By Aimee Sics
There’s certainly no shortage of trendy cafés in Sydney’s inner west. Café Shenkin has been in the leafy neighbourhood of Erskineville for quite some time and has cemented itself as more than just a hip hangout.
Named after a famous street in Tel Aviv, Israel, Café Shenkin is a family owned and operated business. Arik Haikin, his wife Bosmat and two sons, Din and Bar all work together to draw on their Israeli heritage to help create this warm and welcoming café.
Arik trained as a baker at the family’s bakery back in Israel and is Head Chef at Café Shenkin. Arik is in charge of making all the bread and tasty pastries such as boureka, chocolate pyramids and babkas that are on display in the glass cabinet.
With Arik in charge of the food, this means that Din and Bar focus on the coffee side of things. The La Marzocco Linea sits proudly at the front of the café and keeps customers happy with a Dark Horse Mecca blend that Din describes as having “a light to medium body to it, as well as hints of caramel and sugar cane coming through”.
“Coffee is seasonal and we want to ensure that each customer is getting the perfect cup, staying loyal to the Mecca name,” says Din. “With the majority of our patronage through the week being locals, it’s important that all of our baristas are pouring with accuracy every time.”
Furnished with raw timber pieces and eclectic decorations such as antique cooking pots hanging from the ceiling, Din says they endeavoured to make the place feel as homey as possible. The menu is a reflection of this too – a fusion of both Israeli and Modern Australian cuisines. Must try items include the shakshuka (baked eggs in a rich tomato sauce) and the Shenkin wrap.
The success of this café meant that in July 2012, the family opened up an espresso bar in Newtown and Shenkin Kitchen in Enmore will open later in 2013.
“It’s very exciting, we’re building everything ourselves,” says Din. “We love what we do, the area is great and there is a devoted customer base which makes it even better.”