Sunday, September 17, 2017

Camus

Disclosure - I was invited to dine as a guest of the restaurant. All comments, opinions are my own.

“Where are we going for dinner?”

“Camus - it’s French Algerian.” 

Cue funny look from Brad to which I shrug my shoulders in response. 

We don’t often go out for dinner these days, as I’m often out at events all week, or catching up with friends, so by the time Friday or Saturday rolls around, I’m curled up in a foetal position on the couch wrapped around a bowl of ice-cream. 

So when the opportunity came up to visit Camus, despite not knowing what we were getting into, I couldn’t wait to check it out. 

In interviews with the media, Chef Pierre Khodja describes his cuisine as Algerian, with all the spices and flavours of North Africa, but tidied up with French technique.



Located in Northcote, the restaurant is softly lit and cosy, with mouth watering aromas wafting through the venue. The bar at the front is perfect for a first date drink and nibble (well I think it would be, I’ve been off the market for seven years so what do I know?) 



The level of hospitality expertise is obvious, as waiters effortlessly get us seated and keep the pace of the night consistent with a smile and professional ease. 

The menu is not too long, but just long enough that you can’t order everything on the menu, despite every item on it begging to be ordered. 



Don’t get too carried away with ordering though, because you will want to have some space for the bread, which is served with some of the most moreish dukkah I’ve ever had. I cheekily even asked for a second serve of it because it was so good. 





We start with seared scallops, oxtail and preserved lemon and 2 way cooked sardines with checkchuka. I have not had more perfectly cooked scallops, so tender! Both dishes demonstrated a lot of thought and technique, but were also big, warm and comforting dishes overall. 



For mains, we ordered the slow cooked goat with caramelised onions and apricot. The goat was so tender, falling off the bone. Goat meat can be quite strong, but I didn’t find that was the case here, and was very impressed with the pairing with apricot. These must’ve been stewed for a while, so naturally sweet and soft, which balanced out the meat very nicely.




To accompany the goat we ordered macaroni and cheese with cinnamon, caramelised onions and corn. Label me smitten - I think this might be my favourite macaroni and cheese in town. I find a lot of mac n’ cheese you find at american diners are more about the richness, with macaroni soft, and the overall dish just walloping you with creaminess - not at Camus. 

I was impressed that the macaroni was still al dente, that there was still texture to the pasta,  and the cheese. Oh goodness! It didn’t just have a creamy mouthfeel, it tasted like beautifully rich and matured cheese which I loved. Could, would, eat two plates of this by myself. 



The local roast carrots with caraway and honey were also a sheer delight, beautifully tender, and the sweetness of the honey really coming through and elevating the natural sweetness of the carrots as well. I’m such a sucker for a good roasted carrot. 





To finish, it of course had to be the Turkish delight shuffle with pistachio baklava and halva ice-cream. The soufflé came out flawlessly, airy and light, with a light hand on the rose water, so it wasn’t overwhelming. Would have a second serve of the halva ice-cream in the future as well (if they’d let me). 



I had a serve of Algerian mint tea with dessert, which may initially seem like a lot for $8, but the pot you receive is ginormous! I really enjoyed the tea, which was a little sweeter than your usual straight mint tea, and another flavour I can’t put my finger on, but it’s a little richer overall. I wished I could’ve sipped on this all evening - but I was so full! Definitely recommend ordering to share - unfortunately Brad’s not a big tea drinker. 

Camus is a wonderful and refreshingly new addition to the Melbourne scene. From service, to food, everything made for a wonderful mid-week date night spot. 

61 High Street 
Northcote

Camus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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