Down the road from Melbourne favourites including Estelle Bistro, Barry and Shoku Iku—Camus is the latest eye-catching venue to grace High Street. And boy, is he a looker.
The menu nods to head chef Pierre Khodja’s Algerian roots, but champion’s classical French cooking techniques to create one of the most vibrant menus in Northcote. After all, a little extra butter has never hurt anyone amirite?
You’ll have to remind yourself that sharing is caring when the seared scallops with creamy, gently spiced Jerusalem artichoke puree hits the table. Generously portioned calamari stuffed with herby prawns swims in a rich, mildly floral sauce and is served with a wafer-thin mushroom borak. Expect it to swim into one of your future foodie daydreams very shortly.
Whole baked snapper served with okra and chermoula can be a tad fiddly (particularly if you’re on that coveted first date and refuse to spit out fish bones in front of your soon-to-be-hubby), but it’s worth the effort for silky soft, perfectly cooked fish. Algerian Paella and Duck Bastilla with almonds and fruit chutney are also ideal for sharing. We recommend letting your date chatter away so you have more time to spoon forkfuls of fragrant, deliciously herby food.
Sides take a well-deserved spot on the foodie podium at Camus, with dishes like cinnamon caramelised onions, corn and macaroni cheese you’ll inevitably wistfully attempt (and fail) to cook at home. Crushed potato, lemon and za’atar beat (dare we say it) your mum’s Sunday roast.
Dessert may cause mild heart palpitations, with options like peach tart with blueberry ice cream, chocolate plates and vanilla panna cotta testing your decision-making skills. If you’re determined to see this one through as an adult (and limit desserts to one), gun for the Turkish delight soufflé with pistachio baklava and halva ice cream. It’s essentially a campfire-roasted marshmallow in the form of a pillow-soft, puffy, barbie-pink soufflé, I MEAN CAN YOU THINK OF ANYTHING GREATER?
Wine is the focus at Camus, with a curated international list featuring European wines. A handful of cocktails and beer are also on offer.
The modern, rustic interior features an eclectic mix of textures. From open brick walls to clean white tiles and industrial black shelves featuring behind the bar—the space is warm but polished.
We highly recommend booking yourself a table and sitting your butt down on one of the sleek leather stools that dot the timber floor. If you really want to impress, see how many times you can slip in that it’s pronounced “ka-MOO” not “cam-mus”.
Image credit: Griffin Simm