I'm a total foodie and Mum of two young children. I'm always looking to share my culinary and/or family-friendly experiences around Brisbane.
Published July 14th 2015
Anyone who has eaten breakfast at Shouk cafe in Paddington would be excited to hear their door recently opened for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights. I went with my two girlfriends to Shouk for a Middle Eastern evening of food, food and more food and we were not disappointed. On the day, an Optus service issue meant the phone line was down and I had wondered if we would be forced to eat elsewhere. However that evening the door was not only open but owner Guy Frawley was there to greet us with a smile (and a table).
Shouk's food is fresh and mostly healthy, using spices and flavours inspired by countries across the Middle East such as Israel and Morocco. Their vibrant, colourful dishes reminded me of a trip to the Souk markets in Marrakesh with its heaped piles of dried fruit and spices, hanging fabrics, ceramics and pottery stalls. Thankfully at Shouk there was an enticing aroma of garlic and spices rather than the pungent smell of leather goods. And when it wasn't full and busy masticating, my mouth couldn't stop saying some of the lovely words on the menu. Like the 'Fatoush' salad. Or 'Nish Nush', a Hebrew word for snack.
Bring a bottle of wine and a group of friends (or family) because Shouk is BYO and the menu is designed to be shared. There is an assortment of salads, meats and seafood although many of the dishes are vegan or vegetarian. If you find it overwhelming you can order from the suggested menu of Nish Nush, Mezze and Mains for 2, 4 or 6 people. Our Mezze consisted of a combination of salads and flatbreads and was the first to arrive. Unfortunately, we didn't pace ourselves enough for all the dishes we had requested, and possibly ordered a little too ambitiously. We still enjoyed some Yerakot (salads), and our mains which included a beef cheek and prune tagine with saffron cous cous and the citrus cured ocean trout. The cardamom panna cotta with baklava was a delectable end to the meal.
Don't be deceived by share plate culture as Shouk had me waking up the next morning still feeling full. Luckily it is situated at the top of the hill for those to enjoy a slow post-dinner stroll or roll back to the car. See their website www.shoukcafe.com.au or Facebook page for more details.