Feel like Armenian tonight? You will soon when Shukah opens in Windsor
When the Kalian group, made up of brothers Aret and Sasoon Arzadian and cousin Garen Maskal, opened their upmarket CBD dining room Sezar in 2014, their objective was to introduce Melbourne diners to Armenian flavours with a contemporary take on classics from the land-locked nation between the Middle East and Europe.
With Shukah, set for an April launch, executive chef Maskal is aiming to have a bit more fun with the Armenian inspiration with a more casual approach. "If Sezar is a black tie venue, Shukah is going to be more of a casual night out on Chapel Street where you might have a few cocktails after dinner," he adds.
The menu is still in progress with the help of head chef Sean Thomas (formerly of Gingerboy), but Maskal is planning on taking inspiration from the kind of food he ate at home: big meaty centrepieces with plenty of vegetables and mezze side dishes. If you're familiar with Sezar's menu, Shukah will feature similar flavours prepared in a much simpler way. With only 40 seats in the menu, the executive chef wanted to have big flavours on the share plates-focused menu using a Mibrasa charcoal oven, which will be used to cook hunks of protein to fresh Armenian flatbread.
Maskal explains, "modern day Armenian cuisine is not too different to Middle Eastern cuisine". "In the last century or so, Armenia has been part of the Soviet Union, and the Armenian diaspora in places from Egypt to Lebanon lead to a lot of international influences coming back to our dishes, so the menu at Shukah takes into account all of these influences."
Moving into the Windsor end of Chapel Street in April, Shukah will be moving to a stretch of restaurants best known for hip, new-school Asian restaurants. Shukah may be taking a similar approach to a cuisine's traditional fare, but we can't wait for some new flavour to be injected into this foodie strip.
104 Chapel St