• Shakahari

Shakahari is an institution for vegetarians.  Apparently.  I had not visited it before Friday.  Whether it was the closed façade or the claim of fine dining, I had felt intimidated to drop in for a meal.    Yet when I asked my friend what type of restaurant she wanted me to take her to for her birthday, and she responded that she had always wanted to try a ‘nice vegetarian restaurant’, Shakahari was the first to come to mind.

Shakahari is stereotypically vegetarian.  Looking at the other diners, it seemed we were the most tanned and  dressed up.  The space is a converted home with polished floor boards and yellow walls (infusing the relaxed and casual feeling that typifies the university suburb of Carlton).

We ordered several dishes to share:  Avocado Magic, Scent of Green Papaya, Satay Shakahari and Croquettes de Chine.  What a luxury to have to choose what we wanted to eat! Despite the posh and imaginative names, the dishes were wholesome and balanced between all the food groups.

The Avocado Magic was tempura fritters filled with avocado, red capcicum and shavings of eggplant. The tempura was served with a sweet coriander sauce.  In my opinion, avocado is always better raw and ripe, than cooked.  Still, the dish was creative and flavoursome.

I love papaya salad.  Shakahari’s was no different, except for the comfort that it was wholly vegetarian.

The croquettes were crispy potato patties with a sweet black bean sauce, salad and kimchi.

The satay skewers were yam, tofu, onion and capsicum heavily fried and generously sauced with a mild satay.  These were served with brown rice and pickled cabbage and ginger.

We enjoyed sharing as it meant trying more dishes, but a main would be a healthy and balanced meal for one person.  Rather than finding Shakahari a fine dining experience as I had expected, it served casual and tasty vegetarian food in a comfortable atmosphere.  Sure, the food was more complex than other vegetarian eateries, but it still respected the essence of vegetarian eating: healthy and animal-free food.

There was nothing tempting on Shakahari’s dessert menu, and with Brunetti across the road, we decided to go to there for sweets.

201-203 Faraday St
Carlton 3053
03 9347 3848

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