Type of Venue: Restaurant, Bar
Cuisine: Modern Armenian food
Highly Recommended: Toasted Manti, Wagyu Striploin, Short Rib Mujadarra, Baklava Sundae
A modern Armenian restaurant from the owners behind Sezar (CBD) and The Black Toro (Glen Waverley), newcomer Shukah offers a cultural journey across Europe and the Middle East through an exciting menu that cleverly recreates authentically traditional flavours and dishes.
The Armenian word for ‘marketplace’, Shukah exudes relaxing multicultural vibes through their warm tones and light-filled space, complete with an open kitchen from which intensely delicious aromas emanate. Aiming to project a contemporary ambience through their culturally-friendly artwork and neon-lit sign at the front, their flirtation between the traditional and modern extends from the venue all the way to the menu.
The drinks list features a decent range of wines, beers, spirits and liqueurs, as well as the obligatory cocktails and mocktails for something a little more special. The Baron Bilzarian is a delectable balance between sweet and sour with cherry brandy, amaretto, prosecco and orange, whilst the Mandarini is refreshing blend of vodka, mandarin liqueur, thyme, lemon juice and sugar.
Baron Bilzarian ($18.00) & Mandarini ($17.00)
Offering a single-page a la carte menu of shared starters and mains, there is also the option of choosing the reasonably priced ‘Happy Lunch’ special from Friday to Sunday, featuring a selection of five different sharing entrees for $35.00 per person (+ $6.00 including beverages).
A signature dish, the Toasted Manti are Armenian-style dumplings filled with spiced lamb, garlic yoghurt and sumac, sitting in a generously-doused chicken stock and brown butter sauce. Delicately thin dumpling skins have a slight bite after being toasted, encased around a filling whose explosion of spices and flavours give the diner a whole new perspective on what modern Armenian food can be… and that perspective is looking good!
Toasted Manti ($18.00)
Kingfish Sashimi is refreshingly light and delicate in its plating style as well as its textures, being thinly sliced and complimented by whipped avocado, fresh cucumber and black lime. Refreshing citrus flavours balance well with the creamy whipped avocado, whilst also cutting through the richness of the sashimi.
Kingfish Sashimi ($18.00)
Being a haloumi lover, I had to try their Grilled Haloumi. Safe to say, they nailed this. The intense richness of the haloumi paired perfectly with the sharp, earthy flavours of the braised mushrooms and smooth spinach puree, delivering a punch of excitement that takes this one-dimensional cheese to a whole new level.
Grilled Haloumi ($17.00)
For the mains, Wagyu Striploin arrives thinly sliced, cooked to medium-rare perfection, topped with a tomato, red pepper and bone marrow salsa that gives an enjoyably zingy sharpness to this well-seasoned meat.
Wagyu Striploin ($52.00)
Another show-stopper, Short Rib Mujadarra is moreishly tender, pulling apart at the slightest nudge with a fork and knife. Crispy puffed beef tendons (similar to Chinese prawn crackers) break up the soft textures, whilst the surprisingly delicious rice underneath is riddled with subtle spices that help to compliment, and enhance, the experience of eating the short rib.
Short Rib Mujadarra ($34.00)
To finish, you cannot go past the Baklava Sundae. Served in a contemporary style, this dessert is an homage to the traditional Middle Eastern pastry, consisting of vanilla ice cream mixed in with crushed walnut praline and salted caramel, finished with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Embodying a deconstructed baklava in an inventive dessert, make sure to dig the spoon down to the bottom to capture all of the decadent layers!
Baklava Sundae ($14.00)
A restaurant whose reputation precedes them, Shukah definitely succeeds in meeting expectations, and in going beyond expectations. Expertly creative flavours and ingredient combinations are demonstrated, aiming to honour classic flavours and dishes, whilst also reinventing them to keep up with the constantly-progressing modern-day dining scene. A restaurant well worth a visit for a unique cultural experience, with superb flavours that will leave you wanting more.
Note: I was invited to dine as a guest of Shukah. Thank you to the staff for their generous hospitality throughout our experience.
104 Chapel Street
Windsor, VIC 3181
Ph: (03) 9521 3858
Hours: Mon Closed, Tues-Thurs 5:30-10pm, Fri-Sun 12-3pm, 5:30-10pm.