Sunday, 1 May 2011

The Hardware Societe

120 Hardware St

Menu at The Hardware Societe
The food at Hardware Societe is like the perfect boyfriend. It’s wonderful, it cheers you up on a bad day, it’s good looking, and it’s just that little bit different. And seeing as we’re practically dating Hardware Societe anyway, Chris and I decided that it was the perfect spot for a special brunch date.

Cutlery/Pastries on the Counter/Table Setting

Ask anyone who has dined here, and they will tell you that there is no shortage of things to look at whilst you wait for your food. The interior is industrial chic, with floral wallpaper courting naked light bulbs dangling from the ceiling, and the grey-and-yellow colour scheme is sophisticated and charming all at once. Pastries and tarts are piled on top of the counter, with a tree of French Lollipops ($2 a pop, har-har) sitting behind them. Each table has condiments placed on a cute wooden paddle, complete with one of those adorable butter holding things. The cutlery they use here is gorgeously heavy, and the luxurious napkins are more fine-dining than casual brunch.

But what about the food? I was surprised I was able to decide what to order at all. We (or rather, me, as usual) spent a good 10 minutes agonising over what to order, trying to choose between the baguette, baked eggs, and the legendary French toast (which I had last time I was here, and still can’t stop raving about). In the end we went with the two savoury options, though if I could’ve ordered all three, I would have.

PWT Baguette - Roasted Pork Belly, Watercress, Tomato, Aioli Verde ($12)

We were initially a little disappointed that their fantastic BLT was taken off the menu, but when we saw the words roasted pork belly, everything was right with the world again.

Mmm Innards Shot

In fact, it was better than alright, it was downright delicious. It may not look like there’s much pork belly in the baguette, but it was crispy (like the bread, wonderfully so) and oh-so-rich, and we were grateful for the foil of watercress to cut through the richness. Chris gobbled this all up, even the tomato, which he usually hates so much, but he declared to be ‘pretty darn good’ in this case. 

Baked Eggs - Chorizo, Confit Tomato, Peas ($15)

My Baked Eggs (chorizo, confit tomato, peas, $15) came out on one of those wooden paddles that seem all the rage these days, and after laying it down in front of me, the waiter warned me that the little pot was extremely hot, and boy was he right – when he took the lid off, the eggs were still bubbling. 

Gotta have brunch, gotta have baked eggs

Unsurprisingly, this was once again fantastic. Olive oil was drizzled generously over 3 chewy sourdough soldiers, and like the baguette, left a fine dusting of flour over our upper lips. There was a surprising amount of food in that little pot, at least 3 eggs by my estimate. The chorizo provided bursts of meaty flavour, and the vegetables added colour and freshness. My only complaint is that whilst the eggs came out perfectly gooey, they continued to cook as we ate, and by the end, they were closer to hard boiled. A pretty minor complaint in the grand scheme of things though. There was also a vegetarian option, which I thought was a nice touch, and very thoughtful at that.

Macarons ($2.80 each)

We didn’t get to try the macarons ($2.80 each) but they had some pretty inventive flavours the day we visited; now if only I could remember them...

Regulars are greeted by name here at Hardware Societe, and the owners seem to genuinely like the customers, as opposed to just their money. The restaurant may have been busy when we arrived, but the whole team worked flawlessly to deliver attentive and rapid service. And despite the bustle, the owners seem to have time for a chat with each individual customer, which is rare but delightful. I don’t think I need to list the reasons why we, along with practically everyone who’s been here, love this place.

Rating: 16/20 – continues to delight

** Read about my first visit HERE **

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