Brisbane is the city that brunches. With our warm weather and sunshine, weekends in the river city are the perfect time to unwind over a long indulgent breakfast. But if you’re a bit over standard-issue bacon and eggs, then look no further than Paddington’s Shouk Cafe.
Standing on a corner block just off LaTrobe Terrace, Shouk is a quiet and unassuming space in comparison to the bustling antique shops on the Terrace. But don’t be fooled – the long queue of people waiting for a table is a sure sign of great cafe. And this place does not disappoint. After you’ve parked your car and hiked up the narrow hilly streets to Shouk (bring your FitBit – those steps count!), pop your name on the waiting list. We’ve never had to wait longer than 15 minutes for a table but if you don’t want to, you can just leave your number and wander onto LaTrobe Terrance to browse antiques.
The interior is beautifully simple with polished wooden floor boards, white walls adored with Middle Eastern artifacts (check out the mosaic tile wall in the barista area) and plenty of natural light thanks to the large windows. There is a small seating area at the front which opens out into a larger room behind the barista area. Personally, I always prefer the quieter tables at the front of the cafe because it can get very noisy in the back room, but a table is a table right?!
The coffee here is pretty good. I was tempted by the Limonana, a blended drink of crushed ice, lemon and mint. It looked amazing and was quite refreshing, but it was just a bit too tangy for my liking.
Shouk’s menu is inspired by the markets of the Middle East (Shouk means marketplace) and there are so many delicious things to try. The boy settled for the Latke stack, Shouk’s signature dish: Polish potato pancakes fried to perfection stacked with cream cheese and served with poached eggs, smoked salmon, dill, pickled onions and dukkah. All the components work together and the flavours in this dish are outstanding. The Latke stack is usually what I order when I go to Shouk, so for something different I decided to try the Pumpkin and Haloumi. Sourdough toast topped with slices of pan-fried haloumi cheese and grilled pumpkin, served with poached eggs, pumpkin puree and spicy zhuug sauce (made of green chillies, coriander and Middle Eastern spices). I love the combination of sweet and savoury elements so I only have one word to describe this dish: Wow!
We’ve been coming to Shouk since it opened in 2014, and it is one of our favourite places. The food is always delicious and beautifully presented, and they have all day breakfast unlike a lot of places in Brisbane. Even on busy weekends, the staff are friendly and efficient, and don’t make you feel rushed to complete your meal. The only “negative” for me would be the level of noise in the back room which can get quite raucous.
But seriously, do yourself a favour and check out Shouk. Let me know what you think in the comments below!
© Live Life Brisbane 2016