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