Warming up with a touch of shakshuka

The ritual of going out for breakfast is something I still haven't taken full advantage of in this neighbourhood. It used to happen more often when we lived in Pyrmont and ate at our favourite local caf virtually every weekend but somehow my own creamy scrambled eggs with toast and a flat white from our trusy espresso machine prevents me from handing money over for something I can replicate at home. Sunny Saturday morning sipping a coffee under the bamboo while watching the koi hoover up the pellets I just fed them. No breakfast queues, no waitstaff with attitude and no prams to trip over. I love my backyard, but I'll love it even more when we finish renovating it.

The cold and wet shadows this winter is casting has made me yearn for a hot breakfast in a cosy space and the place I've decided to break my domestic habit is to be found up the road in the village. Erskineville village, that is. I've known about Shenkin for quite a while now yet never bothered to check it out until prompted by a colleague a couple of months ago. I was surprised to hear they serve up Israeli food as well as your usual cafe menu suspects and the coffee, I was told, was meant to be really good.

If you were to use one word to describe the decor it would have to be eclectic. King Street south, not too far from here, is teeming with yunk/antique shops and it seems some of that has made it to Shenkin. Old ceramic jugs, scales, coffee grinders, cups, grainy photographs, sewing machine, frying pans, it's all here just haphazardly scattered about on shelves amongst chalkboard menus. It's a right old mess, but it works. The young 20-somethings manning the floor are efficient and very friendly and it's hard not to feel like you're already at home. Not that my home is this cluttered.

Mr K decides on the scrambled eggs with haloumi (13) and is met with a huge serving atop two pieces of toast. The eggs are fairly good and a little on the dry side.

I go for something a little more traditional, a little more Israeli. The house specialty - shakshuka (14). My colleague told me about this so I just had to give it a go. Two eggs poached in a tomato sauce with capsicum, onion, cumin, turmeric and a little chilli. The terracotta dish it came steaming in is served on a wooden board with two incredibly fresh pita breads, ready for the dunking. It's rich, hearty, a little spicy and ideal for a cold winters breakfast. Just beautiful.

When it comes to the coffee, the beans they use are Jack and the Bean and the young guy that made them for us on this visit really knows how to work that machine to its capacity. It's not as gutsy as the beans I currently take home from Workshop Espresso, but it's still worth ordering a second cup.

Shenkin
53 Erskineville Road
Erskineville 2043
Mon-Sat 7am-5pm
Sun 8am-5pm
Closed Tues         
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