Saturday, September 30, 2017


Brad turned 30 this year. 

Sure, we all know age is just a number, but since we’ve been dating for more than 7 years, it’s amazing to think how different we are as 30 year old people (or almost 30 in my case) versus when we were 21. 

Brad had a much lower tolerance for stupidity, I was petrified of answering the phone. Now Brad’s mellowed out a bit (he still doesn’t tolerate stupidity, but he’s not as vocal as he used to be), and I’m…well, I still don’t really like answering the phone but I’ve definitely embraced my extrovert ways much more.

One thing that hasn’t changed over the years though, is our shared love of Japanese food - one of our topics of conversations in our initial OkCupid conversations way back when. 

So, since you can actually make a booking, even on a Friday night, I decided to take Brad out to Kisume which was (and still is I guess) pretty new. 

Whilst previous ventures by the Lucas Group tend to be bright and bold in their branding, Kisume goes the other direction. Dark and minimalist, Kisume feels very Japanese, yet very Melbourne at the same time. 

There are two experiences at Kisume that you can have - the sushi omakase (which has looked incredible from what I can see on Instagram) or just go downstairs and have a more relaxed night of Japanese food. We had opted for the latter, and descended into the basement. 

In all honesty, I didn’t have incredibly high expectations - nor did I have low ones either. I probably expected it to be a bit overhyped as Melbourne tends to like to do, but ended up thoroughly enjoying my meal. 

We started the evening with a couple of drinks, before we got into some hot food. 

I was quite surprised at how generous the serving of kakiage tempura was, with whiting, prawn, mushroom, asparagus, eggplant, corn and three different salts. The tower of fried goodness was immaculately presented, and very tasty - well seasoned, lightly crunchy…and quite filling! 

Brad thoroughly enjoyed the hand stretched udon noodles, in a bonito broth I think. We always get a carb dish for Brad when we head out as a strategic way to ensure that he’s full by the end of the meal! 

The noodles were beautiful, gorgeous in texture and gently springy. I remember loving the umami rich broth and interrupting Brad’s noodle slurping numerous times to scoop up more soup. 

The crispy wagyu truffles were one of the highlights of the meal for me - if only you got more than one each! These dense little black balls are so crunchy on the outside, but so tender and moreish on the inside. Richly truffled - who doesn’t love that, and just oozing out with melted cheesiness. Swoon!

Not many Japanese meals in Melbourne are complete without some sushi - and it took us a while to decide what we wanted to do. In the end, since it was his birthday, we opted for the deluxe feature box, which seems a bit steep at around $175 initially, but once you try to finish all of it? Well, okay, it’s actually a lot of food!

The deluxe feature box is a bento box with two layers of sushi and sashimi, with the first level covering most of your traditional options, beautifully scored salmon, delicate ebi, tuna and scallops. 

The second layer though - is where it’s not very traditionally Japanese, but it is very fun, very delicious and a little extra luxe. Intensely spicy tuna on cucumber stands, wagyu with a touch of truffle, lush slices of ootoro and my favourite - mackerel. 

Worth it. 

To finish, it had to be the hazelnut dacquoise that’s been making the rounds on Instagram looking like a pokeball (which I totally love). A beautiful red reflective glaze, encases a smooth and delightful dark chocolate mousse, with a frangelico centre that just pours out once you hit it. I love the textural transition, and the lightness the frangelico centre brings to the palate to mix up the flavours. 

Although I don’t usually like chef’s table menus - as I’m a bit of a control freak, but I was pretty impressed by the table of girls next to us who seemed to be continuously inundated with food. Would consider trying it myself next time. 

In all - we had a really enjoyable meal at Kisume. No, it won’t win awards for being the most traditional or even the best Japanese in town (although I’ve met people who’ve done the omakase who might argue otherwise) but I certainly would be happy to recommend it to anyone looking for a tasty and fun night out. 

175 Flinders Lane
Melbourne 3000

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

Sunday, September 17, 2017


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 

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