Sunday, 12 February 2012

Café Shenkin

Coffee: 17/20
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 31/40
Bean: Mecca

Saturday: With The Kick Inside closed I thought it best to go to Erko’s other main café, Shenkin, to keep my eye on the suburbs pulse. Café Shenkin is one of those mainstays of Erskineville that has just kept growing in popularity over the years. I remember coming here years ago, when I lived in Erko, and loved it. I literally bounded down the road with Nerd 2 in anticipation to try the place out.

Walking into this rustic café was a bit of a chaotic experience - staff flying everywhere, customers milling about in the middle of the café, plates falling to the floor and a coffee machine buzzing - there was a lot going on. Luckily there was a table free inside and we quickly grabbed it, cutting of some cool kids who were aiming for the same chairs.

I described this café as rustic, as it seems to capture that kind of old-world feel. Old wooden tables, a tiled (internal) roof, a few desert plants,  a painted world mural, old plates, displayed with pride, and wide-open window letting in the street, it’s an enjoyably ecliptic place.

While the staff were buzzing, service here was a little lost. I stood up to capture the eyes of one of the girl, who came over, seeming peeved that we needed service at this time. I ordered a long black and some time later a fun looking egg breakfast thing.

Upon its arrival the coffee looked and smelt great. The aroma was rich, sweet and had some lovely summer fruit smells to it. The crema was thin, but had that satisfying deep colour to it.

The taste of the coffee was marvellous. A short sharp experience, rich in its acidity, the flavour of the drink was very complex.

Fruity (more of a peach) to begin with, it transformed to almost a vegetable (sweet potato)  sugary taste my the time it hit the back of my mouth (later Nerd 2 pointed out this could be sugar cane).

Letting the drink sit, the coffee become a wonderful balanced drink. I must say this is where that sugar cane (sweet potato) taste really came into its own.

While I don’t often mention food in this blog, its special here, well beyond the usual eggs, bacon and roast tomato breakfast set up, my meal was a killer! (Just check out the photo)

Upon finishing the meal, I chatted to some of the other staff members and found them to be a little jumpy, but on the whole very friendly.  Chaotically-organised is the word I would use to sum up the staff (ok I cheated with a hyphen).

Overall, Shenkin is a bit of fun. By far some of the best coffee in the Inner West, they serve up some unusual food that really hits the spot. While staff can be all over the place, they always seem up for a chat, which is nice.

Side note: They serve two sorts of coffee beans here depending on what your drink of choice is. I was drinking Mecca’s El Salvador, as it was a long black. Dark Horse, also from Mecca, is the bean commonly used for milk-based drinks.

1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 8/10
Experience (taste and smell): 9/10
Coffee total: 17/20

2. Cafe score 
Style (what’s it feel like): rustic Israeli cafe
Cool?: 7/10
Service: 5/10
Cafe: 12/20
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 31/40 

View Larger Map Shenkin on Urbanspoon


  1. The breakfast and coffee look amazing! I'd like to go here though I find distracted staff can ruin the relaxing experience..

    1. Yeah agreed, staff who are jumpy can be a killer to the whole deal.

  2. Looks like a great place to have a cup coffee. The place looks comfy and relaxing to spend my time here. The pictures are great. Can't wait to try this out. Thanks!

    1. it's more comfy then most, but not that comfy really! the coffee is up there with the best I have had.

  3. I tried Shenkin today and agree: great cafe. Well-executed Single Origin espresso, generous and inexpensive servings of Israeli classics, good crowd, attentive staff, and pleasant lay-out/decor/vibe.

  4. The coffee's aroma was quite dominantly nutty and a little bittersweet to the nose, you can tell the roast they use is not your typical Sydney milk