Friday, November 12, 2010

BUNnings

The Hardware Societe
120 Hardware St
Melbourne


The Hardware Societe is a cosy cafe in the CBD offering rustic French and Spanish influenced creations. Bun and I rocked up at about 2:25pm, to discover that the kitchen is only open till 2:30pm. Thankfully though, the owners said we could still order, as long as we did so quickly.

I scanned the menu and chose the first thing that caught my eye - veal & rabbit terrine with cumin, carrot & orange relish and pickles. I had no idea what a terrine was, and was expecting some sort of meat stew dish. Then the waiter presented this in front of me.


terrine, lolwhat?!

Turns out a terrine is a french style mixture of lean meat emulsified with fat - similar to pâté. It reminded me of spam - that disgusting (delicious according to Bun) wobbly "meat" in a can. Terrine is served at room temperature, and this immediately had me thinking of the various forms of bacteria growing in the meat which lowered its appeal even more. The actual taste was not so bad. By itself the terrine was a bit bland and had the texture of canned tuna, but together with the sour pickles and sweet relish was much livelier. At this point I was jealously eyeing off Bun's delicious looking and smelling lamb dish.
I politely offered Bun a taste of my terrine, and he enjoyed it so immensely he decided he would eat it, and I could have what he ordered instead (rejoice!). Bun decided on the braised lamb with prunes, preserved lemon, pedro ximénez (a dessert wine) and israeli cous cous.



braised lamb


This dish was a little too sweet for my liking. But the lamb was cooked very well, super tender and oozing with meaty goodness. The Israeli cous cous was very different to any other cous cous I've tried. These had the look and texture of sago balls, with a distinctive nutty flavour.

To finish we couldn't resist trying the macarons on display above the counter. We unfortunately report that these were the worst macarons we've ever tasted. They don't even warrant a photo. Let's just say these 'macarons' did not present any of the qualities a good macaron should have - crunchy shell (fail), chewy inner (double fail).

Based on what I tried this time I probably would not come back. Bun says he would come back for the terrine (wtf).


The Hardware Societe on Urbanspoon

26 comments:

  1. I am Di Keser, one of the proud and hard working owners of The Hardware Societe. I have spent the last week mulling over my response to your recent blog- should I or shouldn’t I respond? Today I came to the conclusion that I should, because at The Hardware Societe we do a damn good a job and take too much pride in what we do to have such a terrible article out there for the whole world to read, so here it is.
    I am disappointed to have read your blog, but mostly embarrassed for you. The content of your blog is amateurish and makes a mockery of professional food bloggers, most of whom have wholeheartedly supported us, and for good reason. And no doubt all know what a terrine is.
    Firstly, for you to suggest that we keep our terrine at room temperature is inexcusable, and if you had opened your eyes and looked in the refrigerated display case, you would have seen it. The terrine had a subtle flavour (not bland as you suggest) as both rabbit and veal are not particularly strong meats, this was what we wanted to achieve when we developed the dish. To liken the terrine to spam and tinned tuna really does prove an uncultured palate.
    Similarly you were highly critical of our macarons, which I have to defend. There are at least a dozen food blogs out there commending our macarons, and to suggest they are not worthy of a picture is insulting.
    I appreciate that everyone has a right to their own opinion, and we do not profess to make every customer happy, but believe me we all try extremely hard. So your use of the term “WTF” on your blog when you had no idea what you ordered to begin with is highly offensive to me and all of the Hardware Societe team.
    I would welcome the opportunity to discuss your blog with you, so please feel free to call the cafe, should you wish.
    Warm regards

    ReplyDelete
  2. I saw @hardwaresociete tweet about this and felt compelled to comment. Di, what an incredibly unprofessional comment. Are you seriously trying to censor your customers? Is no one allowed to have a less-than-100%-positive opinion about your food?

    This is not the first time I've seen childish tweets coming from @hardwaresociete; clearly you don't understand how to use social media to positively promote your brand, as you are constantly displaying a complete lack of professionalism.

    As someone who goes to THS quite regularly, after seeing this I definitely won't be coming back.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear Di,

    Thank you for your comment.
    You are just as entitled to your opinion about our blog as we are to your cafe.

    'Blogging', by it's very nature is amateurish. So we'll take your comment about our blog being amateurish as a compliment. Thank you.

    We did not write this piece to offend you or your hard working team. We simply captured our experience at your establishment.

    Much love,
    the buns

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have to agree with @areyouserious, whilst the review and the knowledge of the reviewer are clearly amateurish and unsophisticated, you come off looking completely unprofessional and just sad really.

