This modern Middle Eastern souq is a jewel of suburban Melbourne
OASIS BAKERY, A three-in-one bakery, café and supermarket deep in suburban Murrumbeena, celebrated its 18th anniversary in 2016 with a renovation that transformed the shop into a onestop-shop modern Middle Eastern open air marketplace, known as a souq. Outside, Oasis looks almost as it did before – it doesn’t really stand out from the semi-industrial surroundings. Inside, it’s a different story. With the renovation came a new dessert bar complete with a glass cabinet displaying massive hills of Turkish delight, nougat bejewelled with pistachios, and halva. There’s also a crêpe station and a deep fryer pumping out fresh Lebanese doughnuts. Next to the dessert bar, the deli offers piles of cured meats and cheeses you can take home for later. But first, lunch. You can’t go wrong with the lamb shawarma. It’s wrapped in pita bread, packed full of salad (iceberg lettuce, tomato, onion and tabouli) and shreds of smoky, slowcooked lamb. The nutty pucks on the falafel plate are crumbly and dry with a nice fried crust, and come with creamy hummus, neon-pink radish pickles, dill pickles and tabouli. When the place is bustling service stays friendly and very, very patient while you um and ahh over whether to add tzatziki or even hot chips to your shawarma. After lunch, make a beeline to the DIY nut butter station and crank it up to crunchy, or browse through the supermarket aisles for Middle Eastern spices, muesli, dips and fresh cheeses. Murrumbeena may be short on other attractions, but Oasis Bakery makes it worth the Sunday drive. Delima
Shanti 9, 993 North Rd, Murrumbeena 3163. 03 9570 1122. oasisbakery.com.au. Sat-wed 8am-7pm; Thu, Fri 8am-9pm.