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“A barrel full of fun”
Review of Camden 031 - CLOSED

Camden 031
Restaurant details
Reviewed 17 April 2014

This is my review published in The Mercury this morning

Food, generally speaking, is no laughing matter. It’s something all top chefs take intensely seriously. But who said chefs can’t have fun as well. So when Camden 031 opened at the Comedy Club at the top of Windermere Road last weekend, it was a must visit. And as Meleney had had a day from hell, we both needed to let a belly laugh. And we got it.
It’s a venture of comedian Glen Bo and chef David Boyter, who’s worked at the old Aubergine and Stretta in Hillcrest. And yes he does take his food very seriously, but it’s food that puts a big smile on your dial.
The venue is fun and quirky, with giant murals, a bar made out of palettes and tables spilling out onto a wide verandah. On a rainy first night of winter it was packed with well healed twenty-somethings. There was an unplugged guitar gig on the simple stage. Standup being reserved for Fridays and Saturdays.
And the other funny thing is there are no menus. It’s a few simple dishes. It reads like most specials list.
Starts were a tuna fishcake served on a salad of shredded veg. Vey good and no mashed potato in sight. And there was a seared beef carpaccio on real mozzarella and tomatoes with balsamic reduction. A sort of carpaccio meets carprese salad. Here we though the tomatoes could have been a shade riper, but another winner.
For mains, the fillet, perfectly aged and cooked to a perfect medium rare, was simply crusted in pepper and topped with a herb butter. You cut it with a butter knife and yes it melted like butter in your mouth. It was one of the best steaks I’ve had in a while. It was simply served with crispy sauté potatoes and a gem squash. Now Meleney doesn’t do her gems but I was happy to tuck in. We both agreed, better than butternut.
The prawns too were of good size and simply grilled in garlic butter. Big, fat, juicy creatures, these both had us happily slurping at the shells.
Desserts to were limited to baked peaches with yoghurt ice-cream and smores. Now I had never heard of such creations, but Meleney fondly remembers the classic American campfire treat from her days in the States. Basically these are marshmallows and chocolate between Marie biscuits and toasted on the fire.
These didn’t have the chocolate but were laced with bubblegum tequila. Very pink and blue – and fun – and sweet – and sticky.
The peaches could have had a shade longer in the oven, but were more my type of dessert.
I look forward to more fun options in the future.

Camden 031
507 Lilian Ngoyi (Windermere) Road
061 028 7248
Open: Tuesday to Saturday 1pm to 11.30pm (longer is on the cards)

Frank Chemaly is a food critic and travel writer for The Mercury and the Sunday Tribune

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