Chez Dré / South Melbourne
I’ve walked past Chez Dré a few times, gazing at the beautiful gold signage from my favourite pub next door. I’ve been meaning to blog about this place for a while, because it’s listed number 3 on Urbanspoons’ ‘talk of the town’ list.
They have two entrances off Coventry St in South Melbourne, I prefer the narrow laneway closer to Cecil Street because it is so much more mysterious & exciting when you’re walking through a dead-end Melbourne alleyway.
Being listed as one of Melbourne’s hotspots, you’re chances of getting a table without waiting is slim to nothing. We only had to wait 10 minutes. Their inside seating is simple and modern, they have booths which are intimate, a main area with a vibrant communal table, and also an outdoor courtyard (the other entrance) which is lovely on a sunny day. Overall this place has a very nice modern-sheek-french vibe to it.
There are a lot of hard workers in the kitchen. I would know because I was one of them. For one day. I didn’t do very well, managed to chop my finger within the first 5 minutes as a kitchen hand. You gotta be quick and sharp in the kitchen, looks like the knife was quicker and sharper than me that day.
They have an all day breakfast menu with some great dishes. I got a feel of what the best dishes were after working here. I would recommend the duck sandwich, grand petit dejeuner, and the cured salmon, but remember to save room for dessert.
When I first ate here, I got the wild field mushrooms on toast. I felt like I was trapped in a mushroom forest, with no way to escape but to eat my way through. The mushrooms were seasoned nicely, though goats cheese and sourdough was not enough to save me from feeling like I was buried with mushrooms.
My bestie Andrew got poached eggs on toast with a side of salmon - delicious and simple. The kitchen do a great job of poaching the eggs so that the egg whites are fluffy and cloudy without compromising the yolkporn goodness.
Nick got a delicious but simple looking chicken baguette. Sometimes I think Nick orders dishes with rocket just so I don’t eat his food.
The second visit to Chez Dré, I got the cured salmon with soft boiled egg, goats cheese, dill & sourdough croutons. The dish was smaller/lighter than expected, but it was amazing.
Delicious delicate flavours all combining beautifully in the mouth. It had everything I wanted, freshness, lightness, flavour, crunch. It only left me wanting more.
Nicholas my manly man got the Ploughmans lunch. Take a deep breath because the list is long. Baguette bread with smoked ham, salami, gruyére, brie, cornichons, mustard, pickles, beetroot salad, savoury tart, and a macaron.
This dish was a ‘take your time’ kind of lunch. I don’t know how Nick did it, I mean he had to decide what to have first and then do the manual labour of applying it onto the bread. I’m joking of course but I did feel like I was about to devour my meal before he could finish a piece of cheese. Lucky I got to help him out. Ploughman’s lunch – simple and cute, but i’m not sure it was worth the $25.50
Chez Dré is also create amazing house-made french style sweets. If you have the slightest sweet tooth, you will not, and should not be able to leave without trying some of these cakes.
The lemon meringue tart had a deliciously zesty filling with a balanced sweetness with a nice crunchy pastry.
Salted caramel eclair. This was luscious, soft and melted in my mouth. I just thought it was a tad buttery/creamy which took away the richer salted caramel flavour I was expecting.
They also do some freaking great flavours of macrons and other treats you can take home for afternoon tea or a cheeky pick-me-up. I was craving the caramel dome but they sold out.
Verdict: The food is fairly expensive overall but some of those dishes are definitely worth the money. I was not blown away, but perhaps I was expecting too much from all the raving reviews. Enjoyed my time here as a customer, but not so much as a kitchen hand, but hey, my finger is all healed now.
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287 Coventry St (rear)
The Market Kitchen / South Melbourne
I saw some construction work happening down Clarendon Street the other day and was excited when I figured out a sheek new café was about to open. A few days later, The Market Kitchen was born, a new vibrant café to excite the area.
The idea is simple, the kitchen sources their ingredients from the South Melbourne Market and cook up a storm. Hence the name, The Market Kitchen! It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense though, as they are situated a fair distance from the South Melbourne Market. It seems a lot of local kitchens shop at the market so the idea isn’t 100% original. Perhaps they have another meaning behind the name.
Unoriginal idea is redeemed by an original interior and decor design. A cute pot of herbs sit on each table, we smelt some thyme, mint and sage. I was naughty and ripped off a piece of sage to make sure it was edible.
