993 North Road Murrumbeena, VIC 3163
Oasis Bakery is the place to go if you’re craving Middle Eastern food, with its delicious range of shawarmas, pastries and dips, as well as enough desserts to satisfy any sweet-tooth. It looks very unassuming from the outside, but once you enter, you are greeted with a bustling café and an adjoining specialty supermarket that sells every herb and spice imaginable, on top of other countless items.
Every time that I’ve ever gone to Oasis, it has been packed to the seams with customers, but rather than detracting from the restaurant, it actually adds a very authentic feel to the experience. There is no table service, so don’t go in expecting to be waited on. Instead, orders are taken at the counter and customers are given one of those beepy/buzzer things that indicate when food is ready for collection. There aren’t a lot of seating options available, but usually there are several waiters who try to streamline the process as best as they can.
On this particular occasion, I decided to go for the good ol’ lamb shawarma, while K opted for a slightly fancier lamb shawarma and salad plate, with some chips on the side. We were seated almost immediately, which pretty lucky considering how busy it was. My shawarma was ready after a mere 5 minutes, but after waiting almost 15 minutes for his meal, K’s buzzer still hadn’t rung. This is pretty unusual for Oasis, as the turnover of food has always been very fast on previous visits. K had to approach the counter to ask about his order, only to discover that they’d somehow misplaced/forgotten it. By the time K had finally gotten his food (at least 25 minutes after ordering it), my shawarma was already cold.
I can’t deny that I was disappointed – I had really been looking forward to my meal. And while neither K nor I would ever ask for it, a little something to make up for the mistake would have been very much appreciated. That being said, I had never experienced this problem in the past at Oasis, and they were particularly busy that day.
I still enjoyed my shawarma, which was full of juicy, succulent lamb, perfectly complemented by just the right amount of lettuce, onion and tomato, all wrapped up in a fresh pita bread. Not a single mouthful was dry or flavourless, and I finished my meal feeling satisfied but not stuffed.
K’s shawarma and salad plate was beautifully presented with generous servings of lamb, as well as tabouli, hummus and a pita bread on the side. The hummus was the perfect consistency and the tabouli added a lovely freshness to the entire meal. They both had a strong kick of lemon juice, which I personally really enjoyed, but others may find overwhelming.
As for the chips – I wouldn’t go as far as to call them the best chips I’ve ever had, but they are definitely up there in my current top 5. They don’t look like much, but are deceptively delicious. As is necessary in all thick-cut chips, they are soft and fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside, but there’s something about the way that they taste that really make them memorable. It’s hard to describe – perhaps it’s the oil that the chips are fried in – but give them and try and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
The beauty of Oasis Bakery is in its simplicity. The food is unpretentious, and represents the epitome of traditional, authentic home cooking. The energy of the place is contagious without being overwhelming, and there truly is something there for everyone. There is still so much I would love to try there, such as the Lebanese doughnuts that look amazingly decadent covered in sugar syrup, as well as their selection of pizzas. Even despite the muck-up with our order, I have no doubt that I will be returning there in the (not so distant) future.