If you’ve lived in the inner west in the last few years (or you really like good cafes) it’s likely you’ll have visited one of the Shenkin cafes: Shenkin in Erskineville, Shenkin Espresso on King Street in Newtown or Shenkin Kitchen on Enmore Road. It’s also likely you’ll welcome the news of a fourth in Surry Hills, sharing the trademark home-style Israeli food, Mecca coffee and warmth from the owners – brothers Din and Bar Haikin and their father, Arie.
“We always wanted to come out of the inner west, just to explore, meet different clientele and challenge ourselves,” says Din. The dishes that define Shenkin reappear here – shakshuka, sabih with smoky eggplant and boiled egg, falafel with a thick, crunchy outer layer and smooth, rich hummus.
“Dad is in the kitchen every day, tasting stuff, coming up with suggestions,” Din says. “All his recipes consider the Australian and the Israeli palate and try to combine them.”
Din spent two months travelling around Israel and Europe for inspiration for the evening menu, which is top secret until the cafe opens at night in a month. “We’re playing with different meats, different ways of serving … I’ve got lots of new ideas,” is all Din will divulge.
The cafe will be BYO until it gets council approval; Israeli wines and beers from Young Henrys will follow. “We became very close [with Young Henrys] in Enmore. We might start working on a beer together,” Din says. Arak, an aniseed-flavoured spirit commonly imbibed in Israel will be modified for Australian tastes. “We’re going to try and come up with a [cold-drip] method of putting arak at the top instead of water, and use fruit instead of coffee.” If you’re brave, ask for a shot and impress the owners.
Shenkin Surry Hills 290 Crown Street, Surry Hills
Hours Daily 7am–6pm