[Photos: Patricia Chang]
After a successful Kickstarter campaign and a takeover of the former Mezze space, the long-awaited Shakewell debuts today on Oakland's Lakeshore Avenue. Former Scala's Bistro chefs, Top Chef alums and current Oakland residents Jen Biesty and Tim Nugent are behind the project, which has a Spanish-Mediterranean focus and a collaborative approach, with Biesty (Jardinière, Universal Café, COCO500) overseeing the kitchen and Nugent (Zuni Cafe, Campton Place, Perbacco) managing both the front-of-house and pastry programs.
The menu is designed to highlight shareable plates with a mix of Mediterranean flavors, from Spanish to Greek to North African. Bacalao croquetas with green garlic, deviled quail egg with pimentón and serrano ham, and octopus with saffron aioli are among the tapas-style dishes, while entrees like chili-chocolate braised short rib and chicken albondigas hold down the meat section. For lighter fare, there's a spread of seafood options, ranging from calamari "bombas" to sardine toast to grilled mussels and pan-seared albacore. Nugent's dessert creations include Spanish-inflected sweets like churros with spiced chocolate sauce, saffron ice cream, and flan Catalan. (Here's the full food, dessert and drink menu.)
At the bar, look for six classic cocktails like Pisco Sours and Old Fashioneds, plus six new creations like a Cherry Rikki (kaffir lime vodka, thai basil, bitters, lime, seltzer and sugar) and Apricot Shrub Crusta (rye, apricot shrub, house made Meyer lemon liqueur, lemon juice and bitters). Local beers and wine sourced from Mediterranean climates will also be on offer.
The airy space was designed by the au courant team of The Bon Vivants Design+Build, and features Moorish touches, custom wooden chairs and cedar banquettes, plus pillars crafted from reclaimed Douglas fir. The space accommodates 40 guests in the main dining room and 30 at the bar area for a total space for 70 people.
As of today, the new spot is open six days a week for cocktails starting at 4pm and dinner at 5:30pm (closed Mondays).