Monday, 12 September 2011

Chez Dré, South Melbourne.

I like to think of Melbourne's alleys and backstreets as the grungier and unpredictable younger siblings of the oh-so-famous laneways. Taking the gamble often ends in trash cans and graffiti, but occasionally, venturing off the beaten track leads to rich (and tasty) rewards. Think MoVida on Hosier Lane, Bar Americano tucked at the end of Presgrave Place, and down an unnamed backstreet off Coventry Street, this gem:

Chez Dré has been open for less than six months, but in this short time has already nabbed The Age's 'Best Bakery Cafe' honour and the hearts of the Melbourne foodie community.

A few weekends ago, my sister G and I visited for Sunday brunch - as a fan of the all day breakfast, I was glad to see Chez Dré shared my thinking. Mildly ravenous, I ordered the Chez Dré  Grand Petit Dejeuner -poached eggs on sourdough, bacon, spicy herb lamb sausage, potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, smashed avocado with goats cheese and tomato relish ($19.5). Each of the components were well executed and delicious. Presentation could've been a bit prettier though.

G ordered the Dukkah-Crusted 'Pink' Lamb Fillets, served with zucchini and carrot polenta, parsley and quinoa salad, labneh and hummus ($21.5). The lamb was wonderfully pink and succulent. Oddly enough, this dish can be ordered without the lamb...

Truthfully however, my mind was a little distracted from breakfast. Since entering, my gaze kept returning to the jewels sitting in a large glass cabinet by the counter. (I couldn't resist blowing the pictures to their full glory, even if it does sit a little oddly in the format!)

The classics were all represented - lemon tart, chocolate, vanilla bean and coffee eclairs - but also present were more unusual creations, such as milk chocolate and blackcurrant, and blood orange mousse.

The salted caramel eclair ($4.5) was nothing short of a revelation - a beautifully crunchy and slightly crumbly pastry encasing a light vanilla bean infused cream (I alwas get a thrill when I see the small black speckles of vanilla bean!) and topped with an elegant piping of a denser, salted caramel cream. Despite its beautiful appearance, it never stood a chance - G and I gobbled it up in a surprisingly (but not really) short amount of time.

Needless to say, I will be back to sample a few more of the offerings in the cabinet!

Chez Dré
285 - 287 Coventry Street (rear)
South Melbourne 3205

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