South Melbourne is a bit of a foodie haven, but there’s many places you won’t necessarily find unless you’re looking for them. Like St Alis, Chez Dre is in an alley way, come in from one side and you can go through their courtyard, from another laneway you can enter directly to the cafe.
You’ll find plenty of people enjoying the sunshine over a weekend, outside tables were scarce so we continued inside.
It’s impossible not to be immediately drawn to the expansive patisserie. There’s so much colour and shine and delicious things that you can see each new person entering drifting towards it without realising, children were doing what the rest of us surely wished we could, mouths open and face pressed up against the glass to get a better view. When we were able to drag ourselves away we went further around the corner to one of the last tables free. Despite being full, this is a cafe that has a feeling of freedom and spaciousness. There’s high ceilings, ample walkways and bright feature decor that draws the eye around the room.The menu is full of interesting and delicious things to choose from and it made for some difficult decisions. As it was peak brunch hour on a Sunday we found the service a little slow however by the time they came to take our coffee order we had also made our mind up for meals and were able to order immediately. Our coffees were creamy with a mellow flavour. It was nice but not as interesting or memorable as others we’ve had. First dish up was a wonderful brioche french toast with some over the top accompaniments! A chocolate crumb, mango, raspberry and strawberry (seasonable fruits) as well as caramelized macadamia, coconut meringue, chantilly and a lime and mango curd. It’s hard to know where to begin with this one, the toast was well done with the flaky brioche crust and buttery centre. Yum! The mango was ripe and fresh but the flavour was quite strong, it overwhelmed a little. That being said there was generally a good balance of both texture and flavour, the chocolate crumb was a standout. This was a dish to savour, the serving size so large that that you will certainly not go hungry! We also tried the quinoa and coconut porridge served with quince, pistachio praline, shaved coconut and chia seeds. We were really looking forward to it but honestly the coconut flavour was all we could really taste. It was a creamy dish and served hot, we just wished it had more flavour!
Chez Dre is another wonderful eatery in South Melbourne and those pastries will ensure we come back before too long!