Although it seems like an epoch has passed now, it was only a week ago that I met a mate at a patisserie/boulangerie/café called Chez Dré in South Melbourne to socialise over breakfast but to also prepare our bodies for the impending torture it was going to experience at the pub watching the Cricket all afternoon. Normally I find breakfast a chore when I am tasked to enjoy it, with the only exception for the year being a visit to the Hardware Societe, but it surely wasn't this time - in fact it turned out to be a delightful experience.
Chez Dré was buzzing on this mild Sunday morning. There were couples reading the newspaper together, tourists, prams, hipsters waiting for coffee to takeaway, babies giggling and what it seemed to be a fair amount of locals languishing around nursing hangovers and catching up about debauchery experienced from the previous evening. At least that is what I overheard after we were seated in the outdoor eating area after about a three minute wait.
Provided the weather is accommodating, the patio is a great place to hang out. You are not cramped and you feel not only welcome but are immediately relaxed. Perhaps living in the CBD essentially I do not get the opportunity to dine under a tree that sheds pollen so it was a new experience for me which I found it idyllic. An oasis of sorts. Fortunately the pollen only ended up entangled in my hair and not in my breakfast or coffee which I would ultimately order.
After being escorted to our table, a coffee order was quickly made. After walking to South Melbourne from Southbank, I was fiending for coffee so I was hypersensitive to the wait. It seemed like ages until it arrived however with the amount of people enqueued for takeaway coffee and every other table seemingly ordering it, I could understand the delay. It was well worth the wait though and the large long black recharged me in no time.
After waiting for coffee, we ordered Le Grand Petit Déjeuner ($19.50) which is what we normally refer to as The Big Breakfast. The usual suspects were included when the food came out, about 20 minutes after ordering. The poached eggs were not only prepared perfectly, they looked great and I would discover that in the few seconds that it took me to devour them, they tasted great. The sausages were minted and pleasant for relaxing breakfast. The rosti was unique. It was not quite a hash brown but a lightly fried variant which was certainly giving me the foundations for the beer that I intended to consume later in the pub. Interesting enough, the highlight for me which brought all of the flavours together and actually gave me an idea for something that I can easily prepare at home that would not only entertain but intrigue is the "smashed avacado" with a feta cheese infusion. This was a new blend of sorts for me and I found it amazing. It brought together all of the elements in this big breakfast and made it very enjoyable.
As I was streaming the cricket broadcast to my phone, we were in no rush to leave so we ordered more coffee. Another 20 minute wait yielded another cup however they brought out a small cup this time instead of repeating my order for a large cup. I watched the queue for the restaurant form in the laneway and people get anxious about their wait. It seems we lucked out however the wait propagates throughout your experience at Chez Dré. If you are interested in quick service or being able to rock up and be seated quickly, this is probably not the place that you want to frequent but if you are instead more interested in the quality of food, enjoying the ancient art of socialising and actually taking advantage of spending time with others unencumbered by the stress of schedules, I would highly recommend Chez Dré.
Whilst waiting to pay (notice the overarching theme) I was able to enjoy free tastes of cheesecake that was on offer, temping you to order desserts and treats to takeaway from their extensive display cabinet. I thought the quality of the sample was divine and I look forward to sampling some other items from the cabinet next time around.
285-287 Coventry Street
South Melbourne VIC 3205
(03) 9690 2688
South Melbourne VIC 3205
My Rating: 12.5/20
Value For Money: 3/5
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com
When I made this post originally, 88% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon liked Chez Dré.