Dukkah Restaurant

It’s no secret by now that Middle Eastern food is one of my all-time-favourite cuisines. Dips, pickled goodies, and all the grilled meats that are on offer makes for a hearty meal any day of the week.

Egyptian food is a strand of Middle Eastern cuisine that’s a little harder to find in Melbourne, and something I’ve always been wanting to try since reading about it in one of my favourite Chinese author’s travel journal. And this is where Dukkah comes in, with its one-page menu having a mixture of familiar and comfortable options and dishes that I couldn’t pronounce, it was the perfect place for me to dip my toes into Egyptian cuisine.

Trio of Dips – $17.00

Starting things off, we had the trio of dips. The turmeric and dukkah added some interest to the humble hummus, and the beet labneh had just the right amount of acidity to whet the palate for what’s to come. My favourite though, was the fel-fel, an Egyptian campsicum dip that was based off a family recipe, it was nourish with a hint of sweetness, and I could have eaten a tub of this thing on my own.

Cheese Cigars – $12.00

The cheese cigars were piping hot and reminiscent in shape to spring rolls. We were warned to wait a couple minutes before digging in.

Cheese Cigars – $12.00

The mixture of halloumi, feta and mozzarella meant the cigars were tangy, rich and satisfying, and the cheese pull was just as visually pleasing as I had expected.

Mixed Grill – $24.00

Onto the larger dishes we go. The mixed grill is a good option if you are as indecisive as we are and want to try a bit of everything. On the plate we had lamb kofta, chicken shish tawook, and spicy beef sausage, accompanied with rice pilaf, garden salad, and plenty of lemon and garlic tahini to drizzle over everything. The grilled goods all had something different to offer, and my favourite was the lamb kofta, which was extremely tender and flavoursome.

Chicken Shawarma Tagine – $22.00

The chicken shawarma tagine is something that I’d never seen before, and knowing that it was a specialty at Dukkah, it was a must-order from the get go. This was a winner in terms of both flavour and texture. The layers of perfectly grilled 24-hour marinated chicken shawarma and saffron rice was rich and tentalising, with the roasted almonds adding some crunch, and the pops of pomegranate lifting the flavour profile. If you’re a fan of spicy food, be sure to ask for some harissa paste on the side to round off the experience.

Om Ali – $12.00 with Vanilla Ice Cream – $3.00

Despite being quite full at this point, we couldn’t pass up on the dessert, and settled on sharing one between the two of us, because we are sensible adults.

Om Ali – $12.00 with Vanilla Ice Cream – $3.00

We were tossing up between the two dessert options, but Om Ali had us at bread and butter pudding but better. I was confident we could finish this when it was first brought to the table, however, the rich combination of cinnamon milk and puff pastry had us beat. I did enjoy every single monthful that I could manage though.

Melbourne is certainly not lacking in restaurants that serve great food, but on top of the food, what made Dukkah a standout to me was the overall experience. It’s clear that a lot of love and care went into every part of the restaurant, from the menu that boasts flavourful dishes meant for sharing, to the space that accommodates for small and larger groups alike.

Dukkah brings something different to the food scene at South Kingsville, with regular live music events and a range of wine and beer on tap, it’s not difficult to see why it’s become a local favourite in the span of a year. I’m already planning my next meal down the other side of town to try out the lamb tagine!

How to get here:
Catch bus #432 from Yarraville Station, which is on the Werribee train line, and get off at Vernon Road/Brunel Street, and the restaurant is right by the bus stop.

I dined as a guest of Dukkah.

Dukkah Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Shanklin Cafe

Shanklin Cafe has intrigued me for a while now with its crazy high rating of 4.9 on Zomato. After skipping out on brunching for a while, I decided that it was maybe time to restore my faith in what used to be my favourite meal of the day with a visit to Shanklin.

The interior was right up my alley, being set in a restored Victorian style building, and a front yard that was perfect to bring your furry friend to. The inside was equally as pretty, carrying through the rustic use of exposed bricks, with a feature wall of blue and pink mosaic-esque tiles.

Iced Latte – $4.50

It was quite a warm day, and my dining partner chose to have an iced latte. We were a little confused as to how this was served, with a shot of espresso coupled with a larger glass that seemingly already had some coffee in it. Regardless, it was an icy brew that gave the right amount of caffeine kick.

Flat White – $4.00

My usual order of flat white was equally satisfying, being a dark roast that was easy to sip on.

Portobello Mushroom – $23.00

The portobello mushroom is said to be a must-order at Shanklin Cafe, and my friend was more than willing to try the dish, given her love towards mushrooms to start off with. The plate had a lot going on for it; the vibrant colour of the romesco sauce is what first stood out in the dish, which paired well with the earthiness of the juicy portobello mushrooms. The two poached eggs added sustenance, and the zaatar on both the mushrooms themselves and sprinkled over the top brought a Middle-Eastern touch.

Although not marked as such, I think this was a vegetarian dish, and a substantial one at that.

Pork Benny – $22.00

It’s always hard for me to say no when pork belly appears on the menu, and so it was a no-brainer to order the pork benny. The pieces of roasted pork belly was on the fatty side, which means that if you’re a eater of leaner cuts of meat, this may not be right for you. The hollandaise did prevent the dish from being too heavy though, and I did quite enjoy it.

Did I enjoy my meal at Shanklin? Sure. The food was hearty and classic, with innovative elements tied in. I did think that it was on the pricier side though, with most dishes being above the $20 mark, and if you were to order a drink too, the bill would easy rack up to around $30. That’s the thing with a lot of brunch places I think, not exactly over-priced, but not exactly bang for your buck either.

Maybe I’ve just grown out of the brunch phase, but I can’t really justify that sort of spending like I used to. I mean I’m still going to indulge in it here and there, but it certainly isn’t going to be a weekly thing anymore. Oh well, c’est la vie.

How to get here:
Shanklin is located on Tooronga Road, catch the #75 tram and get off at Tooronga Road/Riversdale Road, and the cafe is three minutes walk away.

Shanklin Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato