19 Victoria Ave
Albert Park, VIC 3206
03 9696 1386

This is the start of my Cousin Trouble series of Melbourne eats. People who know me will realise I’m always talking about my cousins. As kids, we ignored each other during family functions. Typical Singaporean brats. But something happens once you’re out of school and in the workforce. You start to mellow down and things that really matter start to become obvious. It was only in the past 4-5 years that I’ve started getting closer to my family, and my cousins. And I would like to attribute much of that happenstance to one particular cousin who can almost be known as a force on her own. We will call her cousin trouble.
Cousin trouble is older than most of us. She is edgy, modern and clever. She is also very motherly and looks out for us. When we meet her, geek hubby is always around as well. They’re inseparable. And I love hanging out with the both of them. What sent them here was a series of unfortunate events. They had planned a trip to Japan, but the Japan earthquake-tsunami-nuclear-meltdown happened a few weeks before travel. So they cancelled Japan and came to Melbourne instead.

Cousin trouble and geek hubby are big big fans of ang moh food. Unlike me, they are not as fond of Singapore local food. They tell me that Western food in Singapore just isn’t good. The produce is imported and of poor quality and you’d almost consistently get mediocre examples Western food despite forking out expensive restaurant prices. So on this trip to Melbourne, cousin trouble told me point blank that “we want to pig out on Western food!”. Hence the start of this series of cousin trouble ang moh eats. : )
Kamel has been on my eating wishlist for quite sometime, but I’ve left it dusty on a shelf because of this year’s Asian food mission (plus a mini-quest to save money for travel). But now I can finally start chipping into the non-Asian food list with the help of me recently air-flown, imported cousin palates.
The venue was cosy, but the lighting in the back room where we were seated was shrouded in lantern reds. It posed the greatest challenge to food photography at night that I’ve ever encountered. Thankfully, geek hubby is an avid photographer and owns pretty amazing camera gear, so I actually got quite a bit of pictorial help from him.

Middle Eastern plate – lebanese sausages, dolmades, olives, salad, feta and bread
This was a satisfying share plate. We especially loved the sausages, which is a lot to say because I normally don’t like sausages of any kind unless it from Germany or Austria. I did wish they had tzatziki and hommus to go as dips with the breads in this platter though. Geek hubby liked the olives because they were accompanied with Moroccan spices.
Grilled za’tar lamb chops with tomato relish
The chops were cooked perfectly and blushing pink on the inside. But we thought it could be marinated better and the accompanying sweetish tomato relish also wasn’t enough to make the lamb tasty and did not bring the dish together. Cousin trouble cooked lamb and couscous the next day and that tasted better.
Zucchini, corn, feta and chickpea flour fritters with yoghurt
Now this tasted doughy, heavy and bland to me. I did not enjoy it.
Duck pastilla – shredded duck confit, prunes and chickpeas in a pastry twist
The confit was wrapped in crisp paper-thin pastry. Inside, the flavours were mild with hints of spices such as cloves in the confit. But I thought the duck could be a little more moist.
Patatas bravas with roast baby onions and aioli
Geek hubby liked it. I must admit in the red lighting, this dish did not look appetising to me. The potato was powdery texture type and its fried outsides were a little soggy.
Watermelon peppers

An unusual dish of watermelon served warm with a sweet and tart sauce that’s got hints of raspberry and a good sprinkle of cracked pepper. Salty bits of feta and the light herbiness of dill helps complete the dish. The taste incongruities kept spinning in my mind – warm watermelon with feta and pepper… actually tasted good! Cousin trouble went “mmmm…!” with this one. She thought the flavour combination was great.

Chocolate and orange mousse, chocolate cashew baklava, apple sorbet
It was supposed to be a chocolate trio with chilli chocolate ice-cream, but the staff quite kindly allowed us to swtich the ice-cream to apple sorbet. I enjoyed the chocolate baklava. Surprisingly, it wasn’t overly sweet. I don’t like jaffa flavoured chocolates so the mousse wasn’t popular with me. The apple sorbet tasted very artificial to me but geek hubby liked that because it reminded him of sweets he’d taken in his childhood.
It was a decent meal. We basically thought the food at Kamel was alright, there weren’t many dishes that really made us go ‘wow’. Mind you, the menu is pretty extensive and we’ve only sampled a small fraction of it. Lots of other people really like this place because of its great flavours and affordability.
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