In Israel, a town’s central marketplace is known as The Shuk; a source of fresh local ingredients which doubles as a community meeting space. Closer to home, Shuk the cafe is housed in an old shopfront which served locals as a mixed business for more than 40 years.
Owner Yoni Kalfus hadn’t planned on starting a new restaurant just eight months after parting ways with his Moroccan-inspired Cafe Mint in Surry Hills. But one morning he walked into the store on the corner of Mitchell Street and Murriverie Road and walked out with a location for his next venture. It didn’t take long to get mates Erez Beker and Ariel Hefer onboard.
Their vision is to create the kind of meals that they ate with their families in Israel. According to them, Israeli food has changed in the last few years as young chefs who have travelled abroad have brought inspiration back to the home country. Kalfus and Beker capture this fusion with their menu, adding a twist to the Israeli tradition.
If you’re a fan of shakshuka, you won’t leave disappointed. The family-sized dish of baked eggs in a spicy, thick tomato sauce is served with whole loaves of freshly baked bread, designed to scoop up as much of the sauce as possible. Also notable is the teff pancake, made with Ethiopian teff flour, ricotta, sweet dukkah, maple, apple and pear compote, halva (a sweet common in parts of the Middle East and North Africa), berries and crushed pistachios.
Shuk also offers a variety of pastries and breads, so even if you can’t stay, pop in for a takeaway pastry and coffee.