Chez Dre – South MelbourneTweet Follow @MyAchingHead
South Melbourne is an easy suburb to overlook in the pursuit of good eating, yet it is a mistake too many people make. Luckily for me, most of the time I’m hungover and looking for breakfast I’m too lazy to go too far from home and South Melbourne is the next suburb over. It really is a treasure trove of cafes – St Ali, Deadman Espresso, Gas, Q11 and Padre are all a short walk (a long par 4) from each other and they each rock in their own way.
And now there is a newcomer that fits right in – Chez Dre. Brought to you by Stephen Sam of the nightclub Miss Libertine and a pastry-chef-whose-last-name-I-don’t-know, Dre. Stephen tells me that when Dre returned from France, he really wanted to work with Dre to open a cafe/patisserie because he knew how creative she was, that it was a no-brainer. So they got hunting, found the space and pretty much signed the papers the next day.
The space is awesome. It’s a big, long space with a massive, curved open kitchen as a feature and a beautiful sun-drenched courtyard. The fitout hasn’t been over worked yet the elements play off each other well. The design on the polished concrete floor is great, the lighting plays well with the natural light, and the enamel cups and vases (jugs) are brilliant.
The menu too is understated; I get the feeling it is just a stepping stone to something bigger and better. French is the order of the day – for breakfast there’s baked eggs, stuffed field mushrooms and a breakfast platter with ham, cheese yoghuty and muesli. The lunch menu consists 4 or 5 baguettes filled with beautifully fresh ingredients, a plougmans lunch, a goat cheese salad and pate with bread.
Where Chez Dre really excels though is on my least favourite food group, the sweets. The menu too is understated; I get the feeling it is just a stepping stone to something bigger and better. The cabinet is full of all manner of tarts, macarons, madeleines and cakes. I’ve tried a few of them, a heart-shaped caramel tart, the lemon tart and a macaron or 2. The caramel was smooth and not too rich, the lemon tart as tart as could be, and the macarons as to be expected in Melbourne, capital city of the United States of Macaron, are perfectly formed and flavoursome. Did I mention the sweets rock? I don’t even like sweets.
The coffee is good, without being mind blowing. There’s the obligatory Synesso and the coffee is roasted and blended by the Maling Room. Interestingly enough, they don’t seem to have a single origin on, which is surprising considering that Maling Room gets and roasts some good beans.
All in all, this place rocks. It’s about as far from a hipster cafe as can be imagined. Being that it’s located really close to the South Melbourne Market, on a lane just off Coventry st, I expect it to be packed to the hilt on weekends with the market. The space is big enough though, that it probably won’t feel too packed. During the week, it’s sunny, spacious yet friendly and homely. Perfect for a quiet coffee and a cake.
- St Ali, South Melbourne
- Freestyle Espresso opening in South Melbourne
- Padre Coffee opens at the South Melbourne Market
- Breakfast at Bastille Cafe, Clarendon St, South Melbourne