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)