Hardware Societe

120 Hardware St, Melbourne 3000
Visited 12th September 2011

This is actually the second time I have been here.  The first time I was brought here by a friend and her friends who wanted to try out the place.  I was surprised actually that this little place existed, tucked neatly (and almost hidden) between buildings on Hardware St.  You wouldn't know it was here if you weren't looking for it.  The place itself was small, covered with cute and interesting decor, and packed full with patrons - it was lucky that the others had a table.

For my first visit, I had the Croque Madame, which was basically a grilled sandwich, ham, cheese (Gruyere) topped with a sunny side up.  It was delicious - the soft, oozing gruyere and the perfectly fried egg (with still runny yolk) were the real standouts of this dish.  Whilst the others were snapping away, unfortunately I didn't bring a camera and forgot about my mobile so I don't have any photos of my delicious Croque Madame.

I brought MerlinFan here for my second visit one cold, dreary morning after reading all the great online reviews about this place.  Like before it was packed to the rafters, so it was lucky that a table for two cleared up when we got there.  We arrived just before 11am, so made it in time for the breakfast menu!  The menu does rotate as well, and this time the Croque Madame was not on the menu :( but that was OK since I was planning on trying something else anyway.  

We both had lattes while waiting.  The latte came with a cute mini cinnamon doughnut ball on the side.  Now, I have heard others rave about how good the coffees are here, but unfortunately it was a bit on the watery, over-milky side for me and not how I like my ideal latte.  

Food wise, this time I chose the Baked Eggs with chorizos and pimentos.  The eggs were a little overcooked for me - like boiled eggs almost - it was served in a super hot pot so the eggs would continue to cook as it sat.  Taste wise it was nice, like digging into an eggy pizza!

Baked eggs

MerlinFan indulged her sweet tooth with the fried brioche with passionfruit and rhubarb.  Two thick squares of brioche half drenched in thick passionfruit sauce and the other half with rhubarb.  It was deliciously crunchy around the corners and soft in the middle.  The sweetness of the passionfruit was actually quite nicely balanced by the slightly tart rhubarb.  Nevertheless, it got a tad bit too sweet for MerlinFan in the end, so I was happy to finish off the corners for her.

Fried Brioche
A definitely unique place to brunch, however after it was almost like the place had been hyped up too much, and I left feeling somewhat underwhelmed.  However, the menu does change around (not sure if that's a good or bad thing!) so I might be tempted to come back for a third time...

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