Where Melbourne - - Dining Reviews - BY PETER MCBREARTY

MANY VIS­I­TORS TO MEL­BOURNE will find them­selves ex­plor­ing the bou­tique stores and cafés of Chapel Street, some­thing of a mecca for the fash­ion con­scious and those in search of a lit­tle re­tail ther­apy in con­junc­tion with a well-poured latte. How­ever, for those will­ing to con­tinue a lit­tle fur­ther down to­ward the South­ern end of Chapel Street, a mecca of an en­tirely dif­fer­ent sort awaits—one fo­cused more on a range of in­ter­est­ing din­ing venues and eclec­tic bars.

Nes­tled in amongst this dis­tinctly Mel­bur­nian ar­ray of restau­rants and bars is Shukah, the lat­est ad­di­tion to chef Garen Maskal’s fam­ily of restau­rants, and join­ing his pop­u­lar mod­ern Ar­me­nian in­ner-city eatery Sezar and orig­i­nal His­panic diner Black Toro.

Shukah en­cour­ages the shar­ing of both food and con­ver­sa­tion in equal parts. The ideal place to start at Shukah could be with a chilled Yan Yan Ar­me­nian Lager, paired with the smoky house-made hom­mus with brown but­ter and flat­bread. The ver­sion of this Mid­dle East­ern favourite pro­duced at Shukah is suf­fi­ciently mor­eish to en­sure many may se­ri­ously con­tem­plate or­der­ing more be­fore they con­tinue to ex­plore the menu. The mezze of four veg­etable dishes con­sists of four bowls of fre­quently vary­ing veg­etable dishes, served with de­li­cious flat­bread, con­tin­u­ing the shar­ing, graz­ing style of din­ing en­cour­aged at Shukah. King­fish sashimi with av­o­cado, cu­cum­ber and black lime is del­i­cately flavoured, while the charred oc­to­pus and kipfler potato with pis­ta­chio and olive salsa and labne is equally de­li­cious, as are the toasted Manti (dumplings) with lamb, gar­lic yo­ghurt and sumac. Tem­pura oys­ters ar­rive with pre­served le­mon and chilli, while grilled haloumi is ac­com­pa­nied with bar­be­cue zuc­chini, hazel­nut, raisin and le­mon, and suc­cu­lent harissa braised beef ke­babs with smoked gar­lic and pick­led pep­pers are also ex­cep­tion­ally hard to re­sist. Bar­be­cue lamb belly with smashed cu­cum­ber, se­same and yo­ghurt pro­vides another meat fix, while the ap­peal of the falafel ke­babs with pick­led egg­plant and tahini will not be lim­ited only to veg­e­tar­i­ans.

For any­one wise enough to avoid the un­der­stand­able temp­ta­tion to overindulge on the smaller dishes at Shukah, the wild green and feta borek with fen­nel and spiced onion jam may be the next step on their culi­nary ad­ven­ture, or per­haps the bar­be­cue short rib with roasted sweet corn and faro, the suc­cu­lent meat fall­ing away from the bone. Roasted bar­ra­mundi is served with a pea and broad bean tabouleh and mango amba (pick­led condi­ment), bar­be­cued baby chicken with sumac pick­led onions, green harissa and yo­ghurt is fur­ther proof of the in­her­ent value of the large char­coal grill Shukah in­her­ited from the pre­vi­ous pro­pri­etor. Lovers of per­fectly cooked meat will find it dif­fi­cult to choose be­tween the Wagyu striploin with toma­toes, red pep­per and bone mar­row salsa, the crispy pork hock with wal­nuts, dates and ap­ple salsa verde, and the sub­stan­tial braised lamb shoul­der with pome­gran­ate and chick peas.

If the de­ci­sion mak­ing proves dif­fi­cult, Shukah makes it easy with their “Let us feed you” ban­quet at $58 per per­son, with the op­tion of matched wines at only another $39 per per­son. A “Happy Lunch” tast­ing menu is also avail­able Fri­day to Sun­day at $35 per per­son, and could be the per­fect way to com­mence an ex­ploratory stroll along Chapel Street. Shukah is a re­laxed, en­joy­able and very wel­come ad­di­tion to the bur­geon­ing din­ing scene along the lower end of Chapel Street, and in­creas­ing aware­ness of its ap­peal means reser­va­tions are ad­vis­able.

Shukah, 104 Chapel Street, Wind­sor. 9521 3858.

de­liv­er­ing a fan­tas­tic cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence. Set on pic­turesque Al­bert Lake, Hid­den Jade is mod­ern din­ing at its best.

Ground level, 9 Aquatic Drive, Al­bert Park Lake. 9682 5566. hid­den­


n LUCKY CHAN. Chi­nese. Lucky Chan of­fers guests au­then­tic Can­tonese cui­sine, spe­cial­is­ing in sus­tain­ably farmed live seafood, as well as of­fer­ing the choice of à la carte. Sig­na­ture dishes in­clude the sauteed scal­lops and king prawns with im­pe­rial sauce, but you may also be tempted to choose a lob­ster or large crab from their live seafood tanks. Their won­der­ful food is beau­ti­fully com­ple­mented by an ex­ten­sive list of qual­ity Aus­tralian and Ori­en­tal wines.

The River­side at Crown, 8 White­man Street, South­bank. Lunch Mon–fri 11am–3pm, Sat–sun 11am–4pm, din­ner Sun–thu 6pm–11pm, Fri–sat 6pm–12am. 9696 3966. luck­y­


Saké serves a renowned mix of mod­ern and clas­sic dishes with a dis­tinct lo­cal flavour. Flow­ing with the sea­sons the menu utilises the finestqual­ity pro­duce avail­able. Lo­cated in the re­vi­talised Hamer Hall at Arts Cen­tre Mel­bourne and over­look­ing the breath­tak­ing Yarra River and CBD, this venue is set over two lev­els in­clud­ing an out­door din­ing area on the river­front.

Hamer Hall, Arts Cen­tre Mel­bourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Mel­bourne. Lunch Mon–sun 12pm–3pm, din­ner Sun–wed 5pm–10pm, Thurs–sat 5pm–11pm. 8687 0775. sak­er­estau­

SOUTH­GATE. Around The World.

Dis­cover a unique col­lec­tion of river­side restau­rants, cafes and bars at South­gate Mel­bourne, lo­cated along the banks of the Yarra River. With ex­cep­tional city sky­line views, South­gate is a din­ing des­ti­na­tion sure to im­press. Find fan­tas­tic ca­sual din­ing at Blue­train, Bavar­ian favourites at Hophaus, Can­tonese cui­sine at Red Em­peror, mod­ern Ital­ian at Tutto Benne, con­tem­po­rary Aus­tralian at Pure South Din­ing and so much more.

Banks of the Yarra River, Mel­bourne. 9686 1000. south­gatemel­


Mu­nich Brauhaus is a tra­di­tional Bavar­ian bier­haus, where guests can dine, drink and party like Ok­to­ber­fest never ended. The state-of-the-art wa­ter­front venue seats over 900 peo­ple and is a bier lovers de­light. Try the venue’s very own sig­na­ture Mu­nich Lager, as well as a se­ries of ex­clu­sively im­ported Bavar­ian Biers, while the menu in­cludes suck­ling pig, sourced lo­cally from River­lea and cooked over a char­coal spit.

45 South Wharf Prom­e­nade, South Wharf. Sun–thur 11.30am–late, Fri– Sat 11.30am–1am. 1300 686 424. mu­nich­

Hid­den Jade. Photo: © Ernest Lew.

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