Camp Albion is on the ground floor of the Hudson apartment complex, near the Albion train station. Located on a side away from the busiest flow of traffic, it is possible to drive past the building regularly and not know that Camp Albion is there. On foot, it is easier to spot the sign with peach coloured cursive writing on navy blue, identifying the eatery. The dark glass panels fronting it give little away until you are right at the entrance.
It is an open space, with high ceilings, done up in quite modern, industrial-style design. There are raw concrete walls, half painted a navy blue. Other walls are painted white, as is the ceiling, matching white tiles in other sections. On one wall is a mural, depicting the sun setting (or rising) over mountains, a reference to what you might see on a camp. The area is lighted by daylight coming in through the glass front as well as from black suspended rail lighting above. The light wood-topped tables are paired with matte silver wire chairs. Tan chair pads continue the colour theme and make the seats a bit more comfortable. There are also a few longer communal tables for larger groups.
We managed to catch the attention of staff after walking through the entrance, and were shown to a table. Water and menus were brought out, and we were given time to look through. The menu, printed on a single sheet, has food items on one side, and drink items, including wine and spirits, on the other. Unfortunately one of the items that immediately caught our eye (the Cornbread with fried egg, Mexican mole, broccolini, baby carrot, and beetroot relish) had already sold out, meaning that we had to figure out an alternative plan. Fortunately, they still had the Mushrooms, and we decided on the Savory Mince as the other dish.
The flat white was well-textured, and had the fruity high notes that one of us appreciates.
The soy iced latte had good strength of flavour, and in line with the coming push to phase out plastic straws, was served with a metal straw. The soy milk was 70c extra, however, which is above the norm.
The Mushrooms dish came with roasted peach, goat’s cheese, and pistachio dukkah on light rye. It was quite compactly plated, the wedges of cooked mushrooms stacked on the thick cut, nutty rye toast. The mushroom pieces were plump and juicy. The roasted peach pieces were browned and looked like the mushrooms (clever camouflage), but added sweetness to the mix. There was piped puree that looked like avocado, but was really a herby pesto. The scattered chunks of goat’s cheese gave the dish a little funk. The pistachio dukkah and other nut bits crumbled over everything added a crunchy texture. It was a tasty mix, all in all, and a deft combination of flavours.
The Savoury Mince came with pork and beef mince, 63* eggs, and grated parmesan on sourdough. The mince mix was meaty and tomatoey, but not sloppy. Under that sat a thick slab of bread, which took up the sauce well. It was a different, softer bread than that in the Mushrooms dish. The eggs had soft, but not runny yolks, almost gel-like. Similarly, the egg white was like a soft jelly. The rocket leaves were dressed with a little vinaigrette, for a little flavour variation. It wasn’t bad overall, but the other dish was definitely more interesting.
All the dishes come from a surprisingly compact kitchen, that you can see just behind the service counter. While it gives you a glimpse of the action, they could really use a better extraction system, as the smells of food cooking travel through the rest of the space, which is not terrible a lot of the time, but not so nice when things are being charred. (Kitchen space visible in the first photo of the interior.)
Camp Albion is a nice addition for the locals of Albion, who have had a growing range of eateries emerge in the last couple of years or so. They do some interesting flavour mixes, though some dishes do better than others. Worth checking out if you’re in the area.
Price point: $12 to $17 for more than toast and spreads. Toasties $11 to $13.
Address: Shop 3/50 Hudson Road, Albion
Website: Camp Albion