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Monday, November 8, 2010

Lunch from Oskar's

I’ve just scoffed down lunch from Oskar’s deli at Warrawong, actually foregoing an invitation to lunch out with my husband as I knew what was home in the fridge. We’d run out of coffee on the weekend so it was time for a trip. Oskar’s is one of those places where you are greeted the moment you walk in and, especially if you are a new face, plied generously with tasty bits. It’s better if you can say hello in Spanish of course, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t – you still feel like you are in a (large) Spanish corner delicatessen. The jamons are strung up high around your head and Oskar and his clan of Spanish-speaking servers are there to help you decide – because that is the problem. There are so many cheeses, so many hams and salamis, so many exotic deli items. So many Spanish and other European specialities, all yummy, where do you start?
“Here try this. There is manchego, the real, flavourful mccoy, or there’s a pale white goats cheese or there’s this creamy softer one.” Last time we had goat’s cheese steeped in rosemary. We try them all. We still can’t decide but we settle on the manchego - it is unbeatable - and the soft one. Then we start on the jamons. There is Oskar’s own, famous Australia wide (many gourmet writers make the pilgrimage) and those he imports from Spain, all with that delicate texture, meltingly delicious. We take some of each kind we try, since we can’t decide. Another customer is after some salami so we are offered a sample of that garlic-infused taste sensation as well. To go with it we need pimientos, of course, marinaded with herbs, garlic and olive oil, and a choice of olives, again we can’t decide so go for the multi-coloured selection, stuffed and unstuffed, some almost rainforest green, firm and fresh. On his shelves there’s a selection of little jars with interesting contents – eggplant slivers, olivey bits, artichokes, button mushrooms. I poke about and find some delicious looking egg mayonnaise and olives in cans that have come, it seems, straight from Alcantarilla. There’s the tortas in their blue-printed wax wrap - the wrapping is half the pleasure - oh and not forgetting the coffee – procured from local roasters and the best value in the Illawarra - smells so good inhaled through that button! Some Portuguese olive oil (Oskar’s recommendation), fresh ciabatta bread plus some crunchy frese bianche from Calabrio, Italy ...all complete the picnic. And I haven’t recounted a fraction of what’s here!
Thank you Oskar and, excuse me, that garlicky burp says it all! Read more about his offerings on his website http://www.oscarsdeli.com.au

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