What would a Melbourne Brunch series be without a feature on Hardware Societe? Hardware Societe is a Melbourne institution. It features at the top of every ‘best brunch in Melbourne’ list, it’s at the top of the Urbanspoon best places to eat in Melbourne and no matter what time of the day you go you have to expect to line up.
It’s this line that has previously deterred me from going to Hardware Societe. Everytime my friends and I decide to go we always see the line and shuffle off down the street to some other brunch place.
While I am happy to wait in lines for dinner or for lunch, given that brunch is my first meal of the day and it’s usually around 11am and I haven’t even eaten the sight of that line is enough to have me seeking food elsewhere.
However the other day I was adamant I was going, and lucky enough we waited less than 5 minutes for a table. This was definitely more luck than time of the day because after we were seated 6 groups of people all arrived at the same time and they had a pretty long wait ahead of them.
I’d go as far to say that Hardware Societe isn’t typical brunch fare. It doesn’t have the classic Melbourne brunch dishes like smashed avocado or eggs benedict. The European influence can be heavily seen in both the menu and the decor.
I’m not going to lie, just because this place has spectacular reviews doesn’t mean I wasn’t disappointed in the menu items. I’m a savoury brunch type of person- so the idea of pancakes, brioche and rice pudding didn’t excite me.
My favourite thing about brunch is poached eggs and I wasn’t very happy when I realised there was no poached egg to be found on the menu. However we went during the week and I’ve been told by friends that there are more savoury options on the weekend brunch menu.
I decided that perhaps it was time to step outside of my comfort zone and decided to order the sweet board-a dish I would usually stir well clear of. The sweet board is a tasting plate of three sweet dishes- the fried brioche with caramel, the vanilla rice pudding with strawberries and raspberries, and the caramel custard/creme.
It arrived perfectly presented. I couldn’t get over just how cute it looked! And it also looked really tasty. The food was awesome!
The brioche was really tasty and the sauce on top was a very good addition.
The rice pudding was probably my favourite dish and not at all what I have come to expect of rice pudding. It was perfectly smooth and creamy, no granulated rice or chunky rice bits to be found! Paired with the dried raspberries and the strawberries it basically melted in my mouth.
The caramel seemed a bit odd sitting on top of your standard Arnot’s tea biscuit (I thought this was very strange for a top Melbourne restaurant) but tasted good, although it became sickly sweet after a few mouthfuls.
The sweet board left me feeling one thing- ill. All that sugar went straight to my head and it’s probably the first time I haven’t been able to finish a brunch meal. A gentle reminder of why I usually don’t like sweet things for breakfast/brunch. My stomach absolutely hated me after this meal- it was not impressed with all that sweetness.
There is no doubting that the food served up at Hardware Societe is good. It’s very well prepared, and very tasty. However unlike some of the other brunch places I don’t think I will be too keen to come running back anytime soon.
This is for one reason- the menu. If I venture to this place again maybe I should try something more savoury. Admittedly there are some good looking savoury dishes on the menu if you like scrabbled eggs, baked eggs with pumpkin, mushrooms on toast, or eggs with pork belly none of which really took my fancy.
Maybe I’m just not European enough!