Originally published on Broadsheet.
The Melbourne institution is pumping out 2000 doughnuts a week.
Baklava, beetroot hummus, Turkish delight and the iconic shawarma are a few favourites that keep customers going back to Oasis Bakery in Murrumbeena.
The Middle Eastern food institution celebrates its 18th anniversary this week, and things have changed since the 1990s, when it was a bakery serving up traditional Lebanese pastries. The store has morphed into a cafe, food store and cooking school, with a recent renovation adding more treats to its already packed shelves.
The latest renovation has turned Oasis into a “modern-day souk”, says co-owner George Makool. “We’ve added a dessert bar, deli and fresh fruit and vegetable section, stocked by Scicluna’s in Mentone. It’s a one-stop-shop now,” he says.
It has been a busy year for Oasis. In addition to renovating the flagship store, Oasis is also expanding to Mornington, with the peninsula outpost opening in 2017. In the meantime, an Oasis Pop-Up occupies part of the Mornington site, serving treats out of a shipping container.
In Murrumbeena, Makool wanted to make the store more interactive. One example is new grind-your-own nut butter section, tucked in the back right-hand corner of the store. Customers can make their own Belgian chocolate hazelnut butter, Australian peanut butter or Australian almond butter.
“We’ve been thinking about extending for almost a year now,” says Makool. “We really wanted to create more theatre for customers and add to the Oasis experience.”
Makool is referring to a new dessert bar that welcomes visitors upon entry. There’s Nutella crepes and doughnuts, which Makool says are selling at about “2000 a week”.
Crockery, toiletries and cookbooks have also been added to its aisles.
“Everything is clearly set out, it really feels like a supermarket, especially with the deli,” says customer Darcie Foley. Local Petros Kondos says the renovation gives visitors more of a reason to do all their shopping there.
Landini Associates, a Sydney-based firm, did the redesign. Inspired by the Middle East, the store features various tones of blue alongside terracotta tiles.
A visit to Oasis can sometimes be tricky parking-wise. A tip is to park around the back, where there are now two warehouse parking lots (entrance via Brett Street) due to parking demands.
Oasis is celebrating its renovation with the Oasis Food Fest this weekend, December 3–4. Camels, belly dancers and Santa will make appearances. Saturday and Sunday, 10am–4pm.
9/993 North Road, Murrumbeena
(03) 9570 1122
Sat to Wed 8am–7pm
Thu & Fri 8am–9pm
Image credit: Ben Mulligan