|Brighter then your average industrial fitout|
This place is so wonderful, that I'm actually happy to overlook it's one fatal shortcoming: They don't serve all day breakfasts. Terrible, I know. But there's so much to love about Hardware Societe, that it hardly matters. I turned up at 11.30 on a weekday, hoping to partake in the delicious breakfast treats I'd had once before... Only to be told that breakfast service finished at 11.30, and that lunch didn't begin till 12. The waiter must have seen the pure disappointment on my face, as he bounded over to the kitchen to see if they could extend breakfast a smidgeon. No such luck. But after one glance at the lunch menu, it didn't even matter.
|Spanish-Style Rice Pudding|
Hardware is one of the most blogged about cafes of the moment, and it deserves the attention. Its meets all the criterion, and then some! Laneway: check. Funky, friendly staff: Check. Welcoming yet industrial style fitout: Check. Not enough seats to satisfy demand: Check. Droolworthy Menus that live up to the descriptions: Check, check and Double check!
|Coddled Eggs, Mushrooms and Gruyere on Gluten free. mmmm|
The food at THS, as its affectionately known, is spectacular. Delicious, interesting, perfect flavours and well priced. the breakfasts are wonderful. They don't have a hugely extensive menu, but you will still struggle to make your choice! Coddled eggs, omlette, or spanish style rice pudding, you won't be disappointed with whatever you choose. The flavours are well balanced, and the combinations interesting without being too avant garde. The menu changes regularly, so something like the mushrooms and gruyere with coddled eggs (pictured) is no longer on the menu, but I can guarantee it's been replaced with something just as good. The lunch menu is just as great. I had some of the best cooked, best priced duck I've ever had at a restaurant. I was lucky enough to be sitting opposite the chef, who handed over my plate directly and was happy to chat with me about it. I'm going to go back to chat to him, as he requested, after I've had a chance to re-create his lovely rice pilaf.
|Confit Duck on Rice Pilaf|
You may have noticed one omission from this entry so far: Any mention of the coffee. In my mind, this is where THS still has room for improvement. Don't get me wrong, they make a lovely coffee, with passion and skill (and lactose free milk!) but sadly, with a coffee company that I'm not enamoured with. I'm not into the naming and shaming, and this coffee brand can be found at many otherwise excellent cafes, but it just doesn't do it for me. Have the Iced chocolate instead. It's delicious!
On the allergy front, THS has gluten free bread (just county life by my guess) and gluten free options for nearly everything on the menu. They also have lactose free milk as an alternative alongside soy milk, which I for one am grateful for!
So go, and enjoy, and see some of the best of what's on offer in Melbourne at the moment,