This hidden gem is discretely positioned down a narrow street in South Melbourne. There is an amazing display of cakes, macarons, pastries and baguettes, a patisserie-boulangerie. The décor is chic and takes you into another world. There are big wooden share tables, cute little jars with fresh flowers in them and bright red watering cans against the brick wall. It is a lovely setting to have brunch or to just stop by for a cake or two or three.
As you walk in, there is an open kitchen on the left and seating on the right, which then opens into a big seated area with a nice courtyard out the back.
The cake display was impressive. I think they were sparkling in the light. They were so super shiny and glossy they looked fantastic.
They had some interesting macaron flavours like orange tonka bean, lime-basil, rose-raspberry, apple cinnamon and green tea-kalamanzi. Along with the common faves like vanilla, chocolate, salted caramel etc.
Their assorted baguettes looked really good. They were thin and crunchy and had a good range of flavours. I liked the sound of the poached chicken w apple, capers, cornichons, mayonnaise, witlof & celery mmm.
The croque madame was a smoked ham & emmental (swiss) cheese sandwich grilled with béchamel (basically a fancy ham and cheese toasty) with a fried egg on top. It was nice and had a kick of mustard, which went well with the pickles in the side salad.
The slow roasted lamb salad was good it had freekah, barley, goats fetta, heirloom beetroots, baby kale, green harissa & sherry vinaigrette. The lamb melted in your mouth. It was fresh and tasty.
The braised mushroom ragu was a combination of swisse, field & button mushrooms on a bed of soft parmesan polenta with a poached egg and truffle oil. This was nice, the flavours were good but it was screaming out for some texture like a piece of crusty bread or something. Well actually truth be told, I did have all of my wisdom teeth extracted this week (ouch ouch) and probably couldn’t eat a piece of crusty bread. But unless they had extrasensory perception and knew that my wisdom teeth had recently been extracted (and so omitted the element of texture) then this dish was way too mushy.
The chorizo and smashed peas with mint, lemon & parsley, goats chèvre & poached eggs on sourdough was simple and fresh.
Now for my favourite part of Chez Dre… the cakes!
The fruits of the forest st. honoré is delish. It is like three raspberry petits chou (mini profeteroles) with a red fruit chantilly (berry cream) sitting on a lime-vanilla sable (like a round shortbread biscuit). It looked really cute and was yum.
The lemon-hazelnut tart had lemon mousse, praline, lemon crème and a hazelnut dacquoise. It was like a complex lemon tart, it had the familiar elements (lemony and biscuit base) but had extra layers of technique, which made this extra special. Lemon and hazelnut are a perfect pair, who knew.
The lychee, raspberry & coconut looked amazing. When you cut into it, there are lots of layers. It had a coconut dacquoise, lime curd, raspberry jelly and lychee mousse. It was feminine and had a beautiful delicate flavour.
We chose the passionfruit-chocolate mousse because it was the shiniest of all the shiny cakes. There was a passionfruit macaron shell on the bottom with the chocolate mousse and passionfruit crème. The chocolate mousse was quite dark and had a yummy tropical truffle sitting on top. There was a little sesame seed tuile but I wished it was bigger or there was more because it was paper thin and utterly delicious.
The banana caramel slice is absolutely delicious! It has many layers: banana, caramel & ghana milk chocolate caramel bavarois, banana créme, passionfruit ganache, hazelnut-crunch. The banana layer has a marvelous fresh banana taste, which is dominant enough to stand its ground against all the other caramel and chocolate layers. It’s flawlessly smooth but there are also elements with crunch. It was outstanding and definitely my favourite cake. Yum!
We took some cakes home for later. They were oh so shiny, the compelling gloss of the cakes turned my hand and forced me to buy more cakes. Well it was either that or that I was lacking restraint. Probably the latter.
As usual Max thought the cakes were for him, it was hard to break the bad news.
Chez Dre has a great atmosphere, the staff were nice and the cakes were amazing. It’s a good idea to proceed with caution when approaching the cake display because the remarkably shiny cakes may hypnotise you into eating more than you probably should.
I heart Chez Dre!
Address: 285-287 Coventry Street, South Melbourne 3205
Phone: 03 9690 2688
Trading Hours: Mon–Sun (7 days): 7.30am – 4.30pm