Tag Archives: French

Mission #4: Summer Tastes with Manu

In the spirit of my “Other Bloggers” series, this event just seemed to fit. In addition to meeting up with fellow writers for coffee or brunch, another place you often meet other writers is at special invitation events.

This opportunity was out of the ordinary as it was not a complimentary meal at a restaurant, but a chance to watch popular television chef Manu Feildel demonstrate his summer recipes from a VIP section at Highpoint Shopping Centre’s Fresh Food Mall. All his recipes were showcasing Murray Valley Pork, and proved to be delicious, making it very hard to choose a favourite. Continue reading

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Mission #3: Batman Market

A new market launched last weekend, but I’m sure you’ve already heard. Coburg is a growing hub of markets, already hosting the Trash and Treasure and Farmer’s Market. It has now launched Batman Market and promised to bring an abundance of food stalls as well as a multicultural atmosphere. Continue reading

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.

Chez Dré on Urbanspoon

Station Hotel

After asking around about other people’s experiences, I chose to try Station Hotel over The Meat and Wine Co at Crown. I guess I was a little bit skeptical about places that automatically get a thumbs up from being located at Crown and decided not to risk it.

In contrast, Station Hotel is located in the Western suburb of Footscray, perhaps unexpected for a French-inspired gastropub. Its old and dingy exterior doesn’t hint at the bustling activity on the inside. On entry you find yourself in the casual pub section, but walk around the corner and you find yourself in the dining area.

Still during the Christmas break, the place was packed and the employees running around like crazy. The annoying thing is that each staff member seems to have a role, so if the one to seat you isn’t free, then you must wait. After being seated with menus and bread, our orders were taken but I noted our drinks (a coke and a cocktail) took a tad too long, although they did arrive with an apology.

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But onto the food – for entree, we went with the crumbed mussels with olives and chorizo ($15). I liked the crumbed exterior and it was actually quite soft and enjoyable to eat. It had about the amount of chorizo I expected and you even get butter to dip it into and indulge that much further.

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As the earlier description may indicate, the decor is quite bare and straightforward. There were some paintings on the walls and a little bunch of flowers next to us (first picture), but I felt a little cramped as my chair was very close to the table behind me. It was even more awkward when staff members tried to shimmy their way through that area.

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But like most people who visit, the purpose of the trip was to try their much-talked-about steak. My friend even noticed everyone ordering the steak, so we followed suit. The waitress was absolutely no help when we asked for recommendations, and since it was busy, seemed like she was anxious to get us over and done with.

Thus I went with what I knew and ordered a scotch fillet, the 300g Kilcoy (QLD) 120 day grain fed Black Angus scotch fillet ($38, above) to be exact. The waitress was at least helpful in telling me that the Bernaise sauce was like hollendaise. I found it to be a touch sweeter than your hollendaise and more fragrant with the herbs mixed in.

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My friend went for something on the specials (above), so I don’t quite remember what it was called. I do recall it was served a la bordelaise, which means with a classic French sauce, usually made with red wine. I’m not sure if it was definitely made this way, as there are other versions of the sauce but I did definitely enjoy it. It was rich and dark and a bit sweet. I also enjoyed how her potatoes were served, much more interesting than my plain chips, but perhaps mine was served this way as my sauce was already fragrant and bold.

Our steaks were cooked medium rare as requested and I found this was done perfectly. I find steak a bit of a risk to eat out as they really have to cook it right, but I had no complaints. Although after trying my friend’s salad, I realised they did put different dressings and her’s was a bit too citrusy and sour compared to my light and subtle one!

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My friend also ordered a cocktail, an Aperol Sour (or something along those lines), as we aren’t really wine drinkers. It did sound like the most appetising cocktail out of all of them but she found it too sour to even down half. So perhaps stick to the usual pub beverages or have some wine if it’s your thing!

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And of course we had room for dessert, and debated between the sticky date and bread and butter pudding. Once again our waitress nonchalantly said she couldn’t help us because she hadn’t tried the pudding…so making up our own minds, we chose the pudding ($14). The top was jellylike and the usual dried fruits hidden in/underneath this gelatinous layer. The bread part was very soft, and the layers eaten all together proved tasty and a refreshing change to other desserts. We enjoyed it but for once, I can’t say we finished it, as our steaks really filled us up!

I wasn’t impressed by the service – granted it was busy, but a place like Station Hotel would be busy a lot of the time right? So if they can’t handle that and provide good service, then that’s a bit disappointing. However, the food was pretty good and I can see why people enjoy the steaks at this spot. Now if anyone would like tell me what they think of The Meat and Wine Co and why I should try it, please feel free!

Station Hotel is open seven days a week, 11am until late. 

Station Hotel on Urbanspoon