It’s not often Friday night rolls around and you think ‘Man, I’m really craving Armenian’. But as anyone who’s dined at CBD hotspot Sezar will tell you, Armenian food is a spice-filled bag of surprises.
Shukah is Sezar’s brand new, more relaxed, little sister. A laid-back bistro on Chapel St’s jam-packed Windsor strip. When the Kalian group (made up of brothers Aret and Sasoon Arzadian and cousin Garen Maskal) opened Sezar back in 2014, they wanted to smack Melbourne between the eyes with a taste of their landlocked homeland. They’ve done that. Now they want to show what happens when Armenian food takes off the black tie.
With the help of head chef Sean Thomas (ex-Gingerboy) they’ve built a menu around big meaty dishes and a bunch of smaller mezze-style share plates. It’s the same style as Sezar, just prepared and presented in a simpler way. Think entrees like corn and herb fritters with tahini, sumac and baby cos, or a kick-ass Baba Ganoush with smoked yogurt and home-baked flatbread. The bread actually comes from the hero of the new kitchen: a massive Mibrasa charcoal oven that adds a tongue-tickling smokiness to the grilled meats.
For bigger plates, it’s hard to go past the BBQ half chicken: a well spiced, charcoal-grilled bird dished up with homemade pickles, tahini and flatbread. The Wagyu striploin (accompanied by a bone-marrow and red pepper salsa), and pomegranate-glazed lamb shoulder should also cause extreme salivation in Melbourne’s hardcore carnivore population. They’re fall-off-the-bone delicious.
As if Windsor didn’t have enough options for a killer night out...
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White