It was the first meal of the day so of course a coffee was mandatory. The coffee was nice, they use beans from some coffee roaster in Coburg.
Tuna steak caesar salad, with cos, bacon, egg, and parmesan cheese.
This was nice, i’m not a huge fan of tuna steak as it’s often dry and chewy. The rest of the salad however had a great crunch and a nice flavour. The egg was a tad over-done so sorry guys, no #yolkporn.
Open pulled pork roll with cranberries, apple and celeriac remoulade.
Brioché was well toasted, a nice crunch but still soft and edible. The pork had minimal flavour, but combined with the cranberries and remoulade the dish worked very well. I wish I liked rocket, but my tastebuds seem to argue with them every time they make contact.
We finished off brunch with a delicious chocolate brownie. The menu stated compulsory with ice cream, but it got served without. We had to remind the waitress, but she kindly attended to it and even gave us an extra scoop! Deliciously moist and sweet, and it’s true, you must have it with ice cream.
The Market Kitchen is one of the few restaurants that have recently opened on Clarendon, giving the street a bit of life. The place is modern, cool and hip, the food is fresh and delicious and the staff are friendly and attentive.
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The Market Kitchen
342 Clarendon Rd
Bacon and Egg Muffin
My boyfriend made me this. Super cute and ultra delicious. If you need to impress someone, I highly recommend feeding them this. Note: Even tastier whilst hungover.
Boat Builders Yard / South Wharf
This eatery screams rustic with a comforting, warm and inviting environment. Located just around the corner from me, in the South Wharf promenade, I can easily see this place turning into my ‘local’ for summer.
This place has an exuberant balance of romanticism, quality and trendiness while remaining on earth. The inviting nature of this place makes it suitable to meet up with friends, go on a casual date with a few beers or dine alone.
Outdoor area open and refreshing, great for smokers and/or drunk people - but hey, everywhere is good for drunk people. A large area to stretch your legs, or invite your friends.
I think advertising on bicycles is the new thing, I mean who doesn’t love bicycles?
A great variety of seating options. Cute rustic waterside seating. I sat here with my partner on a warm evening with a cold beer, absolute bliss. Careful not to have too many beers, you could fall into the Yarra and die.
Food pick up station. I love the anticipation of waiting for my ‘waiting disk’ to beep to notify my food is ready. It has some sort of futuristic feel along with a sense of accomplishment, even though there is nothing for me to accomplish, I just sat on my ass.
The inside café, decked out with the remains of the old boatbuilders yard it use to be. Simple interior with little details which adds a sense of uniqueness and approachability.
The inside of the café is nice and cosy, with a log fireplace and friendly staff. If you are lucky enough to get a seat by the fire on a cold day, I would recommend you stay forever. If you’re stuck in the rain, The Boatbuilders Yard kindly offers you their umbrellas to borrow.
Cabinet food looked great too. Unsure what those white packages are, perhaps some sort of spring roll or something. Anyway, it looked delicious.
The bar is super cool, decent size but I guess it has to be for such a large venue. Great thing they have eftpos/pay pass too.
Bacon and egg roll, as advertised on the bicycle. Cabinet food but I think the staff made it fresh. Cheap but hearty and mighty delicious.
Poached eggs on toast with thick cut bacon and a hash brown. The bacon and the hash brown are pure quality and full of flavour.
I was a fatty and got the Boatbuilders Breakfast, Eggs, Tomato, Cheese Kransky, Thick Cut Bacon, Hash Brown, Mushroom. Delicious, and being such a manly dish, I think it increased my testosterone/manly level.
Unfortunately they don’t do all day breakfast; however they have a delightful lunch menu.
Chicken ciabatta roll available from the cabinet. Something lighter so you don’t feel too gluggy when you enjoy it with a nice cold beer.
Beef Bourguignon Pot Pie, Peas, Potato & Parsnip Puree. Parsnip puree delectable. Everything cooked beautifully. Fresh vegetables make for a less guilty dish, although it still would be brilliant without.
Battered Flathead Fillets, Chips, Coleslaw, Tartare Sauce. This was the guilty dish, however sometimes when you’re by water you crave these things. Deep fried deliciousness. There is also a lump of coleslaw hiding at the back there to refresh that dirty palate.
Braised Rabbit - Pancetta, Shallots, Winter Veg. Absolutely delectable, tender meat falling off the bone, full of flavour and warmth.
