We’ve just launched our new food partnership at EartH Kitchen with Shuk. It’s been in the works for a few months and we’re super excited to now have chef Mark Jankel and Richard Littman’s new project as part of EartH’s orbit.
Shuk focus on super fresh stuffed pitas and salads inspired by Mark and Richard’s childhood memories of the vibrant multicultural food markets of Tel Aviv.
We asked Mark to talk us through the menu at EartH, and explain some of the history and heritage behind the dishes we’ll be getting to know.
Where does Shuk’s concept originate from?
“Richard [Littman] and I are childhood mates. Richard goes to Tel Aviv every year and he’s got family out there. Essentially we both love the street food in Tel Aviv, and that’s what inspired us to do Shuk together.”
Having worked as a chef for over 20 years, across Notting Hill Brasserie, Street Kitchen and The Food Initiative, Mark explains that it’s really important to Shuk that they work with chefs and suppliers that have an aligned culture.
Shuk’s baker, Arik, is dedicated to supplying them with soft fluffy pita using the same techniques used in the Carmel and Tikva markets of Tel Aviv, while Shuk’s ingredient supplier Omer relentlessly travels the region sourcing the best tahini, freshly ground spices, date honey and amba that are the cornerstones of their larder.
In the Kitchen at EartH, chef George Haslam runs the service, alongside Hadas Frenkel, who runs the prep kitchen, an Israeli chef and former head chef in Tel Aviv.
With those components in place, Mark and the team have set about curating a menu for Shuk – the aim? “Fine dining restaurant know-how, lovingly stuffed inside soft pitta, using naturally sourced ingredients.”
Where should we start? How about with the sabich, a cult-dish in Tel Aviv. Historically a breakfast favourite, sabich has become the kind of sandwich you don’t pass up the chance to try. Shuk’s comes with roasted aubergines, free range eggs, amba tahini, pickled cucumber, dried tomatoes and mint.
Mark tells us to look out for amba on Shuk’s menu, a pureed mango pickle brought to Israel by Iraqis in the late 1940s.
“Put amba in a sabich with other elements, and it can be the most delicious sandwich when it’s done right”.
What about for a first-timer?
“The fish tagine is the best place to start if you’ve never been to Shuk before – it’s really unusual and it works really well.
It’s based on the recipe Mark’s father-in-law gets up on Friday mornings to make, and at Shuk it’s stuffed in a pita, alongside chickpeas, ginger, amba tahini, coriander and dill.
How about if you’re looking for something totally out of your comfort zone?
Mark tells us to try the roasted aubergine salad, served with smoky tomato compote, labne, shawarma spiced croutons and mint.
“The labne we’re using is then salted, hung and dried in the sun. It turns yellow and rock hard, and because of the salt you don’t get any bacteria in it. Imagine yoghurt times by a thousand in taste. In Jordanian cooking, they use this in a salad where it’s grated all over the top. So we’re using it as a parmesan substitute.”
And finally, we asked Mark to shared the team favourites.
“Everyone loves the slow roast sweet potato salads – it’s sweet potato, chilli yoghurt, coriander, radish, spring onions. I love the Shuk salad – endive with the jalapeño dressing, baby gem, fresh herbs, and the juice of jalapeños in the vinaigrette.
NEED TO KNOW
Shuk is open to the public from 17:30 to 21:30 on nights when there are events in EartH Kitchen or EartH Theatre.
Swing by for a cocktail and stuffed pita before an EartH show, or come up to our monthly EartH Jam sessions to get a flavour for what goes on here – it’s always evolving.
Please note, Shuk is walk-ins only, no reservations.
Find out more information on our EartH Kitchen page.