I caught up with my friends Z & B for another mid-week, city breakfast. Z has become quite the fan of Melbourne Gastronome (aren’t we all?) so after reading the review of Hardware Societe, we decided we had to try it for ourselves.
Hardware Societe is situated on Hardware Street (not Lane!) in the city across from an amazingly named take-away outlet – McSpanky’s (gold!!!!). It’s a gorgeous little place with lots of cute, decorative touches and even a little herb garden out the front.
While I was waiting for B & Z I took a surreptitious photo of the cuteness..
… and I enjoyed an excellent coffee (Supreme) which even comes with a little miniature cinnamon donut (cute – although unfortunately, not something I can eat):
The breakfast menu had lots of interesting options and I decided on the house-made bircher, it sounded great with poached peaches, plums, berries, figs and pistachio. Unfortunately, in addition to my wheat allergy I am also allergic to stone fruit (I had an anaphylaxis years ago), so I ordered the bircher and asked if I could have it without the fruit on top. The waitress (and owner) got a bit defensive and explained that she would not do so as she has “particular views about the way that the food looks and tastes”. There was more to this exchange but I will leave it at that. Now, I understand that cafes with small kitchens may not want to make changes to standard orders, but I didn’t think omitting some fruit would really be such a problem. In any event, if they had noted on the menu that no changes are to be made, this little confrontation could have been avoided.
After I further explained my wheat allergy she told me I could have the potato tortilla, which is gluten free:
Unfortunately, I had eaten a potato tortilla the night before at MoVida Aqui, so wasn’t very enthusiastic with the breakfast I ended up with. The tortilla was fine, perhaps a bit underseasoned and it was fridge-cold. The prosciutto on top was deliciously salty and the heirloom tomatoes were delicious.
B ordered the scrambled eggs, which came with roe on top and a baguette on the side:
She enjoyed her breakfast but didn’t get the whole way through her (rather large) serve of scrambled eggs. I had a taste of the scrambled eggs and they were some of the best I have had – warm, rich, studded with peas and herbs and deliciously soft.
Z ordered the bircher I was denied:
Yes it looked great and Z said it tasted great as well.
As I was leaving, I spied some macarons, so I grabbed some and snacked on them later in the office:
On the left (with an odd blue colour) is a butterscotch macaron, on the right, the berry macaron. These are obviously not the cutest looking macarons I have encountered, with uneven, knobbly, cracked domes. But I still had high hopes they would taste good. On the taste test, the filling of the butterscotch macaron was great – it tasted exactly like the sauce from a sticky date pudding – yum! The filling for the berry macaron didn’t have a lot of flavour (in fact Z, who also took one back to the office, sent me an email to say it tasted of nothing). The macaron shells themselves were quite flavourless and they were heavy and dense (perhaps too much almond meal?), they didn’t have the lightness that I love in a macaron.
So all in all, a conflicted breakfast experience. The space is very cute, coffee is great and the food is well executed. Personally, I can’t see myself going back there after the odd confrontation about my order. It made me feel uncomfortable. Certainly you should try Hardware Societe just don’t make any changes to your order and hopefully you won’t get the grilling I did!
120 Hardware St, Melbourne
Phone 03 9078 5992