They also have a mini-bar outside too with delicious organic sausages. You can choose either prime beef, lamb merguez, duck and pistachio or vietnamese pork roll.
I got the duck and pistachio sausage, delicate rich flavour. The mustard and tomato sauce was ‘self service’ hence why it looks so shit. The sauce also did not compliment the sausage that well, perhaps a relish would have been nice. For $9 you can’t really complain though. It was the perfect afternoon snack.
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The Boatbuilders Yard is a great place to relax and catch up with friends, suitable for a lot of occasions breakfast/coffee/lunch/bar however, everything is self service. You have to order at the bar, water is available from the ‘water station’, you pick your food up from the ‘food pick up station.’ and you have to eat the food yourself. It’s a good trade off for excellent food and a great vibe.
The Boatbuilders Yard
03 9686 5088
23 South Wharf Promenade
South Wharf, VIC 3006
Common Galaxia / Seddon
Common Galaxia, Dead Man Espresso’s brother café from the future.
This place meets the benchmark Dead Man Espresso has given. It has a very similar vibe but an evidently different character. Great menu selection, unique dishes but you can’t really go wrong with any of them.
This table caddy was just too cute I could not resist.
Great coffee, same as Dead Man Espresso - Seven Seeds or Market Lane. I got the Market Lane, tastes better in my opinion.
Istra prosciutto baked eggs w caramelised shallots, 3 cheeses, wilted greens & toast. Cooked to perfection, the delicious flavours in a cute dish. They ran out of sourdough so served with pumpkin bread instead; no complaints here, the pumpkin bread was delicious.
Pikelets w apple curd, rhubarb & vanilla bean dulce de leche. I die for these, so freaking good, and only $13. I only got a spoonful, but i’m definitely ordering this next time i’m here.
Avocado on pumpkin toast w chickpeas, pomegranate gems, chevre, pistachios & radish. This was beautiful, the pomegranate complimented and added another dimension to smashed avocado, as if you were in another galaxy.
Oven baked zucchini fritters w house cured juniper berry salmon or Istra bacon, poached egg & lemon creme fraiche. I ordered this dish, it was delicious. I love the fact that it was oven baked, a much healthier option.
My stomach was satisfied, however I was craving the Baked Apple on the menu, looks delicious. I will definitely be back to try more.
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03 9689 0769
Shop 3/130 Victoria St
Seddon, VIC 3011
Cafe Sweethearts / South Melbourne
Cafe Sweethearts no assholes allowed. This café has a fun loving vibe.
Grab an outdoor seat if it’s a sunny day, the air is fresh in South Melbourne.
Inside aint too bad either. The large window gives us enough sunshine and vitamin D for our Sunday recovery meal.
An eggstravagant menu, with a great selection of egg dishes amongst other choices.
I like the coffee, just the thing I needed to wake me up on a lazy Sunday.
Blueberry Pancakes, soft and luscious.
Salmon stack, my dish of choice. It was delicious, however I was unable to finish it because I was so full/hungover.
Mexican eggs with rosti. Superb.
Chicken and bacon foccacia. Tasty tasty.
A sweet place that will warm your heart with brunch, if you’re a sweetheart you will fit in just fine.
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03 9690 6752
South Melbourne 3205
263 Coventry St
My Sista Says / Port Melbourne
My Sista Says… well, I haven’t spoken to my sisters in a while. This café is teeny tiny but makes up for it with a cute and cosy environment.
A great atmosphere with a young vibe, a nice communal bench right next to the kitchen and counter. No walls which makes me feel naked, but I like it.
Funky lamps popping out of the wall for those who need extra light to read the Wallpaper* City Guides or other books they have lying around. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the city guides.
The staff were very friendly and brought a great positive vibe to the place.
They utilize their space well, and still manage to keep the place aesthetically pleasing.
Delicious coffee and a beautiful selection of food on the menu.
Poached eggs on toast with spinach, mushrooms and tomato - simple but delicious.
Dukkah poached egg, spinach with smashed avocado and feta brilliantness. Delicious healthy and light.
Poached egg on toast with ham and tomato.
We were full after brunch so didn’t order any cakes; but my god they look delicious. Will have to come back another day.
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My Sista Says/My Sister Says
03 9646 1117
118 Bridge Street
Miss Marmalade / Brunswick
You don’t have to like marmalade to like Miss Marmalade; because she’s a friendly, dog loving, warm and inviting spunk. I’m talking about the café, but i’m sure the lady is pretty nice too.
