The Hardware Société, Melbourne

Soft boiled eggs and 3 soldiers - $12

These are no ordinary eggs and soldiers. They’re from The Hardware Société in Melbourne where I went towards the end of last year, and I loved the breakfast here so much that I went twice during my one week stay in Melbourne (and I would’ve gone 3 times if I had the time!)

Cafe decor and macarons

The cafe is hidden on one of Melbourne’s laneways has a casual feel about it, with some outdoor seating, a large communal table on the inside, and giant bare light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. The interior is decorated in a happy sunshiney yellow which extends to the cute teacosies that warmly hug each teapot. There’s also some pastries and a wide selection of house-made macarons for sale on the counter.

Butter dish and sugar bowl (left); Latte - $3 (right)

I order a coffee to start my day and when it arrives it comes with a tiny little sugared donut which I swear is one of the best donuts I have ever tasted. The donut has a crunchy sugary exterior and soft innards and I actually enquired whether we could buy the donuts on their own but sadly this wasn’t possible. I could have eaten a whole bag of these on their own!

Hot chocolate - $4

Although the hot chocolate doesn’t come with a cute donut, it is definitely out of the ordinary. It arrives with a coffee cup and a small milk jug which contains the hot chocolate. Inside the coffee cup is some chocolate powder and a rich chocolate ganache which melts as the hot milk is poured over it, leaving you with an extra smooth and sexy hot chocolate. I think that makes up for the lack of donut!

Soldiers (from L-R): Chorizo and romesco, Asparagus & valdeon, Trout tartare

The soldiers that come with the boiled eggs are three slices of baguette each with a different topping. Not being a fan of blue cheese, I decide to tackle the asparagus and valdeon soldier first and I’m surprised that the blue cheese flavour isn’t too strong and goes quite well with the asparagus. The chorizo and romesco are a great match with the nutty, tomatoey romesco sauce complimenting the spicy chorizo. The trout tartare contains minced smoked trout and is served with some watercress.

BLT baguette - $9

On our return visit, JC orders the BLT baguette, a crunchy baguette which sandwiches layers of kaiserfleisch (smoked pork belly), confit tomato and pea tendrils.

Sardines on toast - $12

The Bee and I can’t decide what we want so we share a sardines on toast which comes with a small pot of tangy tomato gazpacho. The sardines are surprisingly not too fishy and taste a lot better than the ones I’m accustomed to out of the can.

Arroz con leche - $10

We also share the Arroz con Leche – a dish that we’d seen other people order on our previous visit and had stared at the plate with food envy. It’s a gargantuan dish of warm, sweet rice pudding with caramelised toasted macadamias and quince. A starch lover’s delight, it is deliciously creamy and comforting but it eventually defeats the two of us with all the carbs from the rice.

Fried brioche with banana, Nutella and hazelnuts - $13

I knew that Queen Chu wouldn’t be able to resist the promise of banana and Nutella and she orders the fried brioche. A tower of thickly sliced fried brioche sandwiching lashings of Nutella arrives in front of her with a crown of sliced bananas, crushed hazelnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup. I eye her plate enviously and knowing my intentions she offers me a sample and it is deliriously good in a glorious sugar-laden way. It’s not the most healthy breakfast but definitely a breakfast of champions!

The Hardware Société is one of those places I will keep going back to again and again whenever I’m in Melbourne. Not only do they serve awesome breakfasts but their lunch menu also sounds amazing with an eclectic mix of Spanish and French cuisines. It’s not the easiest place to find but look for the yellow ‘cafe’ sign and you’ll be rewarded with a bright, cosy space with delicious food to boot!

The Hardware Société
120 Hardware Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Ph: +61 3 9078 5992
Open Monday to Friday, 7.30am – 3pm; Saturday, 8.30pm – 2pm

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13 thoughts on “The Hardware Société, Melbourne”

  1. Holybaloney that is some awesome breakfast place! Melbournians do know how to do breakfast. The chocolate ganache hot chocolate…. arroz con leche… fried brioche… ohmymymy!

  2. I REALLY wanted to go here over the Easter long-weekend, but when I rang them they said they were closed. Booooooo – I’m very sad as the food just looks amazing!

  3. I lovelovelove this place! Went there on my last trip to Melbourne in February. The fried brioche was served with tiny red wine poached pears and caramel, nice to know that they change it up regularly!

    Will definitely go back next time to try more of the menu, everything looks amazing!!

  4. That fried brioche is an incarnation of French toast I’ve yet to see elsewhere! I’m not a big fan of bananas myself, but can imagine that those combination of flavours would work wonderfully. Not to mention the expert care with which the banana slices have been arranged on top!

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