    99% of the people reading this blog will take all of what is said with a grain of salt and make their judgements accordingly, what you've done is come across as petty and unable to handle any kind of criticism.

    Stick to what you do best in the cafe, and stop trawling the internet for every mention of your name.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The review speaks for itself. It is clearly ill considered, and spectacularly uninformed. While some feel it does not warrant a response, I can certainly understand the frustration involved in having someone publicly and in writing casually call into question your food safety, without any basis in fact. It verges on being defamatory.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Step one: Learn about food and drink
    Step two: Write about it with some knowledge to back it up.

    ReplyDelete
  7. @Steps
    Has it ever occurred to you that these guys write for fun/to entertain?
    You clearly take the internet, and blogging, way too seriously and therefore fail at both.
    Your comments would only apply if this were a professionally published food book or website.
    I, for one, find this blog very light hearted and entertaining.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Di's comment is professional and carefully considered, and should be seen as an excellent example of how businesses should monitor and respond to social media.

    @areyouserious evidently cannot read. Di is not trying to censor anyone; she is simply trying to manage what almost amounts to defamation with grace and dignity.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Fun and entertainment is one thing - but insinuating that a food business is going to poison you because of their food handling skills is another story.

    Have your fun, talk about your experience by all means; but if you have doubts about a businesses operations and you, by your own admission, have limited food knowledge, then ask before you make a assumption that could affect their reputation and livelihood.

    It's a slanderous comment. And unnecessary. The post didn't need to make mention at all.

    Curious - were you ill? Did you report them to the authorities? I bet not. If you actually felt unsafe, then that's what you should do.

    Rather than this attention seeking post.

    And although I ignored this post originally as I thought anyone with an ounce of good food experience would discount it as ill-informed option, I too can understand why the owners of the cafe would be incensed by your assumption.

    To say that the owner has no right of reply is ludicrous.
    I sure hope this is a spoof blog run by a disgruntled chef to make a point - because if this is the quality of the current crop of up-and-coming Melbourne food bloggers ? I'm very disappointed.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow. Really? Defamation? Slander?

    Perhaps it is time some of you "anonymous" commentators looked up these terms before using them so loosely.

    And perhaps you were too busy fuming over the post to have missed this part where we wrote "I politely offered Bun a taste of my terrine, and he enjoyed it so immensely he decided he would eat it..."

    We assure you we have no 'agenda' or ill will towards the established we blogged about here. It is what it is, a blog post about our time there.

    We have also acknowledged the owners right to reply wholeheartedly in an earlier reply.

    Much love,
    the buns

    ReplyDelete
  11. Pot, kettle, black. This whole blog is anonymous!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Let me comment Please! Please! Lets take a look at this.

    "I am Di Keser, one of the proud and hard working owners ........"

    Of course you can respond that should be your right. Remember you will probably increase the exposure of Bun and Bun's post greatly by talking about it, after all they don't have a very large readership, until today!

    "Today I came to the conclusion that I should, because at The Hardware Societe we do a damn good a job and take too much pride in what we do"

    Good on you, very subjective but of course you should think that. I'm thinking that perhaps you do "take too much pride" in what you do.

    "to have such a terrible article out there for the whole world to read, so here it is."

    Not such a terrible article, they both enjoyed each others dish, what's bad about that? Crap macarons is just their opinion, one mans meat is another mans poison. If the terrine tasted at room temp. to them it probably was when served. (Isn't that how terrine should be served? Doesn't it only have to be chilled when stored? Some excellent establishments will run a blow torch over them just before serving). If they considered the macarons un-photogenic, well so be it. After all they didn't know what a terrine was and they like their latte's hot.

    "I am disappointed to have read your blog, but mostly embarrassed for you. The content of your blog is amateurish and makes a mockery of professional food bloggers, most of whom have wholeheartedly supported us, and for good reason. And no doubt all know what a terrine is."

    As a potential customer I'm embarrassed for you. You come across as intolerant to any negative criticism. How does this mock professional food bloggers? If anything an amateurish blog only enhances the professional blogs. As an aside this isn't a "food blog" anyway, it's a review blog but that's a whole different subject.

    "Firstly, for you to suggest that we keep our terrine at room temperature is inexcusable, and if you had opened your eyes and looked in the refrigerated display case, you would have seen it. The terrine had a subtle flavour (not bland as you suggest) as both rabbit and veal are not particularly strong meats, this was what we wanted to achieve when we developed the dish. To liken the terrine to spam and tinned tuna really does prove an uncultured palate.

    Sticks and stones, grow up. If it tasted bland to Bun It tasted bland to Bun. simple. They have already admitted to having an uncultured palate. So a question to you Di: Should that stop them writing a blog about what they eat? Very elitist of you if you think so. (Yep I can be insulting as well).