I like the outdoor seating, it has that cute, floral, vintage feeling. This café is dog friendly, so I bought all my bitches!
On the inside you might find crazy people looking at you funny, or hipsters with a sour look on the face. Jokes, all the staff and customers are all friendly and loving.
Quirky little lampshades, don’t stare at them for too long though, they will make you dizzy.
I adore these dangling flowers in the hallway, so cute.
A cute vintage café ain’t complete without a heavy dose of nostalgia. These oldschool milk bottles took us back to the early 90’s for at least 20 minutes.
It’s not brunch without a nice hot cup of coffee. Miss Marmalade is known for their great coffee as mentioned in Melbourne Coffee Review. They use 5 Senses coffee beans.
I can’t remember what this was, but it was yum. Delicious fresh veggies full of moisture and flavour, and balsamic vinegar to give it that extra kick. I heard asparagus makes your urine smell weird/yuck. No, I did not smell my own urine.
Farmers market breakfast - Home made corn bread, hash potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and the pick of market vegetables with a poached egg, micro herbs and avocado crush.
Big breakfast - Free range eggs, bacon, house made beans, avocado crush, braised mushrooms, herbed chipolata and tomato relish on organic toast.
Gingerbread hotcakes with poached fruit, Tahitian vanilla bean and maple mascarpone and chopped pistachios. The taste of a good Christmas.
Miss Marmalade was a wonderful café and I really enjoyed the food and the environment. The only down side is that the primary clientele is families with children and dogs, so it’s a bit shameful if you are going to be talking about drunken antics and STD’s around the brunch table.
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03 9388 8202
126 Union Street
Brunswick, VIC 3056
Dead Man Espresso / South Melbourne
Dead Man Espresso is one of my favorite local cafe’s just around the corner. He is hiding away on a secluded corner in South Melbourne, yet everyone knows where he is. This gem of a café has critics, bloggers, hipsters and normal people alike creaming themselves.
I love how I can ride my bike, park it up and walk right in with extra swag. At least I think I have swag, but it’s probably just helmet hair.
Quirky light fittings with elegant and simple décor. Modern and hip.
As mentioned; critics, bloggers, hipsters and normal people creaming themselves. No, seriously, this place is often full but I have been lucky enough to get a seat every visit. Well worth the wait.
Even the cabinet food looks alright, catering for those in a rush or those unlucky ones who missed out on a seat.
Vibrant flowers lighten up the room and make me feel happy, it’s probably going to do the same to you.
Delicious coffee, they have two blends available. Seven Seeds (house) or Market Lane (special). Both are delicious.
Freerange eggs on toast. Simple and light, for the conservative or the one with the weak stomach.
Avocado on Zeally Bay Organic toast with chevre, grapefruit, toasted almonds & radish. Delicious combination of flavours, fresh and vibrant.
Big breakfast special - poached egg, baked beans, bacon, toast, tomato, mushrooms, sausage. Hearty breakfast that will either satisfy or dis-satisfy your stomach. A good hangover meal.
Herb and potato rosti with poached egg, avocado and smoked salmon. loved the rosti, delicious and filling without being too heavy or bland.
Buttermilk banana pancakes with Melbourne Rooftop Honey mascarpone & white choc crumb. Delicate and unique elements that all compliment each other.
After enjoying such lovely meals at this wonderful café, I just wanted to take it home with me. Well, it turns out I can! You can buy Melbourne Rooftop Honey here or Dead Man Espresso coffee beans, tea towels and other merchandise. I really like this place. Not particularly for the food, not for the coffee, nor the environment, but for all of the above.
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Dead Man Espresso
03 9686 2255
35 Market St
Melbourne, VIC 3205
Las Vegan Bakery / Melbourne
Las Vegan Bakery is a cute little bakery/restaurant that only serves vegan food!
Warm cozy atmosphere, with lots of plants inside for the nature lovers. Vintage/cheap furnishings which adds to the ‘real/authentic’ ethical conscious feeling.
A good selection on the menu, soups, calzones, burritos, burgers and heaps of desserts/cakes.
Soy cappuccino. Meh.
Sloppy Joe Burger, with chips and salad. The burger was tasty and flavorsome. The salad and chips were pretty bland and boring though.
Vegan Nachos with black beans. Pretty good, tasted like normal nachos without the beef and without cheese.
