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Bion Societe, Camperdown

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.

Groovy mural

Groovy mural

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., 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.

Beer Battered Chips:  $8.00

Beer Battered Chips: $8.00

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.

Marinated Mixed Olives:  $7.00

Marinated Mixed Olives: $7.00

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.

Bion Cafe Vol-Au-Vent:  $17.00

Bion Cafe Vol-Au-Vent: $17.00

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.

Tuna Salad:  $17.00

Tuna Salad: $17.00

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.

Spatchcock:  $18.00

Spatchcock: $18.00

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.

Confit Ham Hock:  $18.00

Confit Ham Hock: $18.00

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.

Bion Societe

Bion Societe

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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  1. I think that’s a very fair review, Charlie! The chips were great, but the company was even better! 🙂 xx

  2. Good company can make up for a lot charlie – and it sounds as though you had plenty of that!

  3. G’day and wow Charlie! You have had your run of “less than ordinary” food experiences lately, true!
    But what GREAT company you keep and friends you have too!
    In the end, while disappointing food wise, there is always another place and another day to meet!
    Memories made (even over bad food) with a special get-together, can’t be beat!
    Cheers! Joanne

  4. I feel your disappointment. My guy and I went out for a special breakfast and I broke open my poached eggs only to find them…hard. So sad. 🙂 But everything else you had sounds really good – especially all the lovely dressings. 🙂

  5. Lovely review Charlie I agree with that . So great to see you. ha and see you at AIM tomorrow

  6. You girls cerainly keep good company and beer battered chips would have been my first choice too. I can’t believe none of you offered to go and show the chef how to poach an egg…

  7. I’m still giggling at the idea of you in the kitchen. “Ok, this is what you do….”

  8. I would have loved to have seen the chef come out and listen to what you had to say. It looks like they are *nearly* there but a few key things keep them from greatness.

    What a fun group of food bloggers! I love you all.

  9. At least you had good company even if the meal came up short. It’s so hard to please food bloggers though! I am never satisfied!


  10. Sounds like a wonderful get together and the meals were inspired in concept if not in implementation. At least the egg on the tuna salad was still soft, even if the tuna itself could have been a bit less done for my taste.

  11. Hope the café chef reads your blog and rectify the short comings, wishing them success. Great company and a wonderful get together.

    • I am the chef at Bion cafe.. and am kicking myself for those eggs..
      It was a silly mix up by my apprentice with another order of eggs on toast poached hard.. still I am sorry, I know excuses don do anything for anyone..
      I would love for you to come again and allow me to cook for you..

      Thank you..

      • Do stop kicking yourself. We had a great time and your menu is interesting and your food beautifully presented and everything is so reasonably priced. Your cafe is a very refreshing oasis for Camperdown. We will definitely be back.

  12. What a great meeting together my friend, it must be so much fun to eat and hang out 😀
    Thanks for sharing!


  13. So fun for you all to get together…too bad the food wasn’t as spectacular as the company…but I would have been very happy with that tuna salad 🙂

  14. I so wish I could be there with all you guys, I’d love a good catch-up! I’m glad the company was great, as it looks like the cafe still has a way to go. A case of style over substance perhaps? Xox

  15. The menu is certainly intriguing–too bad some of the dishes didn’t live up to expectations. The plates look innovative and interesting though.

  16. I am totally eyeing that Vol-Au-Vent! I have to say though, all the dishes ordered sounded delightful.

  17. Oh boo. I agree. I hate when poached eggs are overcooked. A big no-no! At least you got some good time with friends though! Thank you for sharing, sweet friend. I hope you are having a good start to your week!

  18. Had that cafe known there would be some fabulous food bloggers visiting, I bet that egg would have been perfect 🙂 The beer battered chips would guarantee another visit from me!

  19. Looks very nice – but poached eggs definitely have to be runny!

  20. What no dessert? I’ll forgive you because you started with chips!

  21. Always great company those girls 🙂

  22. It looks like they have their presentation down pat so perhaps the food flavours/cooking will follow!

  23. Glad you all got a chance to get together again. I would definitely give this restaurant another chance, Charlie but this time I’d send back the over-cooked eggs. Like you, I wouldn’t have said anything the first time. If, however, I’m giving a place a 2nd chance, they had better get it right and an over-cooked poached egg is never right.

  24. Good job on resisting finishing all the chips, not sure I’d show the same restraint!

  25. How lovely you girls were able to get together again even if portions of your meal were disappointing. Beer battered chips – now that sounds heavenly!
    Have a happy day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  26. Welll…that’s a shame. But at least the chips were good! Silver lining. 😛

  27. Thankfully, you had great company and hello to the beer battered chiiiips!!!

  28. What great company you all were! I really wish those eggs were runny centered because I think it could have helped with the dryness issue 🙂

  29. I’ve been meaning to mention that I absolutely LOVE your new photo, you look fabulous! What a shame about the food, I would have been tempted to send back the poached egg dishes. The beer battered chips sound fantastic and it was very nice of you to save a few for Lorraine. I was hoping to meet up with her when she comes to Canada in a couple of weeks but sadly the tourism bureau left her very little personal time so it is making it impossible, and on top of that our dear friends had booked their flight from Illinois on the very day she had 2 hours to spare! Hopefully there will be another time she visits Canada. Of course it would be great if you would come to Toronto for a visit!

  30. What a quaint little spot, Charlie…good company and good chips= a good time! Too bad about the eggs…I do love me a good poached egg!! The dishes were quite fetching even if they weren’t all that tasty… bummer! Maybe next time they will have some better talent in the kitchen?? xo

  31. All the dishes look great!

  32. The food looks so good here, especially those vol au vents!

  33. Lovely photos, I’m sure I’d like this one a lot.

  34. That vol-au-vent is beautiful, but really such a thing is not the same without a runny yoke!

  35. My mouth is literally watering looking at all of your gorgeous photos

  36. I am the chef at Bion cafe.. and am kicking myself for those eggs..
    It was a silly mix up by my apprentice with another order of eggs on toast poached hard.. still I am sorry, I know excuses don do anything for anyone..
    I would love for you to come again and allow me to cook for you..

  37. What fun Charlie!!!! Love the food and envy the amazing time you all had.

  38. ohhh the food here looks amazing!

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