The Hardware Société: A Melbourne Cafe in Paris

2 March, 2020

Melbourne’s cafe landscape is vast, densely populated, and home to the best breakfast, brunch and coffee in the world, and no other café can claim more profound an impact on Melbourne’s café scene than that of The Hardware Société.

“We always said we would open a business by the time we were 30, decades before people spent millions of dollars on restaurant fit-outs"

Will and Di Keser met twenty-eight years ago and married three years after that. Will was a chef, Di was working as a manager within the field of architecture and design. Their common passions; food and travel. Di, “We always said we would open a business by the time we were 30, decades before people spent millions of dollars on restaurant fit-outs, and the stakes and pressures were so high. We opened Beetroot just shy

of my 30th birthday.” Beetroot took form on a small lot on Hardware Street, and in September 2009, three doors down at 120 Hardware Street, the couple opened the now iconic Melbourne café, The Hardware Société. Ten years on, and the Hardware Société opened a larger premises at Katherine Place, which does not represent an offering of any form of altered experience, more so an attempt to balance the severely skewed relationship between demand and supply. Regardless of locality, The Hardware Société mindset, seeded and sown by Will and Di, and vocalised by General Manager Aaron Taylor, is summarised by one enduring mantra, “No Eggs on Toast”. The slogan, when unpacked, defines an attitude towards brunch fare that suggests it is not just deserving, but demanding of equal innovation and effort in preparation as restaurant cuisine. Further, the slogan epitomises and underpins a catalytic attitude of the last decades’ café revolution in Melbourne, which is not at all a coincidence, as The Hardware Société was very much an igniter, pioneer and significant force behind the movement. The motto has since been textualised as the title of the Hardware Société’s very own recipe book, described by Di as “a beautiful book which chronicles the last decade.”

“distinctly Melbourne, first and foremost”

Di attributes the success of The Hardware Société brand, and accordingly her and Will’s success, to “consistency, innovation and passion”. The passion she speaks of, is, as eluded to earlier, that for “food and travel”, which were combined when the Hardware Société opened a third café, in the City of Love. Whilst the Hardware Société has always been welcoming of the influences of French and Spanish cuisine, its identity has, and always will be “distinctly Melbourne, first and foremost,” and grounded by a “Melbourne mindset”. The couple’s decision to open a quintessentially Melbourne eatery in the heart of Paris, a city with such a rich and established culture, was a confident one, later validated by the Parisian’s embracing of the café.

Operating three cafes across two hemispheres is no small feat, especially with the added complexities brought about by foreign language and bureaucratic process. The couple credit the strength of their team for overcoming the exhaustive barriers. Jesse Keane exercised the initial duties of the head chef in Paris, and now works as the Operations Managers, and in communication with the Melbourne based head chefs Carla Eyles and Adam Lai, they run menus of inverse seasonality across the two hemispheres. Regardless of continent, the foundational ethos is the same, “No Eggs on Toast”.

Will and Di recently took up residence in Barcelona, and have focused a lot of their entrepreneurial efforts into their hospitality and homewares concept store, made+more. When asked about what the future holds for the Hardware Société, the answer is firm and loaded with intend, “you can be assured that our next project will be Hardware Société Barcelona.”   

The Hardware Société

MON TO FRI : 730AM - 3PM

SAT & SUN: 8AM - 3PM

10 Katherine Place, Melbourne

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The Hardware Société

MON TO FRI : 730AM - 3PM

SAT & SUN: 8AM - 3PM

123 Hardware Street, Melbourne

Website

The Hardware Société

MON TO FRI : 9AM - 4PM

SAT & SUN: 930AM - 430PM

10 Rue Lamarck, Paris

Website

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