Delicious burrito, flavors exploding out of it. Oily but tasty.
Vegan food is good for you, for animals, and the environment. Las Vegan one of a few vegan restaurants in Melbourne.
Las Vegan Bakery
22 Smith Street
Strawberry Fare / Christchurch
Strawberry Fare is another well known Christchurch restaurant. Although they serve top-notch meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, they are glorified for their decadent, delicious desserts. The new location is in the old “Harpers” building on Carlton Mill Cnr/Bealy Ave.
The new digs is different but has the the same “warm” and “modern” ambiance. The service is friendly and the atmosphere is intimate.
Velvet pillows, beautifully baked sponge filled with cream, fresh bananas and caramel toffee. Light and luscious, creamy and dreamy.
Vanilla bean panna cotta with fresh kiwi and pickled feijoa. Beautifully moist and drizzling with sweet goodness.
Take someone on a date here and you’re bound to get it in.
19 Bealy Ave
Black Betty / Christchurch
Black Betty is another amazing post-earthquake restaurant that has erected. Serving great food and great coffee in a trendy environment. Located close to, what is left of the CBD. Gutted I forgot to take pictures of the place. It was packed.
Creamy garlic mushrooms, baby spinach, on toasted ciabatta topped with ricotta. Flavorsome and juicy, loved the garlic/ricotta/spinach/mushroom combo. A delicious light meal leaving me feeling a little bit healthy.
Black Betty’s Big Breakfast with two eggs, crispy bacon, sausages, mushrooms, slow roast tomato, homemade hash browns with a side of toast. They didn’t have hash browns today so they gave Kent some baked beans instead. He also got an iced chocolate, surprised this boy didn’t explode. Great food. Great environment. Greatness all round.
165 Madras Street
Joe’s Garage / Christchurch
Joe’s Garage is an iconic NZ cafe chain with a great character and reputation.
At the entrance of Joe’s (Church Corner) you will find this interesting pedestrian crossing that leads to nowhere in particular.
A warm ambiance. Toy trucks, brick walls, friendly smiles and cool lampshades.
A simple selection on the menu, pretty decent and affordable. I just got a coffee, but the food looked pretty good too. Next time.
Addington Coffee Co-Op / Christchurch
Addington Coffee Co-Op is my second home in Christchurch. I got introduced to this lovely place during design college 2008. Ever since it’s been my ‘Christchurch’ regular.
Hanging bicycles, flags of the world, vintage tea spoons and milk bottles are just a few of the quirky embellishments lurking around in this social conscious cafe.
I use to go to the laundr-o-mat to do my laundry, with a cappuccino and my diary. It reminded me of how simple life really was. Now they have opened up a shop as well! The Addington Store sells great products, a lot of which is fair trade and organic.
Field mushrooms on linseed toast with spinach and hollandaise sauce. Divine fresh ingredients and flavour but the hero was the hollandaise. Mouth blowing.
Big breakfast with grilled tomatoes, bacon, hash brown, sausages, and two perfectly poached eggs. Delicious, perfect way to start your day.
I love Addington Coffee Co-Op. It seems to be a bit more polished and brushed up a bit since I left. (6 months ago.) I kind of liked the grungier character it use to have but it’s still an amazing place and that’s what matters.
Addington Coffee Co-Op
The Monday Room / Christchurch
The Monday Room is one of my favorite Christchurch places. Located in the beautiful Strategy building on Moorehouse Ave.
This little gem might be hidden away, but the fluttering birds have a welcoming persona.
The Monday Room is perfect place for a coffee, breakfast, lunch, snacks or cocktails/alcohol with Christchurch’s trendiest folk.
Every corner has some sort of artistic elegance. The ambiance is very relaxed and sophisticated.
These blue cheese polenta fries, succulent, golden and crispy.
Crispy Calamari, so delicious.
Perhaps not the most exciting dish, but it’s still delicious. Burger with kumara fries.
Citrus and cured salmon, delicately balanced. Beautifully presented, herbaceous fennel complimented the dish.
Ostrich served with parsnip puree, wasabi mash, grilled pear and port wine jus. Absolutely divine. Made my trip to Christchurch worth while haha.
The Monday Room is a beautiful restaurant that adds a lot of character and hope for the re-build of Christchurch CBD. All dishes are presented beautifully, and so is the atmosphere.
The Monday Room
Christchurch, New Zealand