Chez Dré

A trip down memory lane often leads to memories of food. It’s been a little busy lately so apologies for the lack of posts, but as I tried to rack my brain for places worthy of writing about that were visited a long time ago, Chez Dré came to mind.

Was it the delicious brunch food or desserts that keep it still in my mind? Probably both.

It’s not far out of Melbourne CBD, only a short tram ride away and a little walk off Clarendon St. And typically for a hip brunch spot, its entrance is down a sloping alleyway. It’s one of those always-busy places and, on both occasions, I was seated closer to the entrance of the place and not fully inside where one would be able to see the counter and desserts display more clearly.

Despite my visits being 1-2 years ago, they seem to stick to a slightly similar menu. My first experience, I chose the Moroccan Baked Eggs ($18.50, below), which perhaps has set the standards for me whenever I order baked eggs now.

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It was a decent size and presented well with the spicy sausage pieces scattered in a circle. This is unlike some bigger servings that choose size over quality, and don’t put too much effort into the presentation. This provided just enough of everything and I think the spicy sausage made the dish a winner.

Another bonus was the dipping sauce of tahini yogurt for the baguette, creating a beautiful Mediterranean air for the dish. My friend ordered the same on my second visit (below), although the presentation was slightly different, with the addition of more greens such as mint.

I can’t remember what my friend on my first visit had exactly, but by the photo, it was probably scrambled eggs on sourdough ($9.50) with extra sautéed mushrooms ($4). Despite the simplicity of the meal, my friend kept wanting to go back to Chez Dré after that day. I also ended up with one or two takeaway macarons (vanilla and coffee I think?), which I remember were quite good but not extremely special.

On the second occasion I wanted to save room for some of their proper desserts so I went for the Veggie Petit Déjeuner in French, being the vegetarian big breakfast ($18.50). It included poached eggs, sautéed mushrooms, potato rosti, tomato, avocado and tomato relish.

I think this was a great vegetarian option of the classic big breakfast. I especially enjoyed the potato rosti, a large addition to ensure that you can still get full with no meat. A look at the current menu looks like they have updated this to roasted herb potatoes.

Something that should not come as an afterthought at Chez Dré, are the desserts! We had so much trouble deciding what cake to share ($9.50 each) that the inevitable question of, “Why not both?” sprung to mind.

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Thus we ended up with the Hazelnut-Praline Crunch and also the Blueberry Cheesecake, and the closest I can find on the current menu seems to be the Blueberry and Chestnut Tart. The hazelnut was certainly not the prettiest and we chuckled at the unpleasant look of it. However, it was amazing with its combination of mousse and praline layers, living up to the crunch of its name. The crumble at the top topped it off too – this piece disappeared into nothing extremely quickly.

The cheesecake was nice, but as with most cheesecakes it’s better in small doses. You can see the high amount of the creamy section compared to the base, providing an imbalance and also a cake that is too sweet even for three eager girls to finish. The hazelnut was definitely the winner – although looking at their menu now, I’m tempted by the sound of the Banana, Caramel and Ghana Milk Chocolate gateau!

I would happily agree to drop by Chez Dré any time, but as my food adventures continue, two visits is already plenty, but I would definitely recommend it to other people.

Chez Dré is open 7.30-4.30pm seven days a week and can be found at the rear of Rear of 285-287 Coventry Street, South Melbourne. Find their current menu here.

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