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Join the societe.

Every time I am in Melbourne, the one thing I look forward the most is definitely breakfast. Sipping coffee at the petite laneway cafes in Melbourne is one of my favourite past times. There’s no exception during my recent trip with Peter and we found ourselves in Hardware Lane, with some of the best restaurants and cafes dotted along the lane that runs for several blocks from Bourke Street, all the way to the Lonsdale Street end. This morning, we are heading to the upper north end to check out The Hardware Société, a well loved cafe in the area.

The shoebox-sized space gives Hardware Societe a cosy and intimate setting with only a few tables including a big rustic communal table takes the center stage where we plonk ourselves down and join the other early-birds. It is a wet morning, many commuters are taking shelter inside the cafe having breakfast, or queuing up for the coffees on their way to work.

Whilst the breakfast menu is short but no fuss, the counter is also filled with puff pastries, danishes, cakes and canelé for those who like to indulge on a buttery morning start.

I have the urge of ordering breakfast tea simply because of the tea pot comes wearing a quirky tea cosy, but my morning dose of caffeine is calling. The flat white coffee I ordered is smooth and robust, comes with a little marble of sugared-cinnamon doughnut that is charmingly cute that puts a smile on my face at first bite.

Peter orders the baked eggs that comes in a little red casserole dish with lid on, sits on a wooden board along side with three slices of crispy white bread, drizzled with garlic and herb olive oil. Upon lifting up the lid to reveal two half baked eggs are still bubbling away inside the dish with the juice from the roasted tomatoes and melted brie, the smell of basil from the salsa verde simply makes you want to dig in immediately.

Peter dips the toast into the dish, and instantly it is coated in a puddle of runny egg yolks. It is a sign of approval when he let out a deep mellow groan with his first bite.

Hardware Societe takes a fancy twist to the English classic eggs and soldiers. The eggs are coddled in shot glasses with a light sprinkle of ground pepper on top. It kind of reminds me of soft boiled eggs I grew up with, slippery smooth and comforting but only if I could add a dash of soy sauce to go with it.

The soldiers are obviously not for dipping. Three thick sourdough baguette slices are topped with romesco verde and confit tomato, trout ceviche and duck rillette. It is actually quite a substantial breakfast than it looks. I particularly enjoy the confit tomato, it is a burst of umami on each bite, sometimes I do enjoy the simplest in life.

We love Hardware Societe on our first visit, but definitely won’t be the last. I already have my eye on the black pudding on the menu.

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The Hardware Societe
120 Hardware St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
P: (03) 9078 5992

Opening hours:
Mon - Fri 7.30am - 3pm
Sat - 8.30am - 2pm