Would you like fries with your shawarma?
Oasis Bakery stands out in a very unremarkable, semi-industrial part of Murrumbeena. This three-in-one bakery, café and supermarket serves up fresh, fabulous food and stocks all things Middle Eastern. Little decorative touches like low-hanging Moorish lamps and patterned screens help to soften the enormous concrete warehouse, but it’s really all about the food.
After agonising over your order (will it be the falafel plate, chicken wrap, tagine of the day or Middle Eastern pizza?) you’re handed a nifty electronic device that vibrates when your meal is ready. In the mean time you can browse through the supermarket and take home some bouncy Turkish bread or super-fresh almonds.
For lunch you can’t go wrong with the lamb shawarma. Just like a souvlaki, it’s wrapped in thin pita bread, packed full of salad (iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, onions and tabouli) and shreds of chewy and charry-flavoured lamb. A falafel salad plate includes crumbly falafel discs with a lovely nutty texture served on a healthy dollop of creamy hummus.
With one whole display cabinet dedicated to sweets, deciding how to finish your meal is difficult. Thumbs up to the dense and sticky pistachio roll, where a cluster of pistachio nuts is wrapped in shredded pastry and glued together with sugar syrup, lightly scented with orange blossom. At lunchtime when the place is bustling with nearby workers, service is friendly and very, very patient while you um and ahh over whether to add tzatziki or even hot chips to your shawarma.
Oasis Bakery is a memorable experience and definitely worth a trip down North Road.