Last week speed-eater bf and I took a well-earned holiday to Melbourne to catch up with some Melbourne friends and to head to the AFL Grand Final. I was super excited about all the amazing food places, and had a little list of places I wanted to try. Hardware Societe was one of those. On Thursday we headed there for lunch. As we were still on Perth time (2 hours behind Melbourne) we arrived around 1:30-2ish in the afternoon. I was hoping that the later lunch time and being a weekday would mean that the cafe would not be too busy. However, we still did have to cue for about 15-20 minutes, which didn’t bother us as we were on HOLIDAYS. The only complaint with the cuing was Melbourne’s weather which in typical Melbourne style was sunny one minute, windy the next and the minute after it began raining. Lucky just as I was getting over the wait (I really dislike it when you cannot book at restaurants, for me it doesn’t matter how good the food is I really will not wait for longer than 30 minutes) we were called to be seated. I was a bit disappointed that after the wait we were seated at a communal table.
The menu included breakfast items as well as lunch items. I like it when both are on offer. I could not decide on what to order and speed-eater was laughing at me when I told him I was going to take a walk around the cafe and have a look at what others were eating. I’m glad I did as when I saw what the special looked like, it was decided. The special of the day was Crispy Skin Ocean Trout with Prawns and Mushrooms in a Broth ($21). I have always like the idea of a dish like this however hesitate in ordering it – I think because I worry that the Ocean Trout would be soggy. Well it wasn’t. The dish was beautifully presented, the ocean trout was cooked to perfection and the skin was crispy!! I really liked the mushroom and prawn broth as well, however my only complaint was that the broth was not hot enough. I spied the same dish at another table and their broth was steaming, so maybe just my dish (sad face).
Speed-eater bf ordered the Twice Cooked Pork Belly, which was served with a shallot and almond puree, mixed grain salad and apple and cider jus ($21). Now I don’t eat pork but even I could admire this dish. Speed-eater bf enjoyed the pork belly however was not sold on the mixed grain salad. He tends to dislike the ancient grains (whilst I love them, so its a slight problematic situation at dinner times when I cook).
We both ordered a take-away coffee to go however it was a laughable exercise as we walked up the street. My coffee order is a soy flat white whilst speed-eater is the sweetie-tooth and his coffee of choice is a flat white with one sugar. However, when I tasted mine, I commented to speed-eater that it was sweet, whilst he believed his wasn’t. So we swapped coffees, thinking maybe they had been mislabeled. Speed-eater couldn’t taste the difference (he obviously really doesn’t need sugar) however as soon as I took a sip of his I could taste sugar. I HATE sugar in my coffee. So I think in fact they didn’t mix our coffees up, rather the type of coffee they use is slightly sweeter than we are used to.
I was very satisfied with my lunch at Hardware Societe. The prices were reasonable, I would even say cheap (in comparison to Perth!) for the quality and portions we were served. Pity we weren’t in Melbourne longer I would have enjoyed visiting here again.