Fresh yellow and white interior is more than uplifting and the canary yellow coffee machine and tea cups hanging on the back wall makes for a casual and perky atmosphere. I love the low hanging industrial lights that have been detailed with floral and the case of random produce for sale. Small tables placed along the wall with a large round communal table and seating at the bar invites for new friendships.
The menu shouts restaurant value but at cafe prices, with a lunch selection of pork belly, ox tail, lamb shanks and more. Truly a winter inspired menu all of which are hearty and desired during these cold months.
I as always am tempted with Pork belly of which was finished with a prawn and rocket salad with a baked apple which bought a spin onto the usual apple sauce that you get with roasted pork. The meat just fell apart and was mouth watering and had succulent sweetness. With the hint of prawn allowed another depth of flavour and as it was mixed with the rocket leaves it made a great combination of flavours. The baked whole apple on the side was lovely but perhaps could have added too much sweetness to the dish. Crackling oh how I love the, was perfectly salted and reasonably crispy, some areas were a bit chewy but still rather enjoyable.
A friend of mine tried the ox tail sausage of which I got to sample. This too was a magnificent dish full flavoured and rich. Everything just melted away and with the accompaniment of mushrooms this hearty dish truly hit the spot.
The coffee was nice, held good colour in the crema and mellow toning. served at perfect temperature too. I love the style of cups and the variations in colours which makes it uplifting. I fell in love with their hot chocolates though. A dash of rich chocolate and a dollop of cream served in a cup and on the side some hot chocolate milk. Different from any other serving hot chocolates and allows this to be their own style and uniqueness. It does get rich though the longer you leave it melting of course so if you don't like it too intense don't allow that chocolate to melt all the way.
I tend to question though the change of food style when it came to desserts. From having restaurant quality meals then changing it to country home style tea cakes. For me it fits with the venue itself but not with the menu. A peanut apple crumble was what caught my eye, served warm and with a dollop of cream and some stewed rhubarb was lovely. Hard to get through the large serving myself, these tea cakes are ideal to share.
Service was a little shy of attentiveness, and although I understand they were busy I felt that once the lunch rush had finished so had the service. Having to call the waiter over to order the dessert, the comment was you need to choose from the cabinet, although we had already done. Beside us was only 1 other filled table so I'm not too sure how we had to call for someone. The other question is to why plates were removed and additional beverages or even letting us know of the cake display was available. Mind you when there was service at the beginning of our dining experience it was bubbly and informative with letting us know the daily specials and explaining the lamb shanks.
Perhaps I'd venture here again when the CBD calls me for a wonder down hardware lane, but I feel that there are some other cafes that could impress me more from my experience. They still have beautiful food and capturing natural flavours through great produce, and its light interior does make you feel warm and welcome, but for me this has not won me over to rush their again.
The Hardware Societe
118 - 120 Hardware St,
9078 - 5992