Restaurant News

After ten years, Hardware Société moves into a bigger, brighter space

Expect oysters for breakfast and exciting snacks on Friday nights.

By Audrey Bourget
Inside the new Hardware Société
Hardware Société doesn't do just eggs on toast – as it's clearly stated in big neon letters on the wall of their new venue, located on the fringe of Melbourne's CBD.
"People think they can come in and ask for poached eggs and a side of this and that. The menu is not designed that way," says co-owner Will Keser. "Our chefs have created the dishes how they're supposed to be [eaten]. You wouldn't go out to dinner and build your own meal."
Despite its strict ordering ethos, Hardware Société doesn't deter many people. It's thrived since opening at its original location in Hardware Street in 2009, serving up an inventive menu of French bistro classics such as cassoulet and boudin blanc, but for brunch.
(L to R) Hardware Société's chef Carala Eyles, co-owner Will Keser, general manager Aaron Taylor and co-owner Di Keser. (Photo: Peter Tarasiuk)
However the popularity of the cafe has seen it outgrow its Hardware Street location. "It was too small and didn't provide us with the growth we needed for our next 10 years," says co-owner Di Keser.
The original site has been closed since February. Although a second, smaller Hardware Société on Hardware Street is still open for business, the Kesers had their sights set on bigger things.
"We wanted something that was more contemporary," says Di. "Hardware has always been very kitsch and cute, but we wanted something more Danish-inspired, a lot brighter and lighter."
The bar seating at Hardware Société. (Photo: Peter Tarasiuk)
And bigger and brighter the new flagship venue is. The CBD space features a playful salmon pink and forest green colour scheme, and it seats 110 diners.
The kitchen, too, is four times larger than the original. The result is a more expansive and creative menu. The signature chorizo-baked eggs and rice pudding remain, but are now complemented by fresh and exciting dishes such as mushroom duxelle millefeuille (sautéed mushrooms sandwiched between puff pastry) with beef tartare and silky 64-degree eggs; and toast soldiers with duck rillettes, potato tortilla and prawn gribiche.
Mushroom duxelle and horseradish aioli millefeuille with beef tartare and 64-degree eggs (Photo: Peter Tarasiuk)
For those who like to live dangerously, order the oyster and sparkling wine combo – that's your champion's breakfast of one oyster with a shot of virgin Bloody Mary, grapefruit-gin granita, or shallot vinaigrette, and a prosecco cocktail.
Hardware Société is also open on Friday nights for after-work drinks and snacks. Think jamón and Manchego croquettes, tomato tartare with stracciatella, and lobster and prawn brioche. For drinks, the cafe is keeping its casual with cocktails, six wines and a mandarin house spritz on tap.
We can raise a glass to that. Cheers to another decade of Hardware Société.
Hardware Société, 10 Katherine Pl, Melbourne. Open daily 7.30am–3pm, Friday 5pm–late. hardwaresociete.com
The original Hardware Société at 120 Hardware Street has closed, but the small sister venue at 123 Hardware Street remains open.
Lobster Benedict on black bun (Photo: Peter Tarasiuk)