Tag Archives: South Melbourne

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

south side sprawl – rampant consumerism


I take a good while to make a decision to purchase expensive items. I labour over the decision in my head; I weigh up the pros and cons. Usually the pros amount to “I want this new piece of shiny and it’d make me feel happy” and the cons “fleeting happiness is not edible and will not provide sustenance in the absence of food”.

The ‘pro’ argument tends to get louder the longer I obsess. But let’s be honest, I eat too much as it is! What’s a little self-inflicted starvation for the sake of a new shiny?

My latest internal ‘struggle’ was over the purchase of a new fancy-pants lens. I had tortured Gem with insentient talk of the damned thing for months. She was a good sport about the whole thing — she managed to constrain her homicidal mutterings to sleep talk. Well that, and there may have been a few failed smothering attempts. But I digress.

Finally, I gave in and I purchased the beauty.

Then I waited for it to arrive.

And waited.

And. Waited.

Then, after many a passive-aggressive tête-à-tête between myself and the retailer, the lens arrived! To celebrate, a South Side Sprawl was in order. You, the reader, I hope, rejoices.

After scouting Urbanspoon and reading Jeroxie’s review, Claypots Evening Star was decided upon. After some initial confusion in regards to the location due to gross enduncedness on my part, I found the restaurant. I was playing hookie from work and Melbourne was less of a petulant shit than normal, allowing the sun to make an appearance.

the bar

After attracting a glass of Gilgamesh riesling ($7 a glass) I took in the ohm-bee-ants of the place. Mr Dylan’s spastic harmonica was blaring from the loudspeakers and  the aforementioned ‘skylight of the Gods’ was providing  a good view of the kitchen. The kitchen bisects the restaurant and gives diners a view of the urgency in the kitchen and the madness of a busy service. A nice touch.

cooking working hard for the money

After responsibly imbibing inhaling my initial riesling and ordering another, Bob Dylan was replaced by a piano player. A lovely lunch time treat that’s repeated on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. In addition to piano, diners can except one side of the restaurant to be closed off, allowing a band to play and an ad-hoc dance floor to function.


After my brief but intoxicating relaxation period, I resumed my delicious mission, deciding on the garlic clams and bread and fish. I had arrived along with the lunch time rush. Judging by the frantic and often raised voices emanating from the kitchen, I think they may still be finding their collective stride. As such, my food took longer than I would have expected, but it was a lovely day and the wine was doing the trick.

chilli clamschilli clamschilli clams
















Above show the clams in various states of undress. They were wonderful, with a lovely chilli kick and chargrilled smokiness balanced by the freshness of the coriander. Unfortunately the one piece of bread was not nearly enough to mop up the broth, with the delicious concoction seemingly taunting me from the bottom of the bowl. At $12 it was a generous serving size, and it has me in the mood for more clams. Speaking of clams, the clam chowder seemed to be a crowd favourite amongst fellow diners.

bread and fish

While I could have quite happily stopped at the garlic clams, I’m glad I had the bread and fish. Throughout my childhood I was tortured with my mother’s overcooked trevally. Fortunately for me her sadistic streak rarely surfaced. Even so, I was sufficiently scarred that I avoided the aforementioned fish, errantly assuming the fish to be bland, rather than blaming its heavy-handed preparation.

Fortunately this was nothing like the trevally of my childhood — meaty and perfectly seasoned, it was the star of the dish. The bread was fairy floss fluffy with the onion and lettuce providing a nice textural contrast, if not a lot flavourwise.




One side of the kitchen is skirted by display cases showing the day’s fish and tapas offerings. You really get the impression of the seafood being super fresh, almost like you’re sourcing the fish direct from the a fishmonger. Unsurprising given the restaurant’s location in the South Melbourne market.

Lunch was finished and I had to vacate with new camera lens in hand. I was slightly rueful that I had dined solo. Unfortunately I didn’t have the extra dining companions required to (shamelessly) indulge in further gluttony. Next time I won’t make the same mistake.


Claypots Evening Star on Urbanspoon

south side sprawl – eat with relish

Welcome to the new and exciting blog series from your friends at Eat, Drink, Stagger. Well, new, at the least.

Why am I not surprised that something so logical and simple took me so long to think of — perform a blanket review of all* eateries around my workplace (South Melbourne) on a weekly basis. To start with, I reviewed Relish, an old favourite that I’ve be going to for far longer than I’ve been an obnoxious foodie type. Back to the beginning.

Eat the burger then chips?
Eat the chips then burger?
Eat some of chips and some of the burger?
Sauce with your chips? Beside the chips? On the chips?

Mind. Blown.

The combinations are endless. The existential nausea is…nauseating.

Personally, I like to eat my chips first, then the burger. I sauce them up and then dig in. My theory is that chips are best eaten hot and crisp while their oily texture is an assest rather than an encumbrance.

Of course, this leaves me with a cold burger. Nobody’s perfect.

Daniel, my co-worker and burger buddy isn’t shackled to any particular burger-chip ideology. He is happy eating burger then chips, chips then burger and everything in between. Oh, to be free and easy.

Before you even get to these life changing decisions, you must order. Sacré bleu!

Fortunately my dining companion and I can rarely pass up the special of the day — usually a burger, chips and drink combo. If you do decide to stray from the specials board (heaven forbid!), you’ll find all the standard cafe fare of focaccias, wraps et al. They also do a decent coffee, using Coffee Supreme.

The vast majority of the burgers share a common ingredient, relish (hence the cafe’s name). I had thought it a needless point of difference from other burgers and other burger joints —  a nod to the name without any real thought. Then, on my last visit a change in the relish of Relish (ha!). The relish had improved. Either that, or my affinity for the preserved has strengthened. Whatever the reason, I found the relish delicious. Marmaladesque with a lovely smoky flavour.

If you’re looking for a burger hit in South Melbourne, and want something other than Grill’d, give Relish a look.

Relish on Urbanspoon

* Given that I am a man of limited resources, I will by necessity restrict my reviews to the more interesting places. Shame, I was really looking forward to reviewing the Coffee Club.