What’s on the menu at Shook, a new vegetarian restaurant from the team behind Byblos and Patria

What’s on the menu at Shook, a new vegetarian restaurant from the team behind Byblos and Patria

Name: Shook
Contact: 77 Portland St., 647-484-7476, shookkitchen.com, @shookkitchen
Neighbourhood: King West
Owner: Hanif Harji (Byblos, Patria, Weslodge)
Chef: Ben Heaton (Byblos, Patria, Weslodge)
Accessibility: Fully accessible entrance and washroom

The food

Iconink’s Hanif Harji wants you to know he’s not claiming to serve authentic Israeli food at Shook. “Israeli food is driven by the terroir, so this is more Israeli-inspired as we’re focused on using local ingredients,” says Harji. They just pickled 500 pounds of ramps, and are in the process of pickling almost the same volume of green strawberries. “Luckily, this type of cuisine uses a lot of pickled and fermented ingredients, so we can get produce at its peak and use it year-round.”

The house-made labneh is topped with dried mint, honey, sumac and olive oil. $10.

 

The hummus comes topped with crispy chickpeas, pickled chilies, sumac and red onions. $14.

 

There are seven different dips on the menu, all served with house-made pita. This is the whipped feta, which comes with charred cherry tomatoes, urfa chili, fried oregano and fresh basil. $12.

 

These truffle honey-anointed mushroom kibbeh come served with pickled mushrooms in a puddle of labneh. $15.

 

For the fig salad, baby gem lettuce, goat cheese and walnuts are dressed in an orange blossom-saffron vinaigrette. $16.

 

Tahdig is cooked in a well-oiled pan so that the rice on the top (which at one point was on the bottom of the pan) gets crispy. Turmeric gives the rice a golden hue. $26.

 

The spring vegetable tagine is full of saffron chickpeas, zucchini, potatoes, apricots, kale and hawaij spices. $24.

 

Chef Ben Heaton.

 

There’s no gas hook-up here. Everything is cooked over one of two fires. They were dehydrating grapes during our visit.

 

And this is the brick oven where the pitas are made to order.

 

Some steamy, freshly baked pita.

 

The rose-and-cardamom pastille layers phyllo pastry with sumac-flavoured strawberry compote, mint and almonds. $9.

 

The warm chocolate cake is topped with chocolate mousse and thin date cookies. A smattering of sesame seeds finish the dessert. $9.

 

A grab-and-go counter serves coffees and other baked goods. Pictured here is the Beets ‘n’ Roses latte made with rosewater, beetroot, cardamom and vanilla ($4.50) and the chocolate babka ($6).

 

Iconink’s Hanif Harji.

 

The drinks

The wine card is divided into “classics” (the heavy hitting European wine regions of France, Spain and Italy), “newcomers” (North- and South-American wines), and “originals,” wines from Israel, Turkey and Lebanon. They’re also carrying some intriguing sparklings, like a pet nat sauvignon blanc from New Zealand. House cocktails look to the Middle East for inspiration: rosewater, pomegranate and sesame are some of the familiar flavours layered into the potent potions.

The Yofi Tofi blends white rum with matcha, sesame, pineapple, lime and orange blossom water. $16.

 

The Royal Beach is Shook’s take on an Aperol Spritz. It blends Aperol with white port and Heist sour ale. $14.

 

The Par Par 75, Shook’s take on a French 75, gets its colour from butterfly pea flower. The boozy ingredients are prosecco and gin. $12.

 

The space

“We used sand, water and sky as the inspiration,” says Harji about the 78-seat room decorated by interior design firm Model Ctzn. The market-inspired entrance is full of Instagrammy tchotchkes like pretty potted plants, dried bouquets, spice blends, shirts tie-dyed with food scraps, cookbooks and house-pickled veggies, all of which are for sale. Harji wanted the space to be warm and inviting, like being in someone’s kitchen. To achieve this, the kitchen is entirely open and the flickering fires can be seen from the street through the floor-to-ceiling windows. A street-side patio is in the works.