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It had been too long since my first visit to Chez Dré, so after seeing news of their new spring and summer menu pop up on my newsfeed, and a scheduled brunch date with Dr M, I decided to revisit the South Melbourne eatery for our brunch session.
It was a gorgeous day on Sunday - one of those days that was ACTUALLY deserving of its springtime status - but it also meant that the streets of South Melbourne were filled with people out and about on brunch runs. We hastened our pace upon noticing this, but still found ourselves facing a 30-minute wait for a table. With a waiting area outside in the sunshine, we were more than happy to sit and get our doses of vitamin D.
More shots of the converted warehouse interior, and the sweets on offer.
A flat white for Dr M, and an apple, mango and passionfruit juice for me.
Dr M thought her coffee was not at all bitter, and possessed a rich creaminess that made it very enjoyable to drink.
Grand petit dejeuner - poached eggs on sourdough, roasted herb potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, slow roasted tomato, avocado and tomato relish.
The grand petit dejeuner (vegetarian version also available) was essentially a gourmet version of a big breakfast. Each element was cooked and flavoured well. The avocado stood out in particular thanks to its strong presence of zesty lemon.
As for the poached eggs? Check out the magnificent ooze of that egg yolk… Both eggs had been poached to perfection, giving rise to a sea of orange as soon as they were pierced open.
Braised mushroom ragu - swisse, field and button mushrooms, soft parmesan polenta, a poached egg and truffle oil.
The dish was not only stunning to look at, but it also got my olfactory senses going into overdrive with its sensational aroma of truffle oil wafting from the plate. And while the truffle flavour could be detected in all bites, the careful balance of ingredients ensured that it did not overpower all the other components. The mushrooms were well seasoned, and its natural earthy flavours shined. My previous encounters with polenta hadn’t been great, but the smooth and congee-like texture of the polenta in this dish, alongside its creamy flavour, gave the polenta (and the overall dish) two thumbs up.
Lychee, raspberry and coconut.
Much like the previous desserts I have tried from Chez Dré, this dessert was absolutely stunning. Presented as an orange bulb, its true beauty laid inside, with several different layers. I spent a good ten minutes trying to work my way through the different layers, and I’m quite proud to say that I managed to tease apart most of the elements. I picked up a desiccated coconut sponge, sour raspberry jelly, lemon creme cheese (similar to cheese cake), coconut flesh, lychee jelly, a lychee mousse dome and sweet, berry jelly. In one bite: the coconut and raspberry dominated, while the lychee playfully lingered in the background.
Mango and passionfruit St Honore.
Again, no disappointments here. Sporting two different types of pastry, the base was comprised of a gorgeously flaky pastry, while the sides were made up of a light choux. The inside was filled with a sweet but tart passionfruit creme that complemented the sweetness from the mango jelly and the airy, light mango mousse perfectly. The subtle flavour of ginger in the marshmallows and the savouriness of the black sesame seeds brought a unique wow factor that cleverly enhanced the flavours of the fruity elements.
I didn’t think it was possible given how impressed I was with my first visit, but I think my second visit to Chez Dre may have actually trumped the first! Both our savoury and sweet selections delighted our palates to such an extent that I ended up mentally kicking myself for going almost two years between this and the last visit. Chez Dre, I will be back much, much sooner than that for visit number three!
287 Coventry St,
South Melbourne, Victoria, 3205.
(03) 9690 2688