Vanessa: Darling Street in Balmain, home to many a cafe and restaurant, is somewhere I don’t venture to nearly as much as I would like. So when the opportunity arose for us to pay a visit to the recently opened Shenkin Cafe in Balmain, I didn’t need any convincing.
Myself, Bianca, Mr M and Baby FFS1 gathered ourselves on what was a very miserable, rainy and windy Sunday afternoon. The elements were not a deterrent as Shenkin is fully covered, meaning we could still sit outside in the cosy outdoor space without getting wet.
Shenkin in Balmain is the 6th establishment for this chain and when it comes to Israeli food, they have your favourites covered.
I must pay homage to the delightful hummus plate topped with grilled eggplant ($17). The creamy, rich texture and taste of the hummus is well paired with the softened eggplant. A substantial serve, however we couldn’t help feel the “pita to hummus ratio” was definitely off – a few more pieces would have been appreciated to really mop up all the goodness on the plate.
As an additional side to the hummus we ordered the Fuul, which is fava beans topped with a hard-boiled egg. Eaten alone I felt they were a little dry but as an accompaniment to the hummus they are a match. You can add a cheeky, crispy falafel on the side of any your dishes for $2.50.
The Shenkin Rueben ($18) presents well with copious amounts of pastrami, tomato, lettuce, sauerkraut, dijon served with a side of pickles. The pastrami itself was delicious with a nice bold flavor, but overall this one didn’t do it for me as I felt it was lacking something to piece the ingredients together which made it a little bland, in my opinion.
The Ziva ($19) is a dish I would recommend trying for its diversity of taste, textures and flavors. The baked three cheese and olive filo is crispy on the outside and perfectly cheesy on the inside. This is accompanied by a variety of side dips including hummus, baba ghanoush, resek tomatoes and harif (or harrisa) and spicy coriander and shifka (peppers) which packs a punch! I think this dish was a stand out for me as it really gives you the opportunity to experience a variety of flavors on the one plate.
So this leads us to our finale of dessert, which of course if it’s on the menu will always be pancakes! The Tamar pancakes ($19) served with vanilla cream, date molasses, strawberries and banana was a perfect end to our meal at Shenkin. Two small, yet powerful, pancakes that are slightly dense in texture were finished off beautifully with the paired accompaniments. A little more of the vanilla cream and a little more date molasses would not have gone astray but overall a memorable pancake.
So with that we picked our satisfied selves up and braved the rain outside. Shenkin is a solid option for either a quick bite or a more leisurely affair. Breakfast and lunch is served up everyday with dinner available Thursday to Saturday. Why not treat yourself afterwards to a lovely stroll up and down the high street to walk off the calories and browse the boutiques..winning!
Photos by Bianca
*For Foods Sake dined as guests of Shenkin Balmain