    "Similarly you were highly critical of our macarons, which I have to defend. There are at least a dozen food blogs out there commending our macarons, and to suggest they are not worthy of a picture is insulting."

    (insult warning) Yes, but were they writing about the macarons that Bun & Bun where served or some that had been prepared earlier?

    "I appreciate that everyone has a right to their own opinion, and we do not profess to make every customer happy, but believe me we all try extremely hard. So your use of the term “WTF” on your blog when you had no idea what you ordered to begin with is highly offensive to me and all of the Hardware Societe team.
    I would welcome the opportunity to discuss your blog with you, so please feel free to call the cafe, should you wish."

    These last two paragraphs is all that you should have posted.

    You need to remember that the 12% of urbanspoon voters don't like you and negative postings tell you, in their opinion, what you are getting wrong. I suggest you should have just read and learned.

    And as for the anonymous commentators I wonder who you are? A disgruntled cafe owner, failed PR hack or "professional food blogger" perhaps.

    Kind regards and keep up the good work to all concerned.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Paalo – the choice to respond clearly reflects the owners confidence in their position. It is not the only non-positive review that exists about THS but it is the only one that the owners have chosen to respond to. Due, once again, to the nature of the post.

    I think it is arrogant of you to dictate how much pride a person can take in their work. It is not your place to do so, nor would it be mine to comment on yours.

    As a person who took the time to read and comprehend the article also, I am embarrassed for you. It is a mockery of professional food bloggers because the ‘review’ has not been researched or tactfully written whereas a professional blog would have done so. Again, it’s potential customers like you who make hospitality such an arduous and trying industry because you undervalue and misinterpret the concept of ‘food and coffee service’. You throw your opinions around with a sense of superiority but it is that superiority that perpetuates your ignorance about the industry and experiences to be had.

    I don’t think Di was implying that they should stop writing the blog, I think the implication was that they should have researched or been more attentive to what was actually occurring, as this failure has resulted in their ignorant statement.

    As a ‘potential customer’ perhaps you should reserve your opinion on the food until you have some.

    Once again, 12% of Urban Spoon have had their say and THS has chosen not to respond because from my reading, none of these blogs implied bacteria growing in meat which would indicate a violation of food handling and hygiene policies.

    People can choose to remain anonymous and really that has nothing to with their comments, and once again you have chosen to comment on something that has nothing to do with the original post.

    As a customer of THS I am impressed at their efforts to acknowledge inaccurate and misleading comments. At the end of the day I remain more secure in the fact that where I choose to spend my money on food and coffee every day actually care about what they do and the business they’ve built up. I could only hope that business owners every where could demonstrate such care.

    Thanks,
    Kate

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow. Di, you handled that poorly. PR fuckup on your behalf. You should be asking your staff why they served room temperature meat and crunchy macaroons instead of letting your pride cloud the fact you may have served substandard food. Next time close the kitchen at 2:25 if the food is on its way out, not try and snatch those extra dollars.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi above,

    For future reference, terrine is French forcemeat loaf served at room temperature. In fact, The Hardware Societe choose to serve it below room temperature. Also, to quote the original article 'let's just say these 'macarons' did not present any of the qualities a good macaron should have - crunchy shell (fail), chewy inner (double fail)'.

    You have actually repeated the mistake Di was attempting to rectify in her dignified response.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Dear Kate(comment Two),

    Wow, So sorry.

    Let me try and explain my self. This may require careful reading so slow down everybody, apparently I only have 4096 characters.

    The reference to "pride" was my pedantry showing through, I think what Di was trying to say was that THS take a lot of pride in what they do, obviously "taking too much pride" is just that, "too much pride". This pedant-ism is a cross I bare, I for example was mortified to see a "where" sneak through were there should have been a "were" in my post.

    Am I arrogant? Probably, but I'm also tolerant. When It come's to research I think i'm pretty good. I wasn't commenting on the Food and Service at THS I was commenting on the response to this posting, I read each of B&B's previous posts which if you do so would show you the level at which they operate, they clearly have form with macarons and if they want to write about what they get presented with as a first time customer, so be it. That's what review blogs do. (Even the "professional food bloggers"). All the other first time customers with a similar experience just tell their mates about it and THS etc. would have no chance to respond.

    More about research, there are many in the industry that you seem to know so much about, who would argue that I know a lot about the industry, Just because I wish to maintain a little privacy and write under a pseudonym it doesn't excuse you from not doing your research. You only needed to click on my name.

