Laura Porter
10th Dec 2014

Most Sydneysiders don’t have to travel too far from their own suburb for good Thai, Chinese and Italian food. Even Mexican, Indian and Korean restaurants are becoming more common. But not many suburbs count Israeli within their international melting pot of cuisine. One that does is North Bondi.

Since late 2013 North Bondi has been home to Shuk. For the 40 years prior the corner site housed a local shop. But that all changed one day when Bondi local Yoni Kalfus jumped on the opportunity to transform 2 Mitchell Street into Shuk.

Yoni, the former owner of Café Mint in Surry Hills, explains how “In Israel the shuk is a marketplace with 100s of stalls selling everything from spices and clothing to meat and cheeses. It’s a place where locals come for fresh ingredients and to meet friends and family at one of the many cafes or food stands around the market”. This was Yoni’s inspiration for Shuk Bondi – he wants it to be “an open home for locals, a place where customers come for their daily loaf of bread and stay for a coffee or lunch”.

Over the last 50 or so years the food in Israel has been shaped by immigrants from over 100 different countries. So whether you’re at Shuk for breakfast, lunch or dinner you’ll choose from a diverse menu influenced by Turkish, Middle Eastern, Arabic and Mediterranean cuisine.

For breakfast look beyond the usual suspects and consider the Israeli breakfast for a traditional option or the vegetarian ‘Lady-tradie’ (slow-cooked eggs with labn’e, spinach, lentils and more). Lunch brings a range of healthy salads that must be hot favourites with the Bondi paleo/vegan/superfood crowd. There’s also a fair few dishes on the all-day menu, including the ever popular shakshuka. The coffee? It’s good too. In another nod to their ‘home away from home for locals’ philosophy even the coffee beans from Bay Coffee Roasters are roasted a little bit darker – just how Shuk locals like them.

By day you can drop into Shuk unplanned but by night almost every table is buzzing with a mixed crowd. Every table appears to be enjoying plate after plate of Shuk’s generous, hearty food washed down with their favourite bottle of wine or two (yes its BYO wine).

When it comes to weekend dinners Shuk keeps loyal locals interested with a menu that changes regularly depending on seasonal produce. Hopefully the mezze plate is a permanent entrée - because it includes what’s possibly the best baba ganush in Sydney alongside a man-sized portion of Shuk’s bread.

Shuk don’t take the easy option of using Sonoma or Iggy’s or Brasserie bread. Instead they invest as much passion into their bread as their authentic smoky baba ganush. Two bakers make all of the bread, pastries and muffins on the premises daily. Chances are you’ll walk away with a loaf or two of sourdough.

Back to the dinner menu. Meat lovers will be very happy with one of several hearty dishes like the slow-cooked beef cheeks or the braised lamb shoulder. Both are both cooked sous-vide style to retain moisture and flavour. Fish fans are well catered for too with dishes like the Shuk bouillabaisse, and the Shuk seafood plate including everything from tuna, to salmon to octopus, prawns and mussels.

With Shuk’s generous serving even die-hard dessert fans will question whether they can squeeze in dessert, but they’ll be happy when they do. The experimental dessert chef knows how to satisfy a sweet tooth if the ‘earl grey chocolate mousse with cocoa crunch’ is anything to go by.

Shuk is clearly a spot that Bondi locals may prefer to keep a secret – not just because of the unusual mix of Israeli inspired delights but also because everything is priced so well that it wouldn’t take much to choose Shuk over cooking at home. Indeed I’m sure many regulars do just that, more often than they’d admit.

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2 Mitchell Street
North Bondi
+61 423 199 859

Mon – Thu 6am – 5pm

Fri – Sat 6am – 10pm

Sun 7am – 5pm