CHEZ DRE

285-287 Coventry St (rear)
South Melbourne, VIC
 
chezdre.com.au

Why are all the good cafes in alleyways?’ asked my little sister as we rounded the corner to Chez Dre.  ‘Because we’re in Melbourne, I grunted back, half-asleep.
I’ve kind of been meaning to go to Chez Dre for over a year now, but being car-less, I’ve never really mustered up the determination to trudge my way out there in the early hours. But it’s not every day my younger sister turns 10, so up we got at 9am on a Sunday to make our way to South Melbourne. We were predictably faced with a 25 minute wait when we got there, but it would’ve been significantly shorter if an inconsiderate couple hadn’t pushed their way in front of us, and if outdoor seating was a viable option in the weather. C’est la Vie/First World Problems. 
It was bliss when we were finally seated in the plush green booth, overlooking the shining kitchen and away from the gusts of cold air coming through the door. Watching the hustle and bustle in the kitchen made the wait for food much less agonising; there was a poor girl in there whose only job seemed to be poaching cratefuls of eggs. I really hope she gets paid well for it.
Grand Petit Dejeuner ($19.5)
Grand Petit Dejeuner ($19.5)
My greedy little sister ordered the most lavish item on the menu, the Grand Petit Dejeuner($19.5). For those of you who didn’t do high school French, that literally translates to ‘big little lunch’, or as we know it, ‘big breakfast’. The items on the plate marched two by two (hurrah, hurrah) – a pair of potato rosti wedges, two perfectly formed eggs, a duo of lamb sausages, and a couple of bacon rashers served with mushrooms, avocado, tomato relish, and sourdough toast. This was a little different from your standard big breakfast offerings, and we enjoyed every single element of the dish. My sister loved the rustic, minted sausages, and I loved swiping the meaty, herbed mushrooms through the runny egg yolks.
Moroccan Baked Eggs ($17.5)
Moroccan Baked Eggs ($17.5)
I had wanted to order the exotic cheese and corn soufflé, but upon seeing that it had been taken off the menu, switched to the Moroccan Baked Eggs ($17.5) instead. I always make the mistake of digging into baked eggs way too quickly and burning my mouth, but this was too good to resist. The yolks were golden and the thick sauce was full of flavour, best scooped up with the crunchy baguette and topped with a slice fatty lamb sausage and a drizzle of cool yoghurt.
But what Chez Dre is really known for is their baked goods and delectable sweets. After pacing back and forth in front of the long glass cabinet, munching on free samples (a fat chocolate éclair, and a wobbly mango dome), we decided on 2 macarons and a cake to share.
Caramel Macaron/Green Tea Macaron ($3ea)
If it’s there, and it always is, I will get the Caramel Macaron ($3). This was great, chewy with a sticky sweet caramel center that had just a hint of salt. The Green Tea Macaron ($3) fared a little less well in my opinion. I would’ve liked a grassy, matcha flavour that this failed to deliver on, and it was a little bit too crumbly. My sister on the other hand loved it, so don’t let me put you off.
Hazelnut Praline Crunch ($8.5)
Passing up the shinier, more extravagant looking confections, we ordered the Hazelnut Praline Crunch ($8.5), reminiscent of Ferrero Rochers. A cube of layered chocolate and hazelnut mousse was supported by a crumbly base, and crowned with a sculpture of praline and biscuit crumbs. We were told by a passing waitress that this was the most popular cake, and we weren’t even remotely surprised. The praline really elevated the dessert to a new level, adding that elusive, slightly sticky crunch to the smooth and light mousse. It’s definitely in the running for dessert of the year.
The hype surrounding Chez Dre is certainly justified, but it has also become a bit of a victim of its own success. Despite quite possibly being the largest cafe in Melbourne, we still had to face a 25 minute wait for tables, plus another 35 minutes for food, and there were only two of us. I personally find that sort of wait to be excessive, no matter how good the nosh may be. I’m not saying don’t go; definitely go, just not on the weekend. Or just pop straight in and out for one of their gourmet baguettes and half a dozen macarons to go.
Rating: 15/20 – happy hogwarts birthday, magic wizard birthday!

Chez Dré on Urbanspoon

Brunch  Cafe  Dessert  European  French  Just A Bit Special ($15-$30)  South Melbourne  Victoria 



Comments (4)


  • Daisy@Nevertoosweet

    on 14 November 2012 @ 10:07 pm:

    Love your photos of all the desserts and cakes :) I'm so guilty come here so often but haven't gotten around to blogging it yet hehe great choices too Hazelnut praline is my absolutely favourite!


    • ming

      on 17 November 2012 @ 07:45 am:

      Thanks! Please write up a blog post soon, I want to check out all the desserts that you've tried! :)


  • Catherine

    on 15 November 2012 @ 11:48 pm:

    Haha is that your sister? She's so cute! I still haven't visited yet, I think the long wait really puts me off.. one of these days!!


    • ming

      on 17 November 2012 @ 07:54 am:

      Yep that's the sister unit, she's a (very loud) cutie :) I totally get what you mean with the long wait putting you off though, maybe if you tried... 10:30 on a tuesday morning? Not entirely the most practical haha

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