Set to snuggle itself into the hustle and bustle of the Windsor end of Chapel Street, Shukah is the newest culinary venture from the team behind much-loved restaurants, Sezar and The Black Toro.
Straying from the current trend of Asian-inspired menus along the Southside thoroughfare, Shukah will instead feature an Armenian-inspired menu, similar to its sister restaurant Sezar. It’s the third venture from the Kalian group – brothers Aret and Sasoon Arzadian and their cousin, Executive Chef, Garen Maskal – who are largely responsible for educating Melburnians on the intricacies of Armenian cuisine.
These days, Armenia seems to be best known for producing the Kardashian name. However, there’s much more going on in the tiny land-locked country, which is squeezed in between Europe and the Middle East. Its diverse history and geography is reflected in the ancient cuisine, which sees the combination of spices with fresh meats, fish, vegetables and fruits to create unique flavours. A turbulent modern history has seen a large Armenian diaspora spread to countries like Egypt and Lebanon, which has led to a broad range of cultures leaking their way into modern Armenian dishes.
Therefore, to consider Shukah’s food as a bit of a hotpot for global flavours is not at all incorrect, as its menu has taken into account all of these international influences and inspirations.
The word ‘shukah’ translates to ‘shop’ or ‘market’ in Armenian. This idea is reflected in the vibe and menu, a shift from the ritz and glitz associated with Sezar. It’s a casual destination, perfect for a fun evening with some delicious food and a few casual drinks with friends. Garen and Shukah Head Chef Sean Thomas (ex-Gingerboy) have designed mezze and larger-style plates, built for sharing amongst small or large groups. To match all of these delicious Armenian treats, the drinks menu concentrates on local wines and punchy cocktails, as well as a selection of craft beers, brewed specifically to pair perfectly with Shukah’s menu.
Starring alongside Garen and Sean in the kitchen will be a very impressive Mibrasa charcoal oven, imported all the way from Spain. The oven will be used to infuse ingredients with an authentic smoke and flavour, including Armenian flatbreads and hefty lamb shoulders.
Keeping it casual but exclusive, Shukah seats just 40 people.