Sunday, April 08, 2007

April 5, 2007: Shakahari II

Cindy and I marked the start of the Easter long weekend with a jaunt to Cinema Nova to see The Namesake. In keeping with appropriate long-weekend behaviour, we took the lazy option of buying dinner somewhere beforehand and, after pondering our local choices, found ourselves at Shakahari for a second go.

The menu had changed slightly since we'd last visited, and we were overwhelmed with delicious -sounding dishes to sample. Often when we eat out we find ourselves limited to choices from a small subsection of the menus, so it's very exciting to go to a restaurant overflowing with vegetarian delights. Rather than limit ourselves to one each, we shared three of the starters to taste as much as we could.

First up was the mushroom aroi mak: assorted mushrooms fried in basil oil served with fragrant Thai herbs and crunchy greens with a lemongrass dressing ($12). This dish was more salad-like than I anticipated, but was still loaded up with a fine array of mushrooms. The dressing chilli-hot but not particularly lemony; the basil oil and the herbs provided enough flavour for it not to matter.

Then came the avocado rolls ($12), apparently a signature dish: tempura fried avocado rolled in thin eggplant slices in rice batter, drizzled with a sesame coriander puree. The corainder sauce provided an eye-catching burst of colour and a flavour that compliments the fried batter and avocado perfectly. It's easy to see why this is one of their more popular dishes - it was by far the most difficult one to share.

Finally, we had hijiki parcels ($12.50): crispy beancurd pastry rolled with julienne vegetables and hijiki seaweed, served with a wasabi miso sauce and a pile of mixed sprouts. These were quite good, the chewy beancurd and the crisp vegetables giving our teeth a good workout. The sweet miso sauce lacked any noticeable wasabi bite, but was still a tasty accompaniment.

While the prices are a little higher than we'd generally pay, it's worth it to eat at a vegetarian restaurant that makes a bit of an effort to come up with some interesting flavour and texture combinations and provides some options beyond the standard vego fare. With its warm, earthy atmosphere and friendly staff, it's little wonder Shakahari has been around for more than thirty years.

You can read about our previous visit to Shakahari here.


  1. Rather shamefully, I've never eaten here.

    Will endeavour to convince the Artist to escort me to the other side of town to eat hijiki parcels.

    I do love seaweed.

  2. Lucy, I think it's worth the effort! After the first visit, the hijiki parcels (or the avocado rolls) might just pull you across town for a repeat.