Joli Brunch at The Hardware Societe

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Transform yourself into Europe

I’ve committed a food blogger cardinal sin (Quelle horreur)! Instead of exploring a new food haven, I went back to the same place two weeks in a row ( I can see your head shaking..). Anyways, that say something,doesn’t it ( I don’t mean my lack of imagination)?All I can say is that I’m glad I went the second time because it led to a total different dining experience. Different seating lead to different experience with only one constant – great food.

This European French/Spanish bistro is easy to miss if you don’t pay attention. I’ve probably walked past it 100th times and wasn’t aware of its existence! So,how did I discover this little gem? Easy. By the sheer number of reviews and number of votes close to a 1000 on Urbanspoon! So,what makes this bistro tick? We should soon find out!

Let’s dig in straight to the food. Brunch is probably one of my favourite meal of all time.I’m a massive fan of big breakfast. It has been years since the last I stroll on the street of Paris but this restaurant gave me a glimpse of what I’ve missed most about Europe. I find the menu a breath of fresh air. French classics such as croque madame, fried brioche and of course, the infamous French toast made their appearance. For Spanish enthusiasts, chorizo is found consistently in the menu.

Croque Madame- grilled sandwich of ham and Gruyère cheese with fried egg on top

For my first visit, I ordered a French classique , croque madame. Croque madame is a spin-off from croque monsieur. This popular cafe dish is basically a grilled sandwich with hot ham and cheese (Gruyère) with only difference of fried egg on the top. It’s amazing how  a simple sandwich when done nicely can make such a satisfying meal. The dish came with oozing Gruyère cheese and the fried egg was perfect with runny yolk as how I like it to be!

Poached eggs with chorizo,peppers and chickpeas

I decided to have a taste of Spain for my second visit instead. Anything with chorizo would do fine for me! I am always wary when ordering poached eggs. If not done perfectly with oozing yolk, it can lose its appeal very quickly. To my relief, the yolk was runny as I cut into the egg (phew!). I find this dish very clever. The perfectly done poached eggs, the salty and smoky chorizo combined with juicy peppers add flavours and texture to an otherwise bland chickpeas. It came with bread on the side and you can just dip into the bowl and enjoy this flavoursome sauce to your heart’s content!

Chef doing what they do best

I didn’t quite enjoy my first visit for some obvious reasons. It’s freezing cold and we were seated outside with teeny-weeny seats (seriously, it can hardly cover your you-know-what). With both drinks on the table, there were no room for our food. Another wee chair had to be put next to us to make space for the food. Do you remember a scene from Alice in Wonderland? Yes, we’ve eaten the magic mushroom and now find ourselves too big for our seats!Anyhow,the menu was so inspiring that I decided to give it a second chance.

For my second visit, we get to sit on the counter overlooking the kitchen.And,that makes a whole lot of difference! We watched in fascination as the chef dish up  delicious dish one after another. It makes me want to eat the whole menu!The service is always prompt and friendly. I found the staff to be an enthusiastic bunch and they look like they enjoy working there very much.

So,if you are a brunch lover, please do me a favour and check it out for yourself! Oh,just like any popular eating institution in Melbourne, be prepared to wait whether hail or shine! NOTE: The restaurant will be closed from 11th of July till 22nd of July.

The Hardware Societe

120 Hardware St
Melbourne, 3000

Phone: (03) 9078 5992

Open: Breakfast: Mon -Sun

Lunch: Mon-Sun

Price: $$(Main $15-$25)

Cuisine: French/Spanish

Ambience: 8.5

Service: 9.0

Food: 9.0

Value:  9.0

My Rating: 8.9

The Hardware Societe on Urbanspoon


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