• Shanklin (Hawthorn East)

You might not know its name, but they will know yours. Or so it seems of this popular neighbourhood café that opened by  Francis Chehade, his brother Johnny and friend, Aboudy Yaacoub in friendly Hawthorn East. The staff welcomed most people by name, and knew their coffee orders. It is a chic place with a blend of style, good foodie staples and extremely friendly staff.

‘Shanklin’ was written on the original building. This, and the façade, have been kept. A front courtyard has been added before the main entrance. Inside, the attractive, curved-wood interior is met with polished concrete floors and stylish fittings. The chairs are less stylish, and less comfortable, and perhaps the tables were supposed to give a relaxed feeling instead of dowdiness.

The coffee was pretty but not to my taste. It was weak but hazelnutty, well made, but with a blend that tastes more like newspaper. Still, I have many friends who like this style of coffee, so please try it for yourself.

All your usual favourites are on the menu. Don’t expect anything out of the ordinary, just good meals, done well.

The shakshuka was garnished with fragrant fresh dill. The tomato sauce was rich, and there was a lot of it. The eggs were perfectly cooked with runny yolks. The goats’ curd was beautifully soft. The mini mushrooms had been pre-cooked in garlic. Everything was cooked just the right amount. There were strong and complementing flavours of dill, tomato and goats’ curd. It was delicious.

But the thing I enjoyed most about this neighbourhood hang out was the atmosphere. There were only three tables taken when I arrived before nine in the morning, but as soon as the clock ticked over that hour, it began to fill. Even my first time there, I was greeted by an over-enthusiastic smile from a man who seemed too dosed with caffeine and happiness in life to show me otherwise.

Perhaps that is why it is the feel good café. Maybe everyone comes here, not for the yummy food or relaxed space, but to simply feel good.

500 Tooronga Road
Hawthorn East VIC 3123
03 98827549
Shanklin Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato