Mon – Thur: 5pm – late
Fri – Sun: 8:00am – late (breakfast finishes 12:30pm)
“Mohammad and that mountain. We have all heard the saying, “if you can’t bring Mohammad to the mountain, then you bring the mountain to Mohammad”. From my limited research and understanding, Mohammad with his followers had fought an ugly battled on Mount Uhud against the Meccan forces. With the story being passed down for generations, the saying has become quite symbolic. One could say that the Melbourne food culture is a Mohammad and mountain story, as the great migrations and proud multi-cultural society has given Melbourne an ample variety of cuisines. There is the well established and affirmed Italian and Greek culture,with an emerging trend toward Mexican and Middle Eastern cuisines. One restaurant at the forefront of Middle Eastern food at Albert park is Kamel and who also do brunch.
Kamel is located in the picturesque suburb of Albert Park, residing amongst cute cafes and shops on Cardigan Place. There is ample seating inside and outside of the restaurant with modern Middle Eastern decor and a lovely red theme. It’s even more beautiful at night where seating out the front is littered with fairy lights around the surrounding trees. Kamel is suited well for both small and large groups, which is a plus for large brunch loving groups.
Camels are known to go the distance with little more than water and a guide to direct them in the correct destination. Today people (or me at least) only need coffee to put them in the right direction of a given task and yes you guessed it, a long black [$3.50] was ordered. The coffee here was done by Genovese which was a let down for me, however, the general feedback from the rest of the group seemed to be positive. My coffee came with an incomplete head, but it was otherwise nice. There was no really flavour to this coffee but once the initial bitterness had settled the coffee became more enjoyable to drink.
The brunch menu at Kamel looked alluring and innovative with inspiring Middle Eastern Flavours. In hindsight I would have ordered the Turkish Breakfast- cold boiled eggs with cumin salt, fresh tomato, cucumber, marinated olives, feta & Turkish Bread [$14]. However, I had made a rookie mistake and played the safe card, opting for Baked eggs in spicy tomatoes, turkish sujuk & roasted capsicum sauce with warm Turkish bread [$16.50].
My first reaction was ‘wow’, there is a lot of sauce. They had been very generous with the quantity, but being so saucy it had diluted the Middle Eastern flavours. The spicy tomatoes and Turkish sujuk could be tasted on the surface, however once I started eating the dish the spices were lost. The fresh Turkish bread was a nice addition to eat with the sauce and the eggs were prepared well. It was an okay meal, but once the egg had been consumed it just felt like I was eating tomato soup.
Brunch at Kamel seemed to be a bit of a hit or miss. The coffee was ordinary but the vanilla milkshake was amazing. My brunch dish didn’t quite seem to work, but others where very impress. I’m not writing off Kamel as I believe it would be a fantastic place for dinner. However, their brunch does need improvement.”
“It was time for another group brunch, this time at Albert Park’s Kamel. Toy, The Doctor, Mr D and others all arrived within a respectable 15 minutes from our original 11am start, snagging a large table in the courtyard behind the restaurant. I’d wanted to come here for a while, stumbling upon this place online and convinced it would interesting with its strange and exotic sounding menu.With options like Ethiopian spiced fruit & yoghurt toast with butter [$6.50] and Tomatoes stuffed with pine nuts, haloumi, olives, herbed crumbs on spinach [$13] it sounded like it would be a real thrill!
As we joked and laughed around the table, a lady came to take our orders. I was in the mood for something healthy and not too heavy, opting for the Kamel Eggs 1# poached eggs with fattoush salad– cherry tomatoes, capsicum, turkish croutons, herbs [$14]. The menu prompts no alterations can be made to any of the ‘Kamel Eggs’ selections, so just be aware if you’re a picky eater! Toy’s partner ordered a milkshake with his meal, and when it came out we were all envious of him. How dare he have something so delicious that the rest of us never thought of!
Mine was one of the first few meals to come out, and it looked so fresh and vibrant. As all the meals came out bar two, we began to suspect that meals were forgotten by the kitchen. Staff picked this up after about 5 minutes… a docket mix up had occurred and they quickly got around to putting a priority order on the forgotten meals. We found out later that they were kind enough to omit them from the bill.
Now, back to my salad. My eggs were slightly overcooked but still gooey, dripping over my crisp and crunchy salad. The flavours of parsley cut through this dish, refreshing my palate and readying it for the crunchy cucumbers and juicy cherry tomatoes. The croutons were so well cooked that I couldn’t cut them with my knife, nor pick them up with my fork. I delicately handled the golden brown bread as it crackled in my mouth. Yum! If only the others were enjoying their meals as much…
The Doctor (who had ordered the same as Mr LB add hash brown [3.5])spent the majority of her meal, complaining about how disgusting her hash brown was, and I don’t blame her! It looked like a piece of meat on the side of her plate. Both she and Mr LB complained of how soupy the dish was as well.
Toy said her Kamel Eggs 3# poached eggs on smashed avocado toast topped with macadamia dukkah [15.50] was nice, but nothing particularly special.
Mr D ate his Kamel Eggs 5# hump breakfast – 2 poached eggs, bacon, mushroom, spinach & stuffed tomato [$18] so fast we’re weren’t sure whether or not it came out of the kitchen, if it wasn’t for the below photo evidence!
Mark’s dish actually looked pretty good – Spanish omelette with chorizo, potato, olives, red capsicum, red onion and toast [$15].
Toy’s partner ordered the Big blueberry pancake with maple syrup [$12.50] with extra ice cream on the side (no charge). I did manage to have a cheeky taste of it and dear me, it was rich! The pancakes were heavy and buttery and the blueberries were mildly lost within the richness of the dish. While it was delicious, I definitely would not have been able to finish it had it been my order.
Overall, responses around the table were mixed. I thought my meal was perfect for my mood, while others were dissatisfied with their selection and presentation. We were a little neglected out the back of the cafe, but not as bad as when we were at Orange. Would I come back? Hmm… probably not. Was it worth the visit? I’d like to think so. While I didn’t walk away from the venue thinking it was ‘the next big thing’, Kamel offered an interesting menu that definitely reflected its Middle Eastern heritage.”
Final thought: “If you go, make sure you select a Middle-Eastern brunch. Don’t play it safe.”