Cafe love may be predominantly about the menu, but it begins with decor and vibe, then considers the service before the food even has a chance to seal the deal.
The Hardware Societe in Melbourne's CBD is immediately satisfactory with an unassuming yet enticing entrace lined with mini pots of greenery and marked with a small yellow 'cafe' sign. The birdcage sticker on the front window has my heart singing before I cross the threshold into the warm hum of this teeny city space.
The buzz continues as my attention is pulled from one pleasing feature to another. Exposed yellow cords crisscross the ceiling to dangle bare light bulbs in front of the wall of black and charcoal damask wallpaper.
Before I can feast on every other detail, a waiter is by my side to find me a table and make me at home. Water comes quickly and automatically. Coffee delights and also comes quickly.
Although homely, there is a fresh and professional vibe here. The professionalism oozes from the staff without pretension and the freshness comes from the light created by the big windows and the furniture. Lots of light, raw wood and white furniture (replica Eames DSW chairs and Eero Saarinen tulip tables). Note the wood on the large communal table and the rickety ladder displaying magazines. Delightlful.
The subtle splashes of yellow in the stools, the light cords and the coat hooks (or was that wall art?) create interest, as do the little French words and touches throughout. This is my kind of place. I only wish I could come here everyday. Don't be surprised if I tell you in a few months that I've modelled my dining room on this little gem. It's cafe love and I haven't even tried one of the macaroons that almost glow on the counter! Do you allow yourself to be swayed by looks when it comes to love of the cafe variety?
The Hardware Societe
120 Hardware Street, Melbourne 3000
Phone: 03 9078 5992