As it turned out, it was an excellent move to do this as I couldn't do my washing as my machine needed fixing (the seal in the door has a hole so it leaks) so I was a true lady of leisure. And what do ladies of leisure do, why they lunch of course!
I decided to head to Hardware Societe. I have actually been there once before for breakfast on a weekday when my friend Charis was visiting but I never blogged about the experience as I didn't take photos. Steve and I have tried to get in a few times but have always been put off by the crowds and queues outside. Given it was mid morning when I set off, I was hopeful I would get lucky.
The place was busy but no queue. They have expanded into the building next door since my previous visit so they can seat more people. I was shown to a communal table and was told that they'd finished breakfast and lunch was not due to start till 12:00 but I was welcome to have a drink and wait. This was 11:30am. I had my Kindle so I thought why not and enjoyed little pot of tea. I loved the tea cosy as it meant I could eke out my tea for the 30 minute wait and it stayed hot.
Whilst it was busy and the wait staff were somewhat frantic I didn't feel rushed. I enjoyed my little spot and even the stool wasn't too uncomfortable. It was like being in one of those scenes on TV where one person stays still and everything else whizzes past and round them on fast forward speed.
At just before midday one of the waitresses came to take my order and said they'd put it in the kitchen and the chefs would get round to it once lunch service started.
My plate of food didn't actually arrive until just before 12:30pm so although lunch service didn't start till midday, my tummy had been waiting for food since 11:30am!
When I think that it took 30 minutes for my dish to arrive and that my order was one of the first in I have to consider whether that wait was worth it.
The dish itself didn't sound French but when it arrived and I tasted it, I was transported to a Parisian bistro. The hunk of meat was still pink and moist - not a chargrilled or pan fried sirloin steak as I was expecting but roasted. The beef cheek rillettes was meaty and had a distinct citrus orange flavour to it and I liked this spike of flavour. I was surprised that the rillettes was obviously cold and I found the contrast in temperature between the meat and potato and the rillettes a little strange. The potato was like mash with a slight crisp crust; it had a sweetness to it so I wonder if a sweeter root vegetable had been added into the mash mixture.
It was an honest and flavoursome plate of food and at less than $20 represented good value. I'm not sure it warranted a 30 minute wait but I am grateful that at least during that wait I felt comfortable and could relax. This is not necessarily the place for a quick lunch and I wouldn't come on a workday as it would stress me out to be in and out in an hour. However on a lady of leisure day where time is abundant and it's all about relaxing and enjoying one's own company or the pleasure of someone else in the same position then it's ideal. I'm not sure why its Urbanspoon's number one pick based on just the quality of food but I can understand its popularity and I think the the price point and location has a lot to do with this.