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
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
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.
Dancing Goat Cafe is just around the corner from my apartment. With good reviews and mentions in The Age Good Cafe Guide, this place was a must visit. I’m not going to lie, this cafe is a bit cute, small and unique with a comfortable atmosphere. With a huge selection of newspapers and magazines available to read, I feel like I could pass time here quite easily.
On arrival I asked to see the lunch menu, I was a bit disappointed to hear that they only had cabinet food. There wasn’t a huge selection, and the choices were either carb based (sandwiches, pannini’s, foccacia’s) or salads. I was convinced to give it a try.
I’m trying to cut down on carbs, and I couldn’t decide on which salad to pick so I got a bit of both. Pumpkin, feta, chickpeas and spinach for one half, and a beetroot, parsley and almond salad on the other. I was worried how well the pumpkin, feta, chickpeas and spinach would go together but to my surprise it had a great flavour and freshness, the pumpkin added the good level of sweetness, and the sprouts and greens balanced the heaviness of the chickpeas and pumpkin. The beetroot and almond salad wasn’t too bad either, a bit plain in comparison but fresh and light and let’s not forget, healthy.
Great Coffee too, and they do specialty roasts if you are interested. Cute place to pop into for lunch, a coffee or time out.
Dancing Goat Cafe
Affogato Espresso Bar is a cute vintage style cafe located down Hardware Lane in Melbourne, with good food, good coffee, and a cute barista.
The furniture had that funky oldschool, vintage, recycled feel to it. They carried that style throughout their crockery as well. This place gives a very relaxed vibe and a comfortable atmosphere, perfect if you need to take a break from the real world.
I got the grilled chicken with capsicum salsa, at $16.50 great value for money. A light and guilt-free meal. The ingredients were fresh and the dish had a nice simplicity to it. Amy got the tandoori chicken pizza, which made my dish taste a little bland in comparison. Food envy. It had a great flavour and body, not too cheesy with a nice balance of spice. I also got a cappuccino, which was delicious. Did I mention that they have a cute barista?
Affogato Espresso Bar
03 9642 5593
29 Hardware Lane