Coffee, brunching and alley ways; that’s what Melbourne is about. Especially during weekends, you simply can’t beat a lie in till 10am then find a good spot for coffee and a late breakfast or early lunch with friends and play catchup. Good cafes are everywhere in Melbourne, and my recent trip to Melbourne found myself brunching with friends at Chez Dre.
Chez Dre is tucked in an alley way off Coventry Street not far from the South Melbourne Market. It is not that difficult to spot it because there always seem to have groups of hungry patrons waiting patiently for empty tables outside. Let your sense of smell leads the way where the aroma of coffee and bacon lingers, walk through the side door into the space where all the actions are.
An open plan kitchen welcomes us once inside, there are olive green booth seating at the front, more tables in the main dining area facing the most attractive glass cabinet filled with delicious pastries; at the back has a communal table for those who don’t mind to share. When there is nice weather, the outdoor seating through the side door tend to be the popular spot.
The breakfast platter comes in an extensive spread of bits and bobs on a wooden board – there are a cigar-like roll of smoked ham, a jenga-block of gruyere cheese, a freckled boiled egg that oozes with runny yolk, a short glass of granola and yoghurt, a saucer of fruit, a tile of sweet biscuit, and raspberry jam for the baguette and mini croissant that comes in an extra woven basket. You can’t help but start asking yourself, “Where to start?”
The croque monsieur is for those who are not afraid of a heavy breakfast. Underneath a thin layer of crepe is layered with smoked ham and melted gruyere cheese that is extra stretchy, dressed with bechamel sauce then grilled to blistering golden brown. You can also go for a croque madame by adding a fried egg on top for $2.
We also spotted the brioche french toast at the table next to us that looks so inviting, if not a little envious. The two slices of thick brioche french toast is topped with berries compete, a dollop of vanilla mascarpone and orange tuiles. Make note to order this next time.
Another excuse to come to Chez Dre is for their pastries, and to have them for breakfast is not unheard of. The glass cabinets next to the counter are filled with an army of colourful delicious pastries and macarons that can fill you hips in no time.
We try the vanilla millefeuille, two layers of flakey feulletine are caramelised with a sweet chewy centre, sandwiched inside is ribbons of madagascan vanilla creme patissiere that is ethereally light studded with plump fresh strawberries.
Who would have thought passionfruit works exceptionally well with ginger? Beautifully constructed with repeating layers of passionfruit, white chocolate and ginger spice, flavours are well balanced and compliment each other perfectly. A light fruity dessert that is not overly sweet.
If you only have stomach space for just one dessert, then the caramel eclair it is. The choux is encrusted with feulletine that makes it addictively crunchy, each bite oozes salted caramel from the inside, crunchy roasted walnuts add nuttiness whilst the caramel bavaroise and caramel chantilly add that little extra decadent naughtiness.
Rear of 285-287 Coventry Street,
South Melbourne 3205
P: 9690 2688
Open 7 days, 7.30am – 4.30pm