Kate reviews: Shukah
104 Chapel St Windsor
I’m a fan of this bloke. Garen Maskal first impressed with The Black Toro, a ripping Mexican
restaurant in bustling Glen Waverley. Then he blew me away at Sezar in the city, drawing
this time on his Armenian heritage. Where Sezar is a bit more formal, Shukah is a relaxed,
funky eatery perfectly suited to the ever-improving Windsor strip.
First thing that slaps you in the face is the service, not in a bad way, on a quiet Saturday
afternoon we were spoilt rotten by a waiter who is friendly, knowledgeable and attentive.
There was strategy on this visit. There were way too many things on the menu I wanted to
try, so I leapfrogged the interesting-sounding dips to avoid the flatbread that would no doubt
fill me up.
We got to a cracking start – Bastourma and egg. So basically, we were presented with two
round, fried slices of brioche, each topped with a fried quail’s egg, and accompanied by a
curl of bastourma – air-dried beef seasoned with fenugreek, garlic, paprika and cumin. It was
an absolute pearler of a snack.
I wouldn’t call the next one a snack, the wild greens and feta borek was huge. Gorgeous soft
filo pastry is choc-ful of mixed greens cooked with leeks, garlic and preserved lemon, mixed
with salty feta. On top – a dollop of sweet, spiced onion jam on top.
Crispy cuttlefish was a revelation, some of the lightest batter I’ve tasted – great beer food,
dipped in preserved lemon mayo.
Toasted manti are a specialty here – an Armenian dumpling usually filled with a combo of
lamb and beef; but Garen’s settled on a lamb only filling. They’re cooked in the oven until
crisp, and arrive in a bowl with garlic yoghurt sauce, a brown chicken stock/butter mix, and a
sprinkling of sumac.
We didn’t even make it into the large dishes, but saw savouries out with a medium sized dish
of char-grilled pork belly. The meat is brined then seasoned with spices and herbs, slow
cooked, then finished over charcoal. Wonderfully smoky, falling apart, it sat atop a bowl of
braised cabbage with green chilli, mustard seeds, pickled radish and pork crackle.
Dessert was unique to say the least – sliced, layered quince cops a sugar syrup and spices
and it baked until gloriously, deep red. House-hung labne sits aside it with a drizzle of brown
butter. You’ve got to have it all together – a lovely, not-too- sweet way to finish.
Great varied drinks menu – plenty of wines from Australia and around the world, craft beers,
and I highly recommend the sumac gin and tonic.
There’s nothing not to like here – unique, flavoursome cuisine; exceptional service; and fun
surrounds – it’s definitely worth shaking on down to Shukah.
Click PLAY below to hear Kate’s review on 3AW Breakfast