For an establishment that is tucked away in a little side alley off Coventry street, Chez Dre in South Melbourne is a bustling hub. A short stroll from South Melbourne market, this café/patisserie is a welcome reward after the arduous weekly grocery shop. Chez Dre serves all day breakfast as well as lunch, but the real lure is the pastry case - which is hard to describe without using expletives. Let’s just say it’s pretty darn impressive. This isn’t surprising considering owner Andrea (‘Dre’) Reiss is a renowned pastry chef who has worked in Michelin starred restaurants in France. Do yourself a favour and get a rich chocolate éclair. While you’re at it, get a smooth zesty lemon tart. Stop there if you have the willpower.
The interior is a haphazard mixture of styles, but with Dre's cakes hogging the spotlight, you probably wouldn't notice if the whole place was decked out in leopard print. A wrought iron trellis adorns the entry, French sticks on the bar state Dre's trade and exposed copper-pipes and cables on the roof lend it an industrial feel. But the most prominent feature is the massive open kitchen with many a busy pastry chef inside, visible through long glass windows. Another attention grabbing is the massive bar with two espresso machines – and did we mention the pastries? Chez Dre isn’t trying to be a trendy shabby-chic basement café with the standard collection of eclectic op-shop sourced items, it’s a high volume café and it carries this off very well.
The breakfast menu is more extensive than the lunch menu but both have plenty of selections. Try the Moroccan baked eggs (17.50), a simple breakfast sourdough with a generous serve of creamy scrambled eggs (9.50) or the range of baguettes (Half size 6.00, large 12.00). Immaculately presented cakes, pastries, macaroons (4 in a pack) are around $8.00, to be devoured in-house or taken away.
If you’re around South Melbourne, Chez Dre is definitely worth a drop in, and if you're a good half hour away- make a detour.