We walked into what appears to be a cosy and buzzy neighbourhood restaurant. The first waiter I catch the eye of doesn't offer to help nor does he greet us so I speak first and enquire about our reservation. He doesn't respond particularly warmly and says to me that I need to speak to someone else. Luckily that someone else promptly appears. I guess the roles and responsibilities are pretty clearly defined here and you don't do someone else's job but a warmer reception wouldn't have gone amiss.
Anyway, we're here for the food and not to make friends so let's continue...
Anyway, like I said we're here for the food rather than making lasting friendships and I've already digressed..
Our starters are:
- Marinated quail, radicchio, dry fruit salad, argan oil
- Seared scallops, oxtail, preserved lemon
And the food doesn't disappoint. The plates are presented attractively and there are some wonderful fragrances rising from them of spice and fruit. The tang of the pomegranates in the quail and the bitterness of the radicchio work a treat against sweet flesh of the little bird. The scallops are also delicious - sweet seafood against the rich meat of the oxtail and then the sharp saltiness of preserved lemon to lift it up.
- Braised beef tagine
- Duck bastilla, almonds, fruit chutney
- Crushed potato, lemon, za'atar (unpictured)
The beef tagine was exactly how it should be. Heady with spice and tender fork soft meat; no surprises but it's good to stick with classic. The duck bastilla was delicious and so pretty to look at. Packed full of meat and enhanced by the sweetness of the fruit chutney, it didn't feel dry in spite of there being no sauce.
We decided to share dessert and went with the Turkish Delight souffle, pistachio baklava, halva ice cream. The pretty pink souffle was gorgeous to look at and had the perfect cloud like texture, fragranced with Turkish Delight.
The souffle on its own was quite sweet but when eaten with the nutty baklava and delicate ice cream it was a revelation. This dessert comes together like a heavenly symphony and should become one of Melbourne's cult dishes.
We really enjoyed our meal at Camus and even the finishing three courses in just over an hour and the dodgy welcome wasn't too off putting. The food is good enough to overcome these flaws.