Another early Saturday morning and the SO was scrolling through the breakfast places I had on a to-visit list. It finally came to a toss-up between Anouk and Shouk Café, and it turned out the SO felt like taking a chance on Shouk.
He took the long route, so it took me several minutes to re-orientate myself and realise that Shouk Café is actually located in very familiar territory. Just off La Trobe Terrace on Collingwood St, the modern Middle Eastern influenced café is housed in a warm blue-grey corner shop that has seen a modern extension out the back, thus providing guests seated at the back of the café an almost bird’s eye picturesque view of the little suburbia towards Jubilee Terrace.
Arriving just before 8:15am, we took advantage of the plentiful empty tables to position ourselves in the front end of the café. It wasn’t long before the tables filled and staff were offering table-less patrons the option to order coffees (or some breakfast) while they waited for one to become available.
Funnily enough, as we waited for our order to arrive, a figure loomed over our table with a very familiar ‘hi’. Fellow food blogger Anthony from FoodMeUpScotty and his wife had also quite coincidentally chosen to break their fast at Shouk Café. Perhaps great stomachs, much like great minds, think alike. I know mine certainly speaks at inappropriate moments, so it is at the very least very talkative.
The Jackson is Shouk Cafe‘s interpretation of the big breakfast and they were not sparing anything or anyone with this menu number. Two eggs done the way you like it, mer guez sausage, crispy bacon, herb roasted tomato, garlic butter braised kale, latke and two slabs of toasted sourdough – take that, hunger pangs! This would definitely be the one for the massive hangover.
The SO’s thoughts on The Jackson were that of all the elements, the bacon was the plainest. After tasting both the spicy mer guez sausage and gorgeously buttered mushrooms, I would be inclined to agree. Even the SO’s scrambled eggs looked deceptively dry and overcooked, but turned out very smooth, soft and tasty. Nonetheless both the SO and I agreed that Shouk Cafe have some of the best mushrooms we’ve ever tasted. If you don’t like kale or something else in The Jackson, ask for more mushrooms. I don’t think you’d regret it.
The Latke Stack is a triple Polish potato pancake stack with either smoked salmon or shaved leg ham, served with two poached eggs, cream cheese, dill and pickled red onion. I have never tasted an authentic latke stack, but if this were just a shadow of the original, then I would probably cross desserts for the real deal. The potato pancakes had been cooked till the edges were crispy, so it speaks of the chef’s patience (I often pull fritters and pancakes too early for them to crisp up properly).
Layered between each pancake with a smoothering of cream cheese, I opted for the smoked salmon, which complemented the thin slices of purple pickled onion. It helped cut through the richness, so I wasn’t left feeling sick afterward. The dish was also finished with a scattering of sumac and homemade dukkah.
Shouk Cafe was certainly a winner with us and I am definitely looking forward to dropping in again to try their Goats Milk Date Panna Cotta and Olive and Lemon Chicken Tagine next.