Tag Archives: brunch

south side sprawl – it’s not pronounced Bolognese

It’s not pronounced Bolognese. My semester of French tells me that much.

Boo-lounge-err-ree? Not sure that’s right either.I should have paid more attention in class, dagnabbit!

However it’s pronounced, Chez Dré patisserie boulangerie is a welcome addition to the South Melbourne lunch scene.

Once up the alley-way, and through the snaking entrance, you are presented with a remarkably large and bright space. A beautiful purpose-built kitchen is on display for diners to peak through at the madness. The brain child pastry chef Andrea Reiss (who like my EDS co-conspirator, Gem, is also a mestizo).  If you feel so inclined, you can view the transformation on Chez Dré’s previous website.

Given this is part of the South Side Sprawl ‘series’ of posts, I was eating during my lunch hour, and again convinced my workmate Daniel to lunch with me. After the required uming and ahing, and consuming of a short black and latte, we selected our dishes. While I didn’t catch the blend used, the coffee was solid.

Daniel, having recently made a Moroccan salad at  home, decided to contrast his with Chez Dre’s offering.

While I didn’t get to taste it, Daniel found it a little unexciting – he was a fan of the chutney, but thought it needed more points of interest to liven it up. It did also look a little messy from the other side of the table.

To continue the midday Moroccan madness!, I went with Moroccan-style baked eggs. I’ve had many a ‘nom-time’ experience with baked eggs at places like Big Dish, and this was no exception. The minted yoghurt provided a nice cut through the acidity of the tomato base. My only minor gripe was the eggs were slightly overdone.

On a previous visit I had the ploughman’s lunch – a hearty affair, with its terrine being the highlight for me.

Despite the fact that I nearly killed a co-worker last time I brought macarons to the office (damned anaphylaxis!), I somehow managed
to saunter out to lunch with petty cash to buy macarons. Apparently macaron lust knows no limits.

Securing two of each of the day’s flavours, they were quickly disseminated to my fellow office dwellers. Unfortunately, I can’t remember all the flavours (marmalade, chocolate, salted caramel…and…and…two others) but I do remember they were all well received. While I don’t necessarily agree with all the hype in the foodie world surrounding macarons, I am a massive sucker for a good one. While I don’t have a great ‘palate’ for the subtleties of macarons, these ticked all the boxes – crisp outer shell, soft but not chewy inner shell, and balanced and flavoursome filling. For me they are on par with the well thought of La Belle Miette.

I do believe I will be back, with my mestizo other-half.

Chez Dré on Urbanspoon

it only takes seven seeds to yield visits aplenty

I miss Alex.

Seven Seeds interior

There, I admitted it.

Months and months of trawling through random bits of paper and I found a (deliberately) silly poem I wrote about Lenin, Russia and global warming on a receipt. On the other half, I found coffee blends and single origins he’d recommended to me and realised I missed him quite a bit, despite having seen a fair bit of him for some serious fat bastardry in Hong Kong this January just passed (he’s actually a killer karaoke singer – wouldn’t have picked that).

Though Alex looks to give the impression that he’d be the first person in the world to possibly accidentally offend you, one of the things I’ve always admired about him is that if you straight-up say “I have no knowledge of <insert appropriate topic here>” then he is happy to share the knowledge he’s acquired in said area.

I’d initially met him at a Libertine pigfest that I’d somehow successfully managed to arrange and so we got to chat more via that dreaded microblogging social platform and confessed, look, I can’t drink a lot of coffee due to side effects of meds AND idiot IBS, but I want to learn more. Care to help a nigga out?

Seven Seeds, back counter

Thus, he took me to Seven Seeds and my coffee initiation begun.

Seven Seeds counter

I think that date we had four or so coffees each – I had as much as I knew my body would handle – espresso, the Magic (a double ristretto in case Courtney crucifies me for referring to it as thus), Clover, long black.

the 'magic'

Clover coffee

Man, why didn’t Seven Seeds exist when I was actually still at bloody uni? No matter, I was stuck in a soulless job just round the corner (though many of my bosses and coworkers were rad) and it became my pre-work ritual to pick up a soy Magic with the SS house blend. Pretty sure that their soy Magics are what kept me sane. I remember negotiating door, takeaway coffee and various things in hands and once dropping said takeaway coffee on floor. People from another project rushed to my aid but it wasn’t the humiliation, it was the sheer loss of wondrous caffeine goodness that I most lamented. Screw my dignity.

squee! bikes!

