Last week I met up with Lorraine, Celia and Tania at Bion Societe in Camperdown. The reason for the get-together was for no good reason at all except that the four of us hadn’t spent time together since the launch of Lorraine’s book an entire season ago, (almost two).
And due to demanding schedules (that would be Lorraine’s) we won’t be able to be in the same room for a long while to come.
So we decided to meet at a fairly new cafe in Camperdown. Driving to Camperdown always makes me nervous as I don’t know this inner-city suburb at all well but what I do know is that the streets are often one-way or ‘no right turn’ or closed for road works and even when you do find your way to your destination, there’s no parking.
Anyway, after pulling over twice and firstly asking a removalist company for directions (only to be given a total bum steer) I then pulled up (illegally) outside a saxophone shop and walked in and asked where the hell the cafe is. After some sensible instructions I found my way and the blessing is that there was plenty of parking. Except that it’s one-hour only so I had to keep my eye out for those pesky rangers only too keen to write out tickets.
Bion Societe is on the corner of Layton and Lambert Streets and is light and bright and on our almost final day of winter, it was warm and sunny. It’s a fairly small cafe that’s open for breakfast and lunch with an impressive menu.
Lorraine was running a little late and so rather than sit there and wait, we did the food blogger thing and got on with ordering. We decided to start with a plate of beer battered chips served with aioli. These were very good. It’s always such a relief to get a good chip and these were crispy with a great crunch – not blond or soggy.
We also ordered the mixed olives that were served warm in a bowl of olive oil but Tania did think the amount of olive oil made the olives look like they were swimming.
And then Lorraine arrived and yes, we’d saved her a couple of chips. We were pleased to see the breakfast menu is available all day and for a small cafe it had a lot of interesting and intriguing choices.
I ordered the Vol-Au-Vent that was filled with bacon, mushrooms, Spanish onion and ricotta with a poached egg. The Vol-Au-Vent pastry was made in-house and was lovely and light however sadly the poached egg was over-cooked. It’s hard not to let out a sigh of disappointment when you break open the egg and nothing oozes.
Tania ordered the Persian tuna salad with green beans, pomegranate pearls, chat potatoes with an egg and a herb and mustard dressing. It was definitely the dish of the day with the tuna being perfectly cooked to that ‘just-seared’ stage and a dressing that complimented the dish beautifully. And it looked so pretty on the plate.
Lorraine ordered the spatchcock that was pan roasted and came with apple balsamic, fennel, rocket and apple. Unfortunately the spatchcock was quite dry and a little lacking in flavour. While the dressing was very good there just wasn’t enough of it and you almost wanted to dip the spatchcock into something. But you couldn’t fault the presentation of the dish.
Celia ordered the confit ham hock from the breakfast menu. It came with herb potatoes, green beans, pomegranate pearls with a poached egg and a herb dressing. The ham was full full of flavour however, a bit dry and again, the poached egg was cooked through resulting in another disappointed sigh.
I really wanted to like this cafe. It’s in a little oasis where there’s even good parking and the staff are attentive and friendly almost making you feel they are welcoming you into their home. For a small cafe the menu is interesting with lots of fresh and colourful and well presented dishes. However, some of the food was too dry and needing more dressing and a poached egg should definitely be runny.
Verdict: I’d definitely be back – if even for the chips.
Bion Societe: Cnr Layton and Lambert Streets, Camperdown. Ph: 9557 5931
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