Bonjour. Our craving for sweets brought us away from the busy CBD to quaint South Melbourne. Through the old-fashioned red cobbled lane way, passing by some nice potted red-pink flowers and finally to a blue door, we came to Chez Dre’s entrance. From the outside, the place seems like a huge empty warehouse converted to a big big wicked sweet factory that has everything going on in there. When I first stepped through the door, the place was packed with Saturday morning after-grocery-shopping hungry diners and eager patrons who wouldn’t mind the 30 minutes wait for a table.
Owner Andrea Reiss (or Dre), a renowned pastry chef who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in France, certainly has brought her Parisian charm to Melbourne. Chez Dre is well known for their French pastries particularly their petits gateaux and macaron. Melbournians flock to this establishment for its all day dining or the sweet pleasures to take away.
The open kitchen, its open courtyard with small round tables and communal seating adds to the charm of this restaurant. The menu lists a variety of mouth watering selection of breakfasts that is served all day. It was certainly difficult to make a decision as all of them looks good but I also want to keep some room for these irresistible sweets as they called out to me. Can you say “no” to this showcase?
We were served with our warm coffees that came in neat looking red and black cups that has a rustic feel to it.
After 35 minutes wait, which is a tad longer than I expected for our warm meals, we were served. I ordered the Croque Madame which comes with smoked ham & gruyere cheese grilled sandwich with bechamel sauce and top with fried egg. Fancy name for a simple ham & cheese sandwich :). Thanks to the gruyere cheese and bechamel sauce , it lands a very creamy taste to my tongue and couple with the pickled sides, it’s refreshingly good but not exceptional.
My hubby went for a more exotic breakfast – Moroccan baked eggs with spicy lamb sausage, tahini yoghurt & baguette. I honestly thought that this dish tasted so much better than mine and shared half the plate. The lamb sausage is exceptional with marinated spices that brings out the flavor of the dish. Freshly baked baguette is dipped into the sauce which is so aromatic after being baked with the spices.
After the wonderful meal, the staff brought us our “double happiness” – Hazelnut-praline crunch (hazelnut dacquoise, gianduja mousse, hazelnut & chocolate crumble) presented with a little gold leaf and Chocolate eclair (chocolate creme patissiere, peanut-cocoa nib tuile, chocolate chantilly). Heaven is what it tastes like! The hazelnut dacquoise is ultra ultra smooth followed by the crispy crunch of the hazelnut and chocolate crumble. All the layers blended perfectly and it totally melts in my mouth sweetly. The eclair on the other hand is not really my favourite – the chocolate creme is very smooth and creamy but what i do not like is the soft dough that almost tastes soggy.
Verdict : All in all, we ended our morning in awe. Although the place is choked with eager diners (perhaps during weekend), Chez Dre gives that unforgettable french patisserie charm that is very endearing. I am still thoroughly excited over the variety of wonderful french pastry creations and because of this, we are coming back to sample more of them.
“A party without a cake is just a meeting”
– Julia Child
Rear of 285-287 Coventry Street, South Melbourne, Victoria
P: 03 9690 2688
Mon-Sun: Breakfast & Lunch
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