When Maloneys Grocer on Crown Street closed for renovations, locals lamented the temporary loss of their ultra-convenient fresh food palate. But it soon became known that he had taken over the adjoining space (previously occupied by hair salon Prema) and was set to reopen with an iteration of Shuk, Bondi’s much-loved Middle Eastern restaurant, wedged between the Clock Hotel and the renovated grocer.
“Shuk has evolved since its debut almost 10 years ago,” said co-owner Yoni Kalfus. Large format over coffee at the new Surry Hills excavations. It’s a rare sunny day after weeks of rain, and the main street is busy. Locals seem to love the partnership between their local grocer and the 16-seat cafe-bakery-boutique hybrid. So does Kalfus, who says partnering with Maloneys has been “an amazing experience.”
“There aren’t many bakeries in the area,” he says. “And the response since we opened three weeks ago has been incredible.”
In the decade since Kalfus and business partners Ariel Hefer and German Sanchez first opened Shuk in a corner of suburban North Bondi, they have launched two spin-off sites in Bondi (Shuk Bakery and Shuk Falafel), as well as cafes in Chatswood and Elizabeth Bay. Kalfus cites the bustling bakeries of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem markets (“shuk” means “market” in Hebrew) as the inspiration behind chef and co-owner Sanchez’s dishes.
“There is a lot of influence from North African and French bakeries in Israel,” says Kalfus. “In the markets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, every stall is a bakery. Israelis eat far more baked goods than in Australia. Most people don’t really sit down for breakfast during the week. It’s a pastry or a rugelach with their morning coffee on the way to work.
At the Surry Hills store, the counter is stocked with breads and pastries baked daily: rugelach, bagels and challah alongside sourdough breads, muffins and danishes. The team have selected key items from their home locations for the dinner menu – enthusiasts will be happy to hear that the much-loved avocado and goat curd toast has migrated from the Shuk Bakery to Bondi. The OG Shuk menu includes pink shakshuka with bell pepper and olives, hummus with chickpeas in tahini sauce, and slow-cooked lamb with hummus and pickles. Shuk products, including its Nutella crunch, almond granola, pickles and homemade croissants, will also appear on Maloneys shelves.
The new space features elements of Shuk’s signature style — fresh white tiles, a round table, and a long cafe counter — but the Parisian cafe chairs along the sidewalk and terrazzo marble lean more towards the urban euro than the bustling Middle Eastern market.
Kalfus is about to take a well-deserved break to visit family in Tel Aviv and tour the area’s cafes and bakeries. “My parents send me pictures of a new place they’ve been to every week. I get pictures of sandwiches from them all the time! It’s mind-boggling to see all that’s going on there.