Our trip to Melbourne in March this year followed a format familiar to many Perthies – the red-eye flight over on a Friday evening followed by a weekend of eating, shopping and catching up with old friends before jetting back home to work.
The worst thing about the red-eye flight is arriving at a ridiculous hour of the morning and being too cheap to pay for the extra night of accommodation. We dropped our suitcases off at the hotel and camped out in the dining room, leeching wifi and figuring out our best option for breakfast. The one breakfast joint I’d seen recommended again and again was the Hardware Société, a tiny but bustling cafe down the end of Hardware Lane in Melbourne’s CBD. After walking past an array of cafes and feeling certain Google Maps was lying to us, we arrived not long after opening.
Those tables did not remain empty for long – less than an hour after opening a line of hungry breakfasters started to form in the otherwise quiet laneway. I hate lining up for restaurants, but these people clearly felt that the place was worth it. The outdoor seating was a bit chilly and the view a bit odd, but the quirky decor and multitude of attractive hipster waitstaff, not to mention the food, made up for it. Being early birds we were speedily rewarded with the coffees I had been dreaming about since stepping off the plane at 5:30am.
I can usually guess what The Boy will order – if there’s something slow cooked, pork belly, chorizo or ‘famous’ on the menu, he’ll have a hard time going past it. This baked eggs and chorizo dish was no exception. It was warming and elegantly spiced, perfect for the crisp autumn weather.
I ordered the poached eggs with croquettes and slab of bacon – and when they say ‘slab’ they really mean it. My dish was the object of much food envy, though giant as it was I ended up giving half of it to The Boy anyway. I’ve seen croquettes on menus more often lately, which I approve – these were creamy and full of cheesy goodness. I also appreciated the generous three pieces of sourdough, even though I wasn’t able to finish it all.
I like to start my breakfast with a coffee and end with a pot of tea – I was amused to see the eclectic little mismatched set come out, complete with a cosy to keep the pot warm.
I really enjoyed our first meal of our trip at Hardware SociÃ©tÃ© – it feels quintessentially “Melbourne” and lives up to the food hype. I’m not sure I’d wait half an hour in the drizzle to get a seat, but clearly others see it differently. My advice is to get in around opening and feel superior sipping your latte whilst the crowd grows outside. I’m certain this will become a post-red-eye flight breakfast tradition.