Chez Dré

(rear of) 285-287 Coventry Street
South Melbourne, VIC 3205
03 9690 2688
Chez Dré
“Chez Dré”… I just can’t pronounce it…
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The name comes out sounding retarded from my mouth. Still, it didn’t stop me from visiting thrice in one month, enabling this rather long coffee, food and sweets post. And that’s exactly how I’ll write about it. Coffees first, then the food, and finally the pastries and cakes.
Chez Dré
Chez Dré

Chez Dré
Chez Dré on a weekday.
Chez Dré
I was very enamoured by everything about this place. From its unassuming lane way entrance, to the lavish-yet-understated, stylistic refitting of an old brick warehouse interior into a cosy space filled with a harmonious clash of primary colours. The kitchen literally glows from the middle of the space, inviting everyone to have look at what they’re doing. There is a certain thrill about watching the vibrant dance of pastry chefs, cooks and kitchen hands while you wait for your meal.
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Coffee

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If you’ve read my post about Axil Café, you’ll know my first visit here was with Lachlan, where a rather awkward conversation ensued. :p One thing about Lachy, anywhere he takes me to will probably have good coffee. There are too few days in a year to justify tolerating a bad cup. So since he took me here, Chez Dré will most likely deliver the goods when it comes to caffeine.
Chez Dré

Here’s my flat white, served on a quieter Wednesday where I’d brunched here by myself. Love the black cup. And love the deep colour of the foam. I still struggle to detect flavours in coffee, my nose and tongue can only tell me “nice” or “not nice”. Lol, eloquent much? But I thought this was a strongish dark roast with fruity notes and I only needed to add a teaspoon of sugar. Most agreeable…

Chez Dré

Later on, I had a decaf flat white. And it actually tasted great, no sugar needed! The cup tasted deep, lingering and roasty as if you’re by a fireplace in winter. I was pretty surprised… a cup of decaf that actually tasted good, no chemical undertones that I could detect, with flavours that stayed well and didn’t get lost in the milk.

Chez Dré
My brunch companion’s Caffé Latte $3.50
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Brunched here with Fakegf and Ees on a Sunday a few weeks later. When I asked how they liked the coffees, they simply said it’s “good” without any further comment. I almost wanted to try a piccolo, but succumbed to my usual flat white again. It was not as deep-flavoured as Wednesday’s cup, but still good enough for me. No sugar was needed.
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Brunch Food

Chez Dré
Chez Dré
Breakfast croissant with scrambled eggs and fresh herbs $9.50
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I had this on that quieter Wednesday solo brunch. It was wonderful!! I swear I was in butter heaven! Moist herbed scrambled eggs and beautiful croissant. And that’s so much food on the plate… soo much egg!
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That Wednesday, the serving girls were all smiley and attentive, kept asking if I needed anything else. It made me a little flustered… as if they thought I was ‘so poor thing…’ brunching there by myself, lol. They’d even walk over with morsels of the tarts, eclairs and cakes for everyone to sample. While it was definitely not as crazy busy as the weekend, the place was still quite full during lunch time. Not bad, considering Chez Dré had been open for little over a month when I visited then…
Chez Dré
Chez Dré on a weekend.

Chez Dré

Live performance bustle in a spotless kitchen
Chez Dré was a little more stressful to patronise on weekends. There were quite a number of people standing and waiting for a table, staff moving briskly everywhere and a ceaseless flow of takeaway orders for pastries and cakes. But this is the reality of weekend brunches in most cafés in Melbourne. It will be busy! Hard to really just sit, chat and linger on weekends these days. No wonder Lachlan always prefers brunching on weekdays.
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I think what makes or breaks your weekend brunch experience depends on whether your companions, the venue, it’s staff, the crowd and the overall vibe can somehow come together and create a little niche brunch ‘bubble’ wherein you can finally feel comfortable and stop noticing the mad rush of everything else around you. In that regard, the Sunday brunch I had here with Ees and Fakegf did not really work out that way.
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We were seated along that long green leather banquette area at a small table that’s meant for two. But the waitress asked two of us to squeeze on the long banquette side while the 3rd sits at the opposite chair. Fakegf and I sat together, but no, we didn’t hold hands, hahahahahha!! I watched other tables in similar situations, they were smiling and eating and obviously not too bothered about being squashed into a table.
Chez Dré
Roast chicken baguette with gruyère cheese, roasted garlic aioli and cos lettuce. $12.00
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This is what Ees had, he said he enjoyed it, especially the aioli. Meanwhile, I spied our neighbouring table being served the Croque Madame and that looked absolutely smashing! That table was also a 3-brunchers-squashed-into-a-table-for-two situation like us. It was funny seeing them all crouched and eating.
Chez Dré
Stuffed mushroom, housemade beans and herbed croutons with poached eggs and sourdough. $17.50

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Fakegf liked what she ordered. There was on big cap of mushroom stuffed with more mushrooms, chopped walnuts and spinach. The one thing she didn’t like were the croutons, which tasted as if it was cooked in old oil.

