Rear, 285-287 Coventry Street
Open: Daily 7:30am – 4:30pm
Great friend Rowena, from SheRides Cycling, and I recently decided to explore something off the beaten track and try a new café. Having heard good things about Chez Dré, we hopped on the 112 tram and headed out to South Melbourne. Since it opened in April 2011, the café has made quite a name for itself – most recently attaining finalist status in the Coffee Army 2012 Campaign. That alone deemed it worthy of checking out.
Chez Dré is one of those incredibly popular places where you need to put your name down on a list and wait for a table… normally, I try to get to these hellishly popular places early, however, it was a late breakfast for us, so a small wait was to be expected. After about 20 minutes we got called to our table.
The first thing we were seriously distracted by was the amazing cake display. Full of fantastical and whimsical cakey delights – it was like looking into a jewellery display. The only time I’ve experienced anything similar was when I visited Adriano Zumbo’s store in Rozelle a couple of years ago. I can imagine people just coming here for cake and coffee – a place where you would feel really spoiled. As you should! Head Chef, Andrea (Dré) Reiss is an experienced and accomplished pastry chef, having worked in Michelin starred restaurants in France. On this occasion, we successfully staved off temptation – but made promises to ourselves that we would be back.
First point of call – check out the coffee. Lovingly teased out of a Synesso coffee machine (a rolls-royce of coffee machines) – it was smooth and strong.
Scrambled eggs and carrot garnish
Row decided to go as healthy as possible for her breakfast, but she was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a lot of choice. She settled on scrambled eggs and was hoping for gluten free bread. Alas, there was no gluten free bread on offer – instead she was offered polenta as a substitute, which she declined. It was difficult for her to enjoy the eggs, because she could actually taste the cream and butter in the mix – so it wasn’t necessarily a great choice for someone who’s watching their diet. She did however, love the carrot salad on the side. Sautéed mushrooms on polenta, with Yarra Valley Persian fetta and a poached egg
I decided to go for the mushrooms, and loving the sound of the polenta I asked to have that instead of the sourdough bread. The mushrooms were slick with oil, making them a little too rich for a breakfast dish. I found the polenta to be interesting – to be honest, I was expecting soft polenta. Not to worry – grilled polenta can be fabulous. But this polenta was probably a little bit too dense and dry, although the outside again had a bit too much oil. So, overall it wasn’t really a dish I enjoyed.
Overall, this café claims first and foremost to be a bakery & patisserie – and we didn’t actually try out any of the baked goods. On the plus side, it has a great vibe and atmosphere – and the fit out is very groovy. As a breakfast place – I have to say I was disappointed and was expecting more. Maybe next time I’ll stick to coffee and cake.