Monday, 27 August 2012

The Hardware Sociéte - Don't Judge A Book By It's Cover

What a bizarre weekend. I do not think that I drank enough wine or if you follow my Twitter feed (@epicurean3006) that I nearly drank enough XXXX Bitter. Tonight Q&A is being broadcast live from Federation Square and I am looking forward to attending. It will be like living in Sydney again and since it is politician free this evening, it should be very interesting with the likes of Germaine Greer in attendance.

I originally set out to dine at Manchester Press but found The Hardware Sociéte instead. I do not blame it on the fact that I did not know where I was going since I was armed not only with my trusty Samsung Galaxy S2 and Google Maps, but because I am a man and I never get lost. Perhaps I should ask Germaine Greer's opinion on that statement.

What I originally thought was going to turn out to be on the scale of The European, but just closer to Southbank, turned out to be quite an interesting café on Hardware Street. I was looking forward to something rich, French and bold, like Brigitte Bardot. However what I found was a laneway café with a queue and a highly visible sign that says that they only accept cash. Knowing that there was a wait, I played Marco Polo until I found an ATM. I never carry cash as I just spend it so this relationship was already starting on a sour note.

The Hardware Society, Hardware Street, Melbourne
The entrance to The Hardware Sociéte
I returned to The Hardware Sociéte and the hostess was shouting my name down the laneway. It was perfect timing as I was coming back with a fistful of sweaty bank notes and I was quite hungry. The table was ready.

We were seated at a communal table. I felt like poor little possessed Regan in The Exorcist when Father Karras first visited her. I really do not like waiting, not being able to pay with a credit card or communal tables for that matter. Trying to keep an open mind, I found the atmosphere to be very energetic as we were seated at a rather round classic French white table where there was enough room so you are not left to intrude into the lives of others, so it was not a big deal in the end.

There was no wine list per se, but a drinks list. I really, and I mean REALLY, wanted some wine, however settled for a Kronenbourg mainly because it was so inexpensive. The peppy server informed us of the two specials, being seared tuna on a bed of potato salad, beans and poached eggs and also a brioche. Having not eaten anything substantial for about a day, I decided to order both.

I was very impressed with the tuna special. The complimentary tastes, the slightly seared tuna, the colours and the presentation just really floored me as I was not expecting something so good. I really do not order many "desserts" since I am trying to keep my boyish figure from the bygone era of Hanson, but when I first saw and then tasted the brioche with strawberry jam and fresh cherries, my reaction was pure and utter blasphemy, just like how little Regan reacted to Father Karras. Unbelievably good and I was vocal about it. Stuff gluttony! I just wanted more and I don't mean just another cheap Kronenbourg.

The service was very attentive and articulate. The "vibe" was pretty good and it seems like a fair amount of locals dine here. Given that the food is excellent, I thought it was great value for money and I will certainly be returning with another sweaty hand full of cash. Despite the fact that they do not take credit cards and you will most likely have to queue, the rewards are worth the inconvenience.

The Hardware Societe, Melbourne

The Hardware Societe
Link to review
120 Hardware Street  Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9078 5992
www.twitter.com/hardwaresociete
My Rating: 13.5/20
Service: 3/5
Ambiance: 3.5/5
Quality: 4/5
Value For Money: 3/5
Comment: They don't accept credit cards

Twitter: @epicurean3006
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com
web: http://www.epicureanofsouthbank.com

When I posted this, 90% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon also liked The Hardware Sociéte. I will never wonder why.

The Hardware Sociéte on Urbanspoon