I love a pre-fixe dining experience and have been so excited, albeit slightly overwhelmed (in the best way possible), by all the options popping up in my area in Orlando. One of the latest and greatest is Camille, an intimate 8-seat bar located on the second floor of East End Market in Audubon. They are the first of the pop-up dinner series in the new Neighbors space that was previously only used for special events. This “chef-to-guest experience” features a seasonal, multi-course menu with a modern approach to Vietnamese cuisine.
Blog Exclusive: Extra Notes
I’m a woman of many words and therefore I can never seem to fit everything I want to say into a single Instagram description. Exclusively for my blog readers, here are some extra notes to round out my review.
The Reservations: Like most pre-fixe experiences, especially at this size (8 seats), you are required to book a reservation on Tock at least 1 month in advance that includes paying in full with no refunds/cancellations. However, if for some reason you can’t go, you can always transfer it to someone else. I admittedly still don’t like being in this situation as a worrier…”you just never know!” However, it’s something to look forward to and worth every penny.
The Seating: Upon arrival, they seat you in a specific seats at the bar, like any reservation. If you want to be in the corner on one end, or have more light for pictures at the other end of the bar, I’d request it in advance. We were at the corner by the wall so some photo brightening effects were necessary.
The Atmosphere: Although not too surprised since I had been to The Neighbors before, I found it to be a very casual, laidback atmosphere for being such an elevated meal and experience. People were dressed casually, there’s some background noise from people walking around the shop and enjoying their drinks from The Neighbors menu, and truly nothing about it is stuffy or pretentious. I say this all in a good way because it allows you to feel comfortable, relaxed, welcomed and focused on the food. But, if you’re looking for something fancy, this is not it.
The Service: Everyone was super friendly and took turns talking to the group and presenting the dishes. You never felt rushed chatting with them either. We enjoyed getting to know where they worked before and what led them to this point. Also, getting a sneak peek into what’s coming next for the Camille crew was exciting! Watching them prepare the meal in the kitchen was (and always is) a highlight too. We had some cooking/prep questions for the chef after and he passed along some great tips we’ll implement at home.
The Menu: Something that wasn’t clear to me until we went and asked was how often they change the menu. The answer is that they have changed it once since opening, and therefore are currently on their second menu. While there’s not a specific date/time when they will change it again, it’s likely that it will be in May, meaning that every menu lasts for 2-3 months. Following along on their Instagram is the best way to stay updated. My goal (in a perfect world) is to go once for each menu. Treat yourself, you know? 🙂
More About My Favorite Course: Although a close call, my favorite dish was the Maine Lobster course. The sweetness from the passion fruit, the hearts of palm for texture…it was a perfectly cooked dish that was equally texturally satisfying, complex and light.
His Favorite Course: My boyfriend’s favorite dish was the Alaskan King Crab. Something that he pointed out that we spoke to Chef Tung about was that you’d expect it to be salty but it’s not at all and doesn’t need to be. So delicious!
What They Could Improve: The amuse buche includes three bites by hand. While we impressed there were three (usually an amuse is one), we do wish they brought out a hot towel or hand sanitizer beforehand as no utensils were provided with the amuse.
What Made This Pre-Fixe Meal Stand Out From Others: Pre-fixe meals can very quickly become too much food to a point where you aren’t enjoying it at the end, and this was not that. No more stressing about what you’re eating during the day leading up to this dinner, hooray!
In the past year, I’ve focused more of my Adventures in Gourmet hobby efforts towards building my Instagram @adventuresingourmet. Since posts can easily get “lost” in your feed as you’re inundated with content and distractions, and the fact that not everyone is active on Instagram, I wanted to start sharing all of my more in-depth review posts here on my blog as well. Let me know if you like this style of a blog post!
Have you been to Camille yet? Book your reservation in advance or join the waitlist here. May reservations should be opening soon!