Chez Dré
Chez Dré breakfast platter. $18.50
Smoked ham, gruyère cheese, boiled egg, poached fruit, vanilla yogurt with granola, raspberry jam, butter, croissant and baguette.
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All I can say is: don’t order this on weekends… there won’t be enough table space to eat it! This dish was confusing with so many things that you can mix and match with. Ha ha, maybe I’m more the sort of person who’d prefer to have my dish tell me how to eat it rather than I decide. But what arrived was exactly what’s on the menu, so I shouldn’t complain. It’s just that it looked better written on the menu than how it turned out.
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I thought the platter was okay. I didn’t take to the raspberry jam. The poached fruit were quite sweet and cinnamony, reminding me more of preserved fruit. My croissant was quite crispy hard on the outside and not as flaky as the one I had with the scrambled eggs. The rest of the platter was good and I took quite sometime to manoeuvre my eating implements and decide how to eat into it. Halfway through, I realised I shouldn’t have ordered this because it’s got fruit and yogurt in it. I should’ve saved my sweet tooth for the amazing patisserie sweets later on.
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Something Sweet

Chez Dré
Chez Dré

Mmm… I’m in eclair heaven!
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One thing you should consider when reading this final part of my post. Because I have an Asian palate, my approach and reaction to new or unfamiliar desserts might be different. I haven’t had eclairs that often. In fact, things that I end up liking might actually taste crappy to the rest of you. :D Having said that, as a general rule of thumb, it’s actually quite difficult to please me when it comes to non-Asian sweets.

Chez Dré
Chez Dré macaron ranks
Chez Dré
Chez Dré
Salted Butter Caramel Eclair $7.50
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I had this on my first visit here with Lachlan. It was a divine eclair… the kind that makes you keep thinking about it even days or weeks later. All flavours subtly merged into each other into a gentle creamy forkful of wonder that just about melts in your mouth with the delicious bite of sensational choux pastry. I think the use of salt in desserts is underrated, this eclair tasted soo good! Ees went all quiet savouring the taste. And even Fakegf, who doesn’t like eclairs, had to concede that the choux pastry was pretty damn good.
Chez Dré
Chocolate tart $8.50
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I was surprised that I liked this as well. Initially I assumed it’d be a tart with a hard chocolate top. But turns out it’s actually a soft molten chocolate top. Inside, there were two additional layers of chocolate mousse and ganache. We also enjoyed the firm buttery pastry, I was very pleased to find that the tart wasn’t overly sweet. Ees did comment that these pastries were on the steep side at $7.50 onwards, but boy were they memorable.

I later learnt that Chez Dré was the fruition of pastry chef Andreas Reiss’s dream to open a “pastry lab” in Melbourne. Andreas previously worked as a patisserie chef in Paris. So I suppose the focus of this place lies in its patisserie section. Well, this eclair has won me over. Keep on creating and experimenting, Andreas. I so rarely gush about ang moh sweets.

Chez Dré
Takeaway goodies:
Lemon Meringue Tart $7.50, Chocolate Eclair $7.50
Chez Dré
Chez Dré
I liked the desserts so much that I took more home to try. I sooo never ever do that! Ees came over to help me make Chinese ang ku kueh that day so we had these treats later in the afternoon. We agreed the lemon tart wasn’t as good, with a strong sweet and citrus flavour and an almost cordial-like aftertaste. It’s probably just preference. In order to offset the sourness, lots of sugar has to be added, so I tend to not enjoy lemon tarts very much to begin with.
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We quite liked the chocolate eclair though. As you dug in, there were bits of hard chocolate at the bottom and the eclair wasn’t too sweet. All that said, I’d still go for the salted butter caramel eclair over this though.
Chez Dré
Takeway goodies: Pistachio and salted caramel macarons
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And finally, I really wanted to understand why everybody in the foodie community is swooning over macarons. What is the charm behind them? I’ve had them at Lindt café and Brunetti and did not like them at all. Maybe they were just crappy ones. So let’s give it a third go… After my solo Wednesday brunch, I asked the counter girl which ones weren’t overly sweet and she pointed me to these two. It was really fun taking home such colourful things.
Chez Dré
So here is The Macaron Enquiry, take 3!
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I have to admit that macarons are very pretty to look at, with their perfect shape and cute pastel colours. A very dainty sweet to have with a cup of tea perhaps. But as I bit into them, I knew that’s where the prettiness ends. I still simply can’t appreciate macarons. They just taste sweet and chewy-soft, I could appreciate the niceness of the salted caramel and pistachio flavour, but the texture of the macaron itself and the heavy sweetness just isn’t something I’d swoon over. But I’m glad I still tried them.
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Good coffee, decent brunch fare, amazing eclairs. Oh my, I’m so coming back!
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Chez Dré