Shakahari Too

For over 20 years, Bharatha Natyam was a huge part of my life. Bharatha Natyam is one of the ancient Indian classical dance forms that originated in the temples of South India and these days is showcased around the world. I was lucky enough to be a student of Bharatha Natyam, and whilst in the early days going to class seemed more like a chore than a pleasure, these days, I am ever so grateful that I had the opportunity to learn about my heritage and culture through this beautiful artform.

The friends I made through dance class are also formed some of my most long lasting friendships. Rehearsing for performances can often be extremely stressful, and the dance studio becomes a pressure cooker of emotions, so the people you spend time with in these situations often see you at your very worst - angry, frustrated and in tears, but they also see you at your very best, the elation of finishing my arangetram (dance graduation) was a moment I am still immensely proud of today. These days I rarely perform, or even attend classes, but I still love to be involved with my dance school, whether it be through co-ordinating the lighting at a dance concert, or helping behind the scenes. And most importantly, I love catching up with my old dance friends.

As time has passed, many of us have moved onto different phases of our lives. There are engagements, weddings, babies, toddlers, some of us have moved interstate, and some of us have even moved overseas, so catching up doesn’t happen that often. Still, when it does, it is always fun, and we always manage to reminisce about our crazy times on stage or in class.  Just before Christmas an old dance friend was visiting from Singapore. She was ridiculously organised, so had planned a catch up via Facebook long before she even arrived! The restaurant we chose was Shakahari Too. I was actually pretty keen to try this place, given that I had only ever been to the original Shakahari in Carlton, which has become a vegetarian stalwart in Melbourne.

We all had varying degrees of hunger, so we decided to order individually rather than share. Some of us ordered entrees, some entrees and mains, and some had their eye on dessert too! Surprisingly, I opted for just the main, but with so much food on the table, it meant that I got to hear the opinions on lots of items! Some of my friends had also just discovered that I was a food blogger, so they were very obliging, letting me take photos of everything before they started eating!

The entrée that a few people chose was titled Avocado Magic. This was a very pretty dish to look at, and upon reading the description it sounded quite interesting. It was explained to be wedges of avocado and red capsicum rolled in thing eggplant slices and then fried in a rice batter like tempura. Served with it was a coriander and sesame puree. I didn’t try any of this dish, but everyone that did was quite impressed. They were all avocado fans, and they agreed that if you didn’t like avocado, then this dish was not for you. I am a fan of avocado and I love things deep fried, so I’m guessing this dish would have been a winner for me.

For mains, most of us chose the Green, Green Laksa. Laksa paste is traditionally made with various fishy ingredients like shrimp paste, when then the opportunity arises to have a vegetarian laksa, I always pounce on it. The laksa at Shakahari Too didn’t disappoint. The bowl was packed full of ingredients and it looked to be a filling meal. There was Japanese udon noodles, baby spinach, mushrooms, bean sprouts, fried tofu and tempeh. The soup broth was flavoured with Thai krachai (which I learnt was a weak version of galangal), basil green curry coconut stock and lots of Asian, fragrant herbs. The soup was wonderfully warming, and so full of flavour. With every mouthful I could taste the subtleties in the herbs and spices, and combined the result was a flavour explosion in my mouth. I had definitely made a smart decision in choosing the laksa, I was on a winner.

Around the table, a friend had chosen to have Nonya Lodeh, which was a lemongrass and spice flavoured brown rice, served with a turmeric galangal coconut curry with blanched cashews, a mix of vegetables including snake beans, okra, potato and cauliflower, some pickled vegetables and a pappadum. She too was satisfied with her dish.

It was then time for desert, and whilst I was full from my laksa, a couple of us chose to have the Raw Avocado Chocolate ‘Cheese Cake’ and the Tofu Caramel. Both these desserts were vegan, and I am not a big fan of replacing dairy in a predominantly dairy dessert.  I tried both of these plates, but neither were to my taste.

The ‘Cheese Cake’ had an interesting, but nice base. It was made from crushed walnuts, dates and coconut oil. It was very different from the usual cheesecake base, but the flavour of the nuts with the dates worked well. My issue was with the ‘cheese’ bit of the cake. Avocado cannot replace cheese, regardless of how much chocolate you put in it! I love avocado, but I’m not sure I like it in a dessert like this. Whilst there was coconut sugar added, it simply wasn’t sweet enough. I understand that this was definitely not meant to taste like a normal cheese cake, but I just didn’t like it.

I had much the same opinion of the tofu caramel. It was obviously modelled on a crème caramel, and whilst the textures were replicated quite well, it tasted completely different. The smell of the tofu was very overpowering, and again, it simply wasn’t sweet enough.

Despite the fact that both the desserts were a fail, the mains at Shakahari Too were delicious, and I would definitely go back to try the rest of the menu. But most importantly, it was a great night, catching up with old friends, and a catch up that hopefully we can do more often.

Shakahari Too Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


  1. I still haven't gone there, yikes! I also don't like avocado in cheesecakes, nor tofu in desserts though I've had some desserts where you can't pick up the tofu taste. I prefer the cheesecakes made with nut creams, they're the sorts that taste far more decadent. I go to Raw Trader in the city when I have a craving!

    1. I've never tried Raw Trader, I'll have to give it a go!