When seeking recommendations on where to go for breakfast in Melbourne, one name appeared consistently at the top of many lists – The Hardware Société. I’d read stories about people waiting for up to two hours to get a table, so we weren’t sure whether we’d actually get in but decided to give it a go, and braved the cold early on Sunday morning to arrive right at the opening time of 8:30.

A stream of people were already heading in but we arrived just in time, and even managed to get a spot inside! We were shown to a communal table, which wasn’t something we’d normally do but in this case we were  just thankful to get a seat. And then it started to get really busy…

The coffee was excellent, as you’d expect – the little doughnut on the side was an unexpected delight.

The menu was simply amazing with so much to choose from, from sweet concoctions to eggs cooked in ways & combinations that you would never imagine. The menu doesn’t give the whole game away, either – I wasn’t expecting to receive a jamon, fig & manchego cheese baguette alongside my scrambled eggs with chorizo & peas, but I sure as hell wasn’t complaining.

I would go as far to say that this was the best breakfast dish I have ever eaten, and there were many more on the menu I’d love to have tried.

Renay chose the fried eggs with bacon (lovely, thick bacon!), caramelised onions and polenta. That egg is ready to blow…

These baked eggs were being enjoyed by another customer. Two specials were available on the day – the first was brioche French toast with raspberry coulis and meringue, which was ordered by a young boy on our table and looked so good that I had to stop myself from hijacking his plate – I very nearly ordered this myself for breakfast-dessert. The other special of the day was pork & leek sausages, truffled polenta, poached eggs & a mushroom ragout.

Thinking back, I don’t know how I chose what to order or even how I made it out of there. I wish I’d taken a photo of the menu so I could imagine the other items I didn’t get to try. It was THAT good.

Plenty of customers happy to sit outside on a crisp Melbourne winter’s morning.

Like many of Melbourne’s most popular cafes, The Hardware Société is situated halfway down an unassuming lane in the CBD – and by 9am, this queue had already formed outside. We were both in awe of our experience there – the food was nothing short of outstanding, and I really wish I’d had the opportunity to sample more dishes. I can’t even begin to imagine how good lunch is.

I guess I don’t have to go out for breakfast any more, because I’ve had the best there is. Damn.