On Saturday night we arranged to have dinner with my Queensland-dwelling aunt, Marie, while she was visiting Melbourne for a conference. I wasn't particularly enthused by the dining options in the vicinity of her hotel and hit on Kamel as a better alternative - it's classy, won't break the bank and has plenty of veg-friendly plates to share.
We were so overwhelmed by choice last time that I knew we'd not have to repeat anything we had ordered then. Yet I couldn't resist revisiting the pistachio crumbed goats cheese with fig paste and Turkish bread ($14.50). It's a very tasty opener.
Next to the table were two plates. First, a carrot and chickpea salad with fresh coriander and honey brittle almonds ($10). This was actually my least favourite of the night - I found it too sour/bitter - but Michael like it a lot. Second was roasted spiced chat potatoes with honey, fenugreek and spring onions ($9); soft, sweet and fragrant.
Our last savoury dish arrived later and I was too busy chatting and eating by then to think to photograph it! The broccolini with peri peri butter and roasted almonds ($10) was a crowd-pleaser, though - buttery with a spicy kick and lots of nutty crunch.
Finally, we agreed to share the Turkish sweet plate ($12.50). Although it was intended to be shared between two people, even the three of us couldn't conquer it! Clockwise from the front, it features two pieces of Turkish delight (in different colours/flavours), a huge mound of pismaniye (Turkish fairy floss), two pieces of baklava (one of the nicest I've tasted), and two scoops each of halva and Turkish delight flavoured ice creams. This plate of quality sweets is great value for money, and worth ordering to share around a group. With less mouths to feed, I'd particularly recommend a single order of one of the ice creams. They were a revelation to me, with pure delicate flavours and a refreshing texture.
It was unexpected and lovely to share a meal with Marie in our adopted home town, and Kamel was the lovely venue I expected for the occasion.
(You can read of our previous serendipitous visit to Kamel here.)