Monday, 12 October 2009

shakahari, carlton

It has been some time since my last visit to Shakahari, so it was with some delight that I met up with H there recently.

We settled ourselves into a corner table, well away from the many couples, as we didn't want to disrupt their dates. We spent a lot of time chatting, and very little time perusing the menu - we quickly decided on the avocado rolls and the rice gnocci to share, and the croquettes and the lasagna, and declared that we would attempt dessert.

We also drank a lot of delicious genma cha.

the often talked about avocado rolls

The avocado rolls have been quite talked up, so it was a must to try. The batter was crisp, and the deep-fried nature of the avocado was interesting. The avocado was served with a coriander sauce, which it definitely needed - without it, the rolls would have just been deep-fried and a little on the plain side, but with the sauce they were a delight.

The rice gnocci was soft and tasty, and the salad on top (which might have been pickled? I can't remember) really added some awesome flavour.

rice gnocci in a coriander sauce

The lasagna was very filling, very bulky. It had quinoa, which is not my favourite grain but which added something fun to the texture of the lasagna, which is an experience I am not sure I enjoyed, but it was definitely interesting. It was really delicious, though.

lasagna at shakahari

I sampled a small piece of H's croquette. The croquette was good, but the sauce with which it was served was amazing - a chilled ginger and carrot sauce, which I think would be an amazing dessert sauce.

croquettes in a ginger and carrot sauce

I left all of my salad (it was boring, some lettuce leaves and a small amount of dressing), and H left one whole croquette, in order to ensure we had enough room for dessert. We shared a rhubarb crumble, with a scoop of soy icecream on the side, and it was delightful. Just the right amount of tart rhubarb and dry crumble, what a delight!

Not as delightful as the company, of course, but this is a blog for food, so.

201 Faraday St


Cindy said...

Hey, looks like Shakahari have finally changed their menu again! I was starting to wonder if it had frozen in time.

steph said...

Cindy, anything in particular that looks new? The menu felt very familiar to me (but I've only been there three or four times, spaced out over three years, so I might not have noticed).

Penny said...

Ooh I love Shakahari. The croquettes look different to last time I was there (which was a while ago). I'm glad they still have the avocado rolls, they're great!

H said...

It was a great night out -- I slightly lost my voice a bit as I don't generally talk at that much!

The avocado rolls were lazily executed, I felt -- the avocado was brown, the tempura concealed pockets of flour. I also thought that red capsicum was a poor choice of companion ingredient -- visually it was pretty but in terms of flavour it was bland avocado up against bland roasted pepper. Very subtle. The sauce was indeed delicious. I think a more successful pairing would have more intrinsic flavour -- avocado and mango with chilli, for example -- rather than relying on the sauce.

The gnocchi had a strange sweaty taste that I couldn't identify, and a very wet, soft texture. I absolutely loved the salad though, I'm a sucker for a quick pickle that has well-balanced sweet, sour, salty and hot.

The croquettes were absolutely delicious. Well balanced and tasty, with a fabulous mix of textures. There was a crunch (water chestnuts? raw peanuts? both?) contrasted with a yielding smoothness. The orange and ginger sauce was lovely but quite sweet, and perhaps could had used a more savoury note -- perhaps a touch of chilli and miso. The side of steamed veggies and lettuce was unappetising.

As I do not have a sweet tooth, it surprised me how much I enjoyed the dessert. Fruit crumble is probably my favourite dessert and this was the best one I have eaten all year (including my own!). Served in its own ramekin dish, it was a nice portion size too. There were delicious soft chunks of early rhubarb, tangy and earthy, and a light, friable topping heavy on almonds. YUM.

BrisVegan said...

I am ever jealous of your Melbourne veg options. I will have to put Shakahari on my very long list of places to try next time I am in Melbourne.

steph said...

H, I liked the soft, sweaty element of the gnocci. I'd never had rice gnocci prior to this, so I was quite interested in its differences to potato gnocci and liked the way it turned out.

steph said...

BrisVegan, I am still quite enamoured of all the Melbourne Veg options, given I have only been living here for three months it is all quite a novelty still!