Melbourne has no shortage of cafes and brunch spots. However, ever since I’ve been brunching one name always come to everyone’s lips when they talk about cafes in Melbourne: Hardware Societe. At this point in time, I think it’s safe to say that it is an institution. Almost every day of the week there’s people waiting outside for a seat, but on an overcast Tuesday, there was no one milling around.
My mum and I had originally been intending to go somewhere else for brunch, but upon seeing that there was no wait for Hardware Societe we decided that it was too good a chance to pass up. Our timing was also just right, as it just started raining and we managed to snag a beautiful round table at the front of the cafe. After ordering our drinks, the line started forming.
I always appreciate how Hardware Societe offers a little sweetie along with all their beverages. The mini donut that came with the Cafe latte and Oolong and orange blossom tea was a cute little bite, covered in cinnamon and sugar. The drinks were on the weaker side, but I’m a sucker for the tea cosy and mismatched vintage tea cups.
The Baked eggs with chorizo is probably one of the most famous dishes on the menu. Almost every table had some version of baked eggs and we were no exception. The high-quality baguette was great to dip into the hot and slightly spicy eggs. Although baked eggs are a fairly common brunch item, the addition of almonds was pretty interesting and unexpected. Also credit to the kitchen, my mum doesn’t usually like potatoes but she happily had the potatoes in this dish!
Fried Brioche is just French toast by another name. This rendition had lavender syrup, raspberries, and passionfruit curd. The tart and creamy curd was probably my favourite part of the dish. I usually love the Fried Brioche from Hardware Societe because it is a winning combination of crispy and soft, but this morning it was just all soft. Perhaps we had let it sit for a little too long while we ate the eggs, but more texture and a little less sauce would have made this the perfect dish.
After all these years Hardware Societe still delivers. The menu is constantly changing with the seasons but old favourites still stick around in slightly different forms. As a local, revisiting Hardware Societe is like meeting a friend again for the first time in a while. Sure, it might be difficult to organise the perfect time to catch up, but once you see them you remember everything that drew you to them! Although you may not get together again for the longest time you know that they will still be there for you. It’s no wonder people constantly recommend it.
That said, if I had to wait outside in the rain for a table as some people did that morning I would just as happily go somewhere else for a quality brunch!