Chez Dre, South Melbourne

Having been recommended this cafe by a couple of people, I finally ventured down to South Melbourne during the long weekend to try this place out. And I have to say I really loved it, and can definitely see what the fuss is all about! A bit of a warning though, the place doesn't take reservations on weekends, and even on weekdays only if you have a group of more than eight people, so you usually have to wait awhile to get a table.

We went on a Sunday around 11:00, and were told we had to wait about half an hour for a table of three. There was a quite a large group of people waiting as well, and you just get your name taken down by the Maitre'D and he'll tell you when a table is ready. The table turnover rate seemed to be quite quick though, and there was constant flow of people leaving. The good thing about Chez Dre is that the breakfast menu items are served all day, so you didn't have to worry about not getting a table in time for the cut off time, like with a lot of other places.
The atmosphere of the place was really lively, and the cafe itself was a lot bigger than what you'd expect upon first stepping into the area. There was quite a large amount of indoor seating, as well as outdoor seating that was for the most part covered by large umbrellas, so you didn't feel too warm. Service was great as well, with all the staff being quite friendly.

The three dishes we ordered were the Ham Crepes ($15.50), the Breakfast Platter ($18.50) and the special of the day, which was a smoked salmon omelette with creme fraiche, red onion and fennel ($15.50). We also ordered a Apple and Guava juice ($4), which was really refreshing and full of guava flavour.

The ham crepes consisted of two baked buckwheat crepes with ham, gruyere cheese and creme fraiche. There was a surprisingly large amount of ham in the crepes, and lots of melting cheese to give it that extra bit of flavour. The dish was great in that it felt quite light, as it was made from crepe and not eggs, as an omelette would've felt more dense and heavy. The smoked salmon omelette had great taste and flavour, and also came with two pieces of bread on the side, ensuring that you were feeling quite full by the end of the meal. 

The breakfast platter consisted of smoked ham, gruyere cheese, a boiled egg, fresh fruit diced up, granola and yoghurt, raspberry jam, two sweet sables (cookies), as well as a baguette and a mini croissant. This was a really cute little dish that gave you a little of everything, and it may not look a lot, but I was definitely feeling really full by the end. The egg was cooked to perfection, with the egg slightly runny and that rich, orange colour. The croissant was very light and fluffy on the inside, with a very cripsy outer layer, and it went really well with the small pot of raspberry jam that was provided. The baguette was kindly sliced in half, allowing you to have one half with the ham and cheese, and the other with butter and the rest of the jam. The fresh fruit consisted of green apple, cantalope, and oranges, and was great as a refresher to have between bites of croissant or baguette. 

As we had seen a large range of desserts on our way in, we simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to try a couple ourselves. After much deliberation, we decided to go with the Hazelnut Praline Crunch and the Vanilla & Strawberry Mille Feuille (both $8.50). The hazelnut praline crunch is essentially like eating a huge ferrero rocher, with the crunchiness of the top like the outer most layer, contrasting really well with the soft layers underneath, like the inside of the rocher. This dessert is quite heavy though, so it's probably best to share with a friend, so as not to feel like you need wash down the sweetness afterwards.  

A Mille Feuille is a French dessert, with three layers of puff pastry and two layers of pastry cream in between. The one we ordered had vanilla custard cream and strawberries in the second layer, as well as strawberries and icing sugar on the top layer. The acidity of the strawberries, combined with the sweetness of the vanilla, made for a great mix of flavours, ensuring that you weren't overpowered by either. This, along with the flaky puff pastry, made for a really nice dessert. 

We also decided to take away some macarons, as it is one of the items that Chez Dre is most well known for. The macarons here are slightly pricier than the average at $3, but it is also bigger in size as well. I decided on a salted caramel one as well as a rose raspberry one, to see how both the savoury and sweet tasted. They were good, but didn't really have the wow factor I was expecting, especially with the salted caramel one, which I found was lacking that chewiness, and was just quite sweet. 

I will definitely visit this cafe again to try some of their other breakfast items. Looking around at the dishes people ordered, there was a really great range, and portions were definitely enough to leave you feeling very full at the end. Highly recommended for everyone!

Chez Dré Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato | Website | Instagram


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