Melbourne was not what I expected. When Roxy and I visited over the Labour long weekend, I'll admit I was expecting a city the size of Sydney but with all the idiosyncrasies of Melbourne that I've heard of, but I was dead wrong: Melbourne is a completely different place in terms of atmosphere, architecture, and culture, and is much smaller.
During our stay, we walked all the main streets and most of the alleyways of Melbourne in an attempt to get to know this fair city. We also went searching for some iconic graffiti that Melbourne is so famous for.
I noticed the main theme of the streets of Melbourne is juxtaposition - there is often stark contrast between the old and the new, elegant and edgy, the barren and charming that completely works for this city. This also carries into many of the stores and restaurants here, and I found this true for the decor of Hardware Societe.
The restaurant was long and narrow and full of communal tables, but Roxy and I managed to snag a table to ourselves outside. Our waiter was very friendly and casual, which suited the vibe of the restaurant perfectly. We ordered, and in next to no time we had our food.
We started with a lovely pot of liquorice tea because Roxy was enamoured of the crocheted tea cosies. The tea had a lovely aniseed and mint flavour, and was quite strong. It came with a cute little cinnamon doughtnut on the side of the cup.
When the waiter brought out my dish I grinned in glee - the cutest little black casserole dish was sitting there, waiting for me to open it up and unveil its treasures. Inside nestled two baked eggs with gooey yolks, decadently juicy roasted tomatoes, creamy little chunks of brie, and a lovely herby sauce. Three crispy slices of white bread were drizzled in garlic and herb olive oil and served on the side.
Roxy's Bircher Muesli was served with pears poached in a vanilla and rosewater syrup, and served with soft, juicy raspberries and crunchy macadamia nuts.
I loved my experience at Hardware Societe - it's definitely going to be something I think about when I think 'Melbourne'. The tables were miniscule and it was hard to fit all of our food on at once, but the chairs were comfortable, the food excellent and the service impeccable.
120 Hardware St
Phone: 03 9078 5992