Friday, 4 December 2009

shakahari 二, carlton

On Wednesday evening, we ventured out to Shakahari with Sheebaface and Zanchey. This was my second visit of recent months (you can read about my previous visit here).

I was interested to discover the menu had changed since my October visit (this change felt very seasonal), especially in light of Cindy's comment on my previous post, indicating that they had kept the same menu for some time.

I commenced the evening with a delightfully pink cocktail, the name of which I sadly cannot recall. A zen something? It was bright pink and delicious, and a great opening gambit on my part. D was very excited to drink a strawberry daiquiri, delicious and strong (but not a pinch on the B.Adam school of strawberry daiquiris).

lentil parcels at shakahari

We shared a serve of the lentil parcels, and a serve of the avocado rolls, for starters. Between the four of us, we had two votes for the superiority of the lentil parcels, and two for the avocado rolls. Sadly for me, the highlight of the lentil parcels was the thin slice of nori wrapped around the middle.

laksa at shakahari

D ordered the laksa. This was rich and quite different from the laksa we're used to (assam), I would perhaps consider it a curry noodles filled with mushroom, tempe and udon noodles. It was a bit too much for D so I finished it up, and it was delicious.

satay at shakahari

Zanchey selected the satay. The sauce on this dish was amazing, but the other elements were less so. He was particularly unenthused by the side salad with which it came, featuring a cold floret of broccoli. It was also the first encounter of all of us with seitan, and none of us were particularly impressed. It was very chewy.

moroccan something at shakahari

Sheeba ordered a Moroccan something, which she said was very enjoyable. It came with some flavoured cous cous, which I sampled (and was delicious). Sheeba reported that the eggplant of the curry itself was excellent, which, given she is not usually a fan of eggplant, is high praise indeed.

pot pie at shakahari

Finally, after much deliberation, I picked the pot pie. This dish was rich, and I enjoyed the gravy and the slices of potato and sweet potato thinly spread across the top, but the very centre of the pie was slightly chilled, and over all I wasn't blown away. This was a slight downer, just because I enjoy being blown away by dishes at shakahari.

As an aside, usually I don't require a lot of time for deliberation of dishes, so that it took me so long highlights the issue I had with this iteration of the mains menu - nothing on it really stood out for me. The dessert menu, now, it has a pandan panacotta, sadly not vegan, but some people I know will probably take to it eagerly. And the entree menu was awesome also.

Over all though, a good evening out, and nice service.

201 Faraday St


Girl on Raw said...

Delish! This post is making me really hungry. All the eats look divine :)

Niki said...

Oh, I'm a bit disappointed for you that it wasn't an endless raving review about how brilliant it was.

I've tried all those except the laksa before, which looks great!

Cindy said...

Yay, new menu!

Unfortunately I think Shakahari is now less consistently brilliant than it has been in the past, though there are still a few amazing dishes on offer.

steph said...

Niki, it was still a good evening and good food, just not endless delight! cocktail was excellent, though :o)

Cindy, I can't offer any thoughts on its consistency, given I've only been four or five times! But I remember being blown away the first few times, so I don't know.

Eurasian Sensation said...

I must say I can't help but feel disappointed every time I go to Shakahari. (I haven't been that many times, for that very reason.) I think the potential is there to be something great, and the entrees are usually really good, but the mains are usually very average in my opinion.

I'm lacto-ovo in my diet so perhaps my perspective is a little different. But I sometimes wonder if a lot of vegetarians (and particularly vegans) are so often starved for choice when eating out that they get enthusiastic over fairly average food, which is what places like Shakahari and Vegie Bar seem like to me.

Compare that to somewhere like Moroccan Soup Bar, or some of the Indian vegetarian places, which attract plenty of meat-eaters as well, since the food is just damn tasty.

Steph, you gotta try Lakshmi Vilas in Dandenong, or Gujju's in East Malvern. (I can't promise there won't be any ghee in the cooking, however).

steph said...

ES, I have had some excellent meals at Shakahari, and some ordinary meals, which is fine, except - it's find dining, I want excellent every time! And you are right, it is usually the entrees (and incidentally, the desserts) that are the stand outs.

I would agree with your thoughts - certainly in Perth I see this a lot, because Perth only has six vegetarian restaurants, so the enthusiasm at all of them is quite high. (And Vegie Bar is quite average)

I can ask about the ghee, I have yet to find a great Indian restaurant here. Are the North or South, do you know? And I have to get my exploring hat on, start venturing out to the suburbs for food.

Eurasian Sensation said...

There are some good Indian places in Melbourne, none as good as what I've tried in Malaysia though. But nonetheless, I'm a champion of Indian food for vegetarians, because I'd rather eat proper dahl made by an Indian than some crappy dahl made by a white hippy.

Try these -
A place in Richmond called Nirvana I think. Haven't been there in ages but I hear really good reports. All vegetarian.

Gujju's is the cuisine of Gujarat in West India. Totally veg. They are in East Malvern but just opened up one in Hawthorn as well.

Lakshmi Vilas (in Dandy) is South Indian - similar to what you'd get at the banana leaf joints in Malaysia. Not fancy at all but tastes great.

For North Indian, another non-fancy but awesomely tasty little place (non-veg) is Classic Curry in North Melbourne. I've been going there for years, doesn't disappoint.

My friend raves about a Pakistani (non-veg) place in Coburg called Lazzat Kadah. Haven't checked it out though.

steph said...

Yeah, I tend not to order dahl unless I'm in an Indian restaurant - I mean, I don't mind the variations but it's not really dahl.

Thanks for these recs! I would love a good dahl, and also a good dosa. Oh dosa!