    Which brings me to the point about anonymity... No, I can't be bothered, after all Kate(Comment Two) as a name looks like a PR tactic gone wrong.

    Which brings me to the point about professional food bloggers. Who are they? I know of none. Am I ignorant or am I getting pedantic again.

    Which brings me to my opinion on the food at THS, I didn't have one! I still don't see it as a terrible review. Perhaps the throw away line over the not cold Terrine hit a raw spot? I just don't know.

    To Finish

    Bun and Bun, keep going I found your blog pleasant reading and refreshing.

    (Insult warning) The winged monkeys of twitter , go back to your cage for your free latte.

    I call it as I see it.

    Off to read all of the "professional food bloggers" eleventh posts to see how "embarrassing" they used to be!

    One more thing, I have found that Hype is usually in reverse proportion to Quality.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Paalo,

    So sorry! Comment Two referred to the 4096 character limit placed on my original post. How could I pick such a foolish pseudonym.

    I never said they couldn’t blog or should stop blogging. I was saying they should have considered what they were saying and the implications it could have for a business. For example, implying meat is served ridden with bacteria. Otherwise, I support blogging and enjoy the online community of food bloggers and look forward to The Buns’ newest posts.

    There are many in the industry who would say I’m an expert also, and perhaps I did click on your name. I could be Matt Preston, or someone similarly ‘qualified’. However, it’s irrelevant to anything I’m talking about and I was once again, to reiterate, referring to the post in question and the comment regarding bacteria ridden meat.

    My name is Kate Bailey, feel free to email me at kbailey.bme@gmail.com and discuss anonymity and public relations as I would leave to hear your learned views. As mentioned it is only this entry and only your response I found the need to question. But I can understand how you would feel it was about you, I’m sure many things do. I’m sorry, was I meant to warn you about an insult?

    I would define a professional blog as one derives a consistent income from their site, via sponsorship and/or advertising. Many blogs begin without either and build a readership that can support this. There are too many to list, but again feel free to email me and I can send some to you.

    I don’t know who you are. Ignorant? Arrogant? Pedantic? Tolerant? A disgruntled café owner, failed PR hack or ‘professional food blogger’? Don’t ask me. And mostly, I don’t care. As I said, I had no problem with you just what you were saying in your response. I’m sure you’re a very qualified and tolerant person.

    Thanks,
    Kate

    ReplyDelete
  18. And thank you for your hype/quality formula – now I finally have something to apply to anything that many people say is good. I will now know that the better they say it is the poorer the quality it will be. Truly, thank you.

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Dear Bun and Bun,

    My Apologies for apparently making this post about me, Since Kate addressed me in her original response I thought she was talking to me, so I responded. In hindsight I should have used my own space for this and when time permits I probably will.

    Just as an attempt to get the final word in everybody shouldn't mistake praise for hype.

    again, kind regards to all.

    ReplyDelete
  20. No problem at all.
    It has been very entertaining and informative reading everyone's comments about this post.
    Paalo, your responses were always very succinct and articulate.
    Everyone is entitled to their say.

    Much love,
    the buns

    ReplyDelete
  21. Buns, I think you need a new dictionary if you think Paalo's long-winded, self-aggrandising comments are "succinct".

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Buns,

    Thanks, I too believe everyone is entitled to their say, it appears however that some believe you can only say what they want you to say! I'm not necessarily talking about comments on this post, well not all of them...

    Well, I hope that was succinct and not self-aggrandising.

    Back to work I go, (not as a professional food blogger I hasten to add)

    ReplyDelete
  23. It's amusing to stumble across this blog battle late one evening, a few months too late...

    Hopefully by now the staff,family members and friends of THS have resumed life as normal as opposed to expending time and energy posting all those "anonymous" support tirades.

    Hopefully next time Di will respond by simply letting her food speak for itself (as I'm 100% sure her speaking for it in this instance didn't do it or her any favours).

    ReplyDelete
  24. I dislike food bloggers and as such have set up my "anti-food-blogging-blog" - see www.thecriticalcouple.co.uk

    A bad review from a high profile blogger could leave to the loss of jobs.

    If I had a bad meal, I would take issue with the restaurant and maybe mention it to my friends - but to publish on the web is spiteful.

    There is a saying - "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all"

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Buns - just catching up the hilarious diatribe below this blog post. Wish I could write a post that could generate this many comments! I came here via a link to your post from another site so you still have traffic coming your way. Hope you have sourced better Macarons in the ensuing 12+ months and that you have not been tossed in gaol yet. Best wishes!

    ReplyDelete
  26. This was an excellent read. I think you guys should start blogging again.

    ReplyDelete