Die-hard brunch fans will know that Shouk café was an OG of the Brisbane brunch scene. No weekend was complete without waiting it out for a table at Shouk. So if you were wondering where the f Shouk went, well—they never went anywhere, they've just changed their name to Naïm.
Housed in an adorable, white-washed corner Queenslander, we’ll forgive you if you’ve driven by and thought nothing of it whilst on your Sunday morning hunt for a park in Paddington.
The laidback, cottage vibes of Naïm make you feel like you’re dining with old friends. Which is the name of the game—Naïm actually means 'happiness' and 'to be at ease'. In case you were wondering how to pronounce it too, it’s nay-eem.
The menu is an ode to the Middle East with dishes on offer from morning til late. You might be familiar with their brunch menu (falafels, we love you) and their weekday lunch offering. But, when we visited this time we decided to make full use of their bar and dinner menu. Yeah, we know—we had no idea they did that either! And, pro tip: their position at the top of a hill means you get a sunset view from their dining room.
The cocktails also take inspiration from the Middle East and make for the perfect afternoon-to-evening-transition drink at the bar. It’s just like having a drink on the deck at home, but much, much better. Order the Arabian Sour and thank us later. If you want to do your weekday dinner right, order a bottle of wine and settle in with a hummus board pre-main—congrats, you’ve leveled up.
The menu is heavenly, naturally. The crispy skin chicken breast takes pride of place on our “must order list” and is served with red chermoula sauce, grilled corn tabbouleh, pickled banana peppers and crispy parsley. Likewise, the flat iron steak is killer. We’re talking grilled shawarma spiced steak, crispy Jerusalem artichokes (seriously, the best), tomato raisins and smoke jus.
If you’re thinking—wow great, but where are the vego options?! Don’t worry, we did you a solid and tried the eggplant tagine. Think charred whole eggplant, saffron capsicum tagine served with a shaved fennel salad. There’s also an option to add lamb, not that you’d need it—vegos take note, this dish will leave you satisfied. The majedra is another delicious choice if you call animals friends not food: cinnamon rice, chickpeas, lentil dukkah, angel hair pasta, sprouted seeds, sun-dried tomato harissa and fried curry leaves. Don’t mind us, just converting to the vego-life after these dishes.
Our tip is to book in for a weeknight to the beat the crowds, plus it makes you feel like a VIP. Which is never a bad thing, tbh.
Find out more about Naïm on the directory here.
Image credit: Grace Elizabeth Images