As soon as I have booked a holiday- and, perhaps, even before- I begin to trawl through blogs, google searches and social media to try and find some hidden gems for eating and drinking. My trip to Melbourne was no exception to this. I have had a list on my phone for weeks of cafes, bakeries, coffee shops, fancy restaurants, hawker centres and street vendors. The only problem was I only had 3 full days… how do you eat EVERYWHERE in 3 days?! Sadly, the answer is you don’t, well unless you have a very big wallet and a never-ending stomach. Although my list was as long as my arm, I did manage to tick off quite a few places, and I am saving the rest for my next trip with my Mum.
I won’t go into all the boring details, tracing my exact steps over the past few days, but I will share with you some great places I found- including one very special brunch café called Hardware Societe.
On Thursday morning, our attempt to grab a cup of coffee and some toast seemed to be slightly thwarted, with all of the cafes on my list being full to the brim with people in smart suits, carrying fancy briefcases and wearing designer shoes. However, despite the first few cafes being chocka block, including Patricia coffee shop- renowned for amazing coffee- I remembered somewhere we had walked past only a couple of days before.
I had read about the Hardware Societe online and only found it by chance on our street art tour. There was a queue out the door and a huge rooster with a sign saying, “Please wait to be seated”. Both of these factors caught my eye as you can imagine, so when we found ourselves wandering round, getting slightly hangry, I thought it would be a good place to try next- and it was.
We were lucky to get a table as it was full to the brim, and although we sat on a big shared table we had loads of room. The staff were immediately lovely and accommodating and I felt so comfortable. The space was decked out with funky lighting, butterfly wallpaper and bold colours, it was eye catching yet also very homely. I really felt excited to be there, which only flourished when I read through the menu.
The first page included an Anthony Bourdain quote, which, once again, only made my excitement grow. We ordered a selection of coffees, including an oat milk latte for myself. The waitress was very knowledgable about dietary intolerances and showed me the info about gluten free options- of which there were many, with only a $1 for GF bread.
I am SO pleased there was gluten free bread because the table was decked out with a jam tree. This is as good as it sounds! The jam tree consisted of a variety of Bon Mamam jams, including cherry, strawberry, raspberry, rhubarb, apricot and finally… caramel. A jar of pure caramel. Needless to say my healthy eating went out the window for brunch.
The only problem I had was deciding what to choose. There was a wide selection of breads, porridge, muesli, veggie dishes, meat dishes, fish dishes… I could go on! I opted for chorizo baked eggs with GF toast. Not only did everything look and smell amazing, it also came out very quick, which was a huge plus point at this point of the morning. I can’t actually explain in words how great the eggs were. The yolks were perfectly runny, with chorizo, potato, peppers, a crispy cheese top and aioli, finished off with delicious toasted almonds. A M A Z I N G!
Everyone else ordered a selection of breads and Soph got salmon baked eggs, which looked just as good as mine!
The price for this breakfast was also extremely reasonable, I would have even paid more! With all of this in mind we returned again for our breakfast this morning before we headed off to the airport. This time I opted for the GF toast, so I could try all of the jams, my favourites were rhubarb and raspberry. Somehow, I even managed to avoid the caramel (only because there was none on our table).
I’ve blabbed on a bit now about this amazing café, so you get the gist… it was brilliant. I really recommend giving it a visit, if only just for a coffee. Its right in the CBD and close to the shops, a perfect pre-shopping fuel!
I did go to a few other places whilst I was in Melbourne too, below is a little list!
- Operator 25- CBD
Great breakfast and coffee with GF options. Amazing building that was the first telephone exchange building in Melbourne- full of character.
- Long Story Short- Brunswick
Delicious breakfast choices, smoothies and coffees. Bright and airy with lovely staff.
- Mollies Bar & Diner- East Melbourne
Big portions, reasonable drink prices, very fun drag bingo on a Wednesday! Cool outdoor area too.
- Kilda Pier Kiosk- St. Kilda
Great selection of soft drinks and some fun frozen alcohol slushies! Amazing views at the end of the pier, lovely staff.
- La Di Da- CBD
Good for drinks before dinner or before a night out. Really funky location and décor.
- Transit Bar- CBD
Great happy hour from 5-6pm, $5 base spirits, draft beer and house wine. Perfect for watching the sunset, heated outdoor area too.
- Storyville- CBD
Alice in Wonderland themed bar with dry ice cocktails and colour changing drinks. Cool music and décor but slightly $$ for drinks!