Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hardware Societe, Melbourne CBD by Snooze


After an unfortunate visit we had to return and I'm happy to report the little niggle of our first visit didn't recur. The service, of course, at Hardware Society is always good and this time the food did it justice.

Big Fil opted for the paella, an especial favourite of his: hot, tasty and plenty of seafood.

For me, I tried the chicken with rice. Exactly my sort of thing, a winter warmer slow cooked until the meat was falling off the bone.


Hardware Societe is a popular café only a few minutes from Melbourne Central in the city. The décor is a really fresh and funky yellow/red and black modern look, which I love. The service is fast, polite and amongst the best I've experienced ... our waitress knew the menu well and our forgotten hot chocolate appeared barely minutes after a reminder. But the food, while well presented and appetizing, isn't quite as good as the ambience and service. I'm hoping it was just a bad day.

My Moroccan lamb with pine nuts and carrots on a bed of cous cous was tasty, but I like my carrots not quite as well cooked and the cous cous was cold when it arrived.

The chicken and vegetable empanada was tasty but the pastry a little over cooked.

Suzie Q's mushroom and pine nut tart was the pick of the mains ... good looking and tasty. It disappeared pretty quickly and there was none left over.

The desserts were scrumptious.

My baked cheesecake was creamy and smooth and served with a berries and a smidge of cream. It was a shame I was so full from the lamb that I couldn't do it justice ... which Big Fil did. Nothing left to say.

Suzie Q again chose the stand out and probably the stand out of the lunch ... a lemon syrup cake. The cake itself was slightly dense and light, and the syrup a little too sweet but beautifully tart.

Hardware Societe also offers the best hot chocolate I've had ... a large jug of milk hot chocolate to add to bitter chocolate in a mug. I haven't had it like that before ... and I ended up with a rich, bitter hot chocolate.

The décor is totally funky (I love the wallpaper) and the café is seriously popular; arrive as early as you can because the cafe doesn't take bookings and people are lining up outside by 12.30. My only suggestion would be that the timing for the hot food needs to be worked on to ensure the food (which is otherwise good) is served at its optimum. I'm planning to visit again in a couple of weeks and I'll update the review to let you know how we go.

Ambience - 9
Service - 8
Food - 7
Price - 6.5

120 Hardware Street
Ph: 03 9078 5992

Hardware Societe on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Hi, I am your waitress and one of the owners at The Hardware Societe. I just wanted to provide you with some feedback on your very nice blog regarding your meal.
Firstly, the day you visited our head chef was off with pneomonia, and was away for some two weeks, which as you can imagine placed some incredible pressure on all our staff to keep up our usuaully amazing food. As for your lamb and cous cous dish, the carrots are cooked in with the lamb to maintain optimum flavour, and the cous cous was at room temperature, not fridge cold, which is exceptionally common when serving a hot wet dish with cous cous, both here and in Spain and Morocco. Yes, I agree the empanadas was slightly overdone, but it was not burnt and would not have tasted so either.
I do however disagree with your rating of our pricing, as we make all of our food on site, pastrys, sweets the works. And I do not think you can get better value for money for lunch in the city. I hope we have the opportunity to serve you again and meet your expectation. Best, Di

Snooze said...

Just a quick response re pricing. The pricing reflects our experience on the day, including food, service and overall 'feel'.

As you mentioned the food may not have been up to what you normally try to provide. Given this we felt the ratings were fair. If we had gone on another day when the cafe was not experiencing the problems you outlined we may well have rated it higher on price. As it was we still enjoyed our visit and plan to return.


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