check it out one gloriously sunny Saturday. I had parked on Lonsdale street and Ms L, having never visited before, looked down Hardware Lane and exclaimed at how quiet it was. I told her to turn around and look the other direction and we saw a crowd of people loitering in the distance. That, I said, is The Hardware Sociéte - and her face promptly fell.
We put our names down on the waiting list with an approximate 20 minute to an hour's possible wait time and settled ourselves in for a coffee at Silo by Joost while we waited. Half an hour later, we ventured back to check our status in the queue and found our names had already been called so we were seated straight away at the bench looking into the food prep area.
Our coffees were ordered and came out with a tiny doughnut ball which was lovely and sweet but needed crispiness to be anything more than ordinary.
With so many options for brunch, we were at a complete loss as to what we wanted to order. There is certainly something that will appeal to your taste buds, but the trouble is actually trying to decide between all the tasty sounding dishes. It was looking into the food prep area that made my decision when I saw the glossy scrambled eggs. They were seasoned well with herbs while the asparagus was charred and still crunchy and fresh. I didn't like the accompanying bread and would have preferred something toasted or crunchy but loved the salted smoked salmon and horseradish crème fraîche in conjunction with the eggs and asparagus.
Ms L was loving her baked eggs dish and insisted I have a taste. The combination of the chorizo, tomatoey base, cheese and runny egg yolk were divine with the crusty bread and she devoured the whole dish save for half a lone overcooked egg yolk which is inevitable in these kinds of dishes as they come out bubbling hot.
As expected, our brunch session at The Hardware Sociéte was very enjoyable with both service and food being excellent. I know that brunch is big in Melbourne and it seems like there is a new cafe opening every weekend but The Hardware Sociéte easily retains its popularity - keeping their customers coming back for more and making them wait for it too.
Will I return? Yes, the food is great although the huge crowds are discouraging.
118-120 Hardware Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9078 5992
Mon to Fri 7:30 am - 3:00 pm
Sat 8:30 am - 2:00 pm