On the more common occasions, I’d show up with a grin (don’t worry, the grin wouldn’t be around for too long after), sipping my precious. “Where did you get that?” my favourite team leader would ask. “Oh, Seven Seeds, just up the road a bit…” and after explaining just how far, it was vetoed as a work coffee run place due to being too far.

Oh, did I mention they do great nibblies too? I never feel lonely eating here by myself – the staff are always so lovely and happy to explain the coffee to you till the moment of epiphany hits. Here’s one of the heartier baked beany type meals I had. Infinite comfort food.


If you want something more breakfasty rather than brunchy, then how about granola?

granola with berry compote and honeyed yoghurt

Or if you’ve survived an onslaught with the public and private health system (as I seem to be doing of late) and are feeling like a treat, then go with the special of the day – smoked salmon, radish, red onion, watercress, rocket and mixed salad with creme fraiche dressing – salut, Monsieur Decadence.

smoked salmon, radish, red onion, watercress, rocket and mixed salad with creme fraiche dressing

If you can’t eat in, then why not grab a takeaway coffee and some delectable snacky-wacks? I admit these were initially chosen due to their looks but they most certainly did not disappoint. You can see they are divided exactly down the middle so no one has to fight for their share…

flourless mandarin cake & hummingbird cake with takeaway coffee

It’s not just a Carlton institution, it’s a coffee institution. Still feels weird to visit now that Alex isn’t in Melbourne anymore, but it’s a treasured haunt.

just general Seven Seeds prettiness

Seven Seeds on Urbanspoon

back to school…sort of

I’ve not been blogging much of late as the stress of the festive season caught up with me a little. I’ve also been laid off and trips for wonderful culinary experiences are limited due to severe lack of funds. However, of late a bunch of us have been meeting for pre-work coffees, well, for those who have jobs at least. For me, it’s been a post-yoga treat.

The current barista at our chosen spot isn’t too friendly (admittedly, just with me) so on this particular day when I found out Tristan and possibly J wasn’t able to make it to our morning coffee date, I decided to hit up Earl Canteen.

It was closed! Gasp!

Not to worry, the fairly new Tuck Shop came to the rescue.

Tuck Shop sign

It’s situated inside 500 Bourke Street unlike Earl which is in the courtyard. It’s a pretty stylish set-up with cute touches. There is also lots of seating. Here’s a view with just a little of the seating on show.


My Dickensian (only by food blog wankster standards, let’s face it) allowed for some organic yoghurt with berries and compote: mouth-puckeringly sour berries were a lovely mix with the creamy, slightly sweet yoghurt. Pretty bloody generous serving too! I love the sturdy wooden spoons.

organic yoghurt with berries and compote

I ordered a soy latte, reasoning that if it was okay, I’d go a long black next time (yep, thinking of future ‘research’ trips already). Wonderfully strong and not sure what soy milk they’re using but was glad the coffee cut through it. Sometimes soy milk is a little too rich. Pretty annoying I have to drink it at all but whatcha gonna do when you’ve got pesky Asian genes. In any case, silly me, as if Sensory Lab coffee is going to let people down!

pretty soy latte

I’m looking forward to trying the more substantial items on the menu – namely the chickpea offering. The school cafeteria all grown up! I didn’t have one of those at my schools in Australia and am more used to the British ones which served you slop or other unhealthy things. Even the Doctor doesn’t trust those chips… I still remember being served a revolting custard-rhubard slush which looked horrible, but tasted passable! Kind of amusing to think that 75p in an envelope could feed you for a week though!

Also, is it my imagination or is the previously very businessy-not-foodie end of the Melbourne CBD getting radder? I’m finding myself alighting at Flagstaff Station more in the last few months to seek out good food and beverages.