[invite] Alex: “Peace in the Middle East” – A fitting neon sign graces the entrance of the bustling Shukah restaurant on the Windsor end of Chapel Street. Even on a Sunday night at 9:45pm people were still pouring in, a good sign!
Shukah is an Armenian restaurant that serves modern interpretations of classic dishes. It’s a good mix of trendy and traditional comfort foods meaning it’s perfect for the eclectic Melbourne food scene. It sits directly opposite Mr Miyagi but there’s no competition. Shukah is well established and is often booked out most weekends and with Middle Eastern food being one of my favourite cuisines I was keen on getting started!
We opted for the LET US FEED YOU BANQUET at $58pp. This is the type of food you want to be sharing and this is an easy and cost-effective way to do so.
We started with a serving of Lavash. A crispy outer layer yet soft and delicate on the inside. It’s a strange mix between a roti and your traditional Lebanese bread but the flavours are fantastic.
The hummus served with chickpeas, brown butter $12 was the richest rendition of this middle eastern staple I have ever had. The butter enhanced all of the flavours making it extremely decadent. An absolute stand out.
The SIGARA BOREG cigars filled with harissa beef, preserved lemon, sumac togarashi (2) $14 were ear-shatteringly crisp. Each bite left you wanting to mop up the bowl with the accompanying sauce. What I loved most about doing the banquet was that the food came out sporadically but not long enough for a lapse in food. You could still eat the hummus, lavash and so on as the rest of the food was coming out.
Something I’ve never tried before, the prawn felafel with green cabbage slaw, spicy mayo (2) $18 was an interesting change to the traditional version. A lot heartier and a dollop of spicy mayo made the dish well balanced.
Normally a dish like this would be one of my favourites but the Kingfish Sashimi got lost in the rest of the knockout dishes on the evening. The Kingfish Sashimi with avocado, cucumber, salmon roe & black lime $18 no doubt looked the part but fell short in comparison to the rest of the menu. It was unanimous that the dish was on the salty side but it was nice to have something a little lighter to balance the heavier dishes.
And then they bring out these. Sumac Salt & Pepper Chicken ribs with Tahini sauce $18. The night could’ve ended with these and I would’ve been happy. Extremely juicy and full of exceptional flavour. I would love to see a version of these with Chicken breast tenders instead of ribs!
And just in case you thought that was enough, the most glorious sight…The Crispy Pork Hok walnut, date & apple salsa verde $44. Now if I’m not mistaken this doesn’t come in the banquet but was something we ordered extra. There is absolutely no need to order this as there was already enough food but…for research purposes it needed to be done. This was by far one of the best porks I’ve ever had. Sweet, crispy and with the skin practically oozing flavour. Hearing the crunch of the skin when cracking into this beauty was a glorious sound. The apple salsa verde helped to balance the dish as a whole but by this point, there wasn’t even a point in pretending that we were trying to balance anything. We were being gluttonous but it was just too good.
Oh, and it was also served with a rich rice that barely got touched because…carbs. 🙂
I could’ve well and truly been happy to walk out of the restaurant after the pork but my brain says one thing and my mouth says another. There was a choice of two desserts and because my friend is “dieting” we went for the one with the fruit option because it was clearly much healthier… It was a little too sweet for me, plus I was about to literally explode.
An exceptional restaurant that I think Chapel street needs. The juxtaposition of tradition meets innovation creates the perfect atmosphere and one that I can’t wait to visit again!
Until next time.
*For Food’s Sake dined as guests of Shukah.