The Shakinah Story
A carefully curated menu of Indian dishes, an exotic yet understated interior, and a collection of signature watermelon cocktails. This is but a fraction of what the Shakinah dining experience has to offer.
A celebrated Indian restaurant that boasts a decade-long journey of gastronomic success, the Shakinah brand delivers a contemporary approach to authentic Indian cuisine within a zen setting. Situated along the scenic promenade of Ta’ Xbiex, Shakinah and all that the brand encompasses is the brainchild of Alex Aquilina, for whom the desire to offer an enlightened dining experience had mushroomed back in 2012.
Inspired by his own entrepreneurial nature, as well as a passion for flavour and first-class hospitality, Alex set about introducing a new concept of eating out in Malta with the help of his wife Alberta. The couple and their two sons embarked on their own culinary journey at a myriad of distinguished establishments across Europe and the world, accumulating a fountain of inspiration that would later manifest itself in what Shakinah is today. Months of market research and a solid business plan later, Alex could finally call himself a restaurateur, with Shakinah first opening its doors in St Julian’s in 2013.
So, why Indian?
With Mediterranean and Italian eateries making up 92% of Malta’s restaurants, the mission was to serve up something completely different, with flavours that were more off the beaten track for the Maltese diner. Alex also wanted to challenge perceptions when it came to Indian restaurants, which pushed him to create a contemporary space for experimentation that simultaneously attested to Indian food heritage.
Shakinah hit the ground running with a fusion of Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, with a handpicked duo of Indian and Egyptian chefs curating the menu. As the Shakinah story evolved, so too did its selection, with the team eventually focusing solely on the Indian dishes they had lovingly perfected over time. From the humble onion bhaji to the more regional hydrabadi , no dish remained an afterthought. The team’s overall principle of excellence through fresh and uncompromised ingredients, as well as culinary authenticity, is what makes Shakinah stand in a class of its own.
What is Shakinah?
Shakinah refers to an angel that represents the presence of love, peace and joy – the core values on which the concept of this Indian restaurant is built upon. The Shakinah team aims for their patrons to experience all three of these throughout their meal; from the joyous sharing of good food that is an intrinsic aspect of Indian cuisine, to the peaceful and atmospheric ambience of the venue itself, to the love and dedication poured into the running of the restaurant, seven days a week.
What Shakinah is ultimately built upon is the concept of the Experience. Throughout the restaurant’s development, Alex and his team’s core focus has always been on the guests’ multisensory journey throughout their visit. There is thought behind every minor detail within the serene walls of the restaurant. The food, the drinks, the music, the type of fabric chosen for the seating, the quality and dimness of the light… the team has left no stone unturned. This holistic approach translates to what is essentially the Shakinah experience.