Lebanese heaven

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Tanoor Breakfast House, 1/69 Forsyth Road, Hoppers Crossing. Phone: 8360 3468

As the less established parts of Point Cook, Tarneit, Truganina and Williams Landing have become more so in recent years, a number of eating houses have opened in response to a demand for Indian food.

That has not been the case for those desiring Middle Eastern and/or the food of the eastern Mediterranean – until now.

Tanoor Breakfast House – don’t worry, it does lunch, too! – is here to make our day and maybe even our year.

It doesn’t serve full-blown Lebanese food as found at Riviera at Edgewater.

Instead, it serves (see menu below) a wonderful range of pizzas and pies (man’oush and man’oush calzone) right through to a Lebanese Big Breakfast and a Turkish Big Breakfast.

Best of all, for our tastes and wants and needs, it serves a wonderful line-up – under the heading Traditional Breakfast – of dips and the like served with accompaniments and house-made bread.

Oh yes!

This is the kind of thing for which CTS routinely travels to upper Sydney Road.

Now Tanoor Breakfast House has rendered those sometimes tedious and stressful traffic-light drives to Coburg superfluous – and we couldn’t be happier.

“Hummus b Lahme” comes with three components:

These still-warm and fresh-as housemade breads.

The full suite of salady and tart accessories – pickled turnip, cucumber and chillis; green olives; fresh mint, tomato and onion.

And – oh, the glory of it! – a generous bowl of smooth, fresh hummus, in the middle of which sits an equally generous serve of lamb mince studded with toasted pine nuts.

It all works and tastes like a dream, the sourness of the pickles complementing perfectly the sweetish sheep meat.

The pine nuts – with their unmistakable yet subtle flavour and characteristic soggy crunch – are the icing on the cake.

This is simply fabulous food.

It costs $10.

Which is frankly ridiculous, as it is tantamount to a light meal that could easily serve two.

The falafel plate ($12), with a slightly different configuration of bits and pieces, is just as good.

Just the turshi (pickled turnip) in terms of pickles.

And, this time, a wonderful wet-and-lemony tabouli and small bowl of tahini to join the hummus, bread and tomato.

The half a dozen falafel orbs are superbly fried, of mild flavour and quite delicate.

Our takeaway coffees are great.

Tanoor is open seven days a week from 6am to 3pm.

Oasis Bakery

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Oasis Bakery, 993 North Rd, Murrumbeena. Phone: 9570 1122

Stumbling across Oasis Bakery a few weeks before, while cruising around prior to meeting a pal for lunch nearby, had been a wonderful surprise.

Far less surprise had been subsequently discovering that while this place is new to me, it is very popular and has been documented rather widely.

I’m returning for several reasons – a Sunday drive, to have some lunch, to do some shopping.

Some of the online comments I have read conclude the place has lost some of its allure since a remake.

I have no knowledge of its previous look and/or configuration, so am happy with the now.

Oasis Bakery comes across as something of a Middle Eastern version of a combined Brunetti’s of Carlton and A.Bongiovanni & Son of Seddon.

There’s a cafe dining area at the front, but Sunday lunchtime seating is at a premium.

There are also quite a few long-legged tables, but these are without stools, as that particular seating apparently contravened regulations, so is gone for the meantime. I’m happy enough to eat my lunch while standing for 10 minutes, as a number of other “overflow customers” are doing.

Lunch first, shopping second.

Ordering is done at a fast food franchise-style counter, and customers are issued with one of those buzzer doodads that vibrate when your meal is ready.

I bypass the various wraps and lovely looking salads, the sizable range of pizzas, and all the hot dishes except one – the lamb okra.

This is the second time in a week I have ordered a dish with okra, and I do much better this time.

My lamb/okra stew is rather plain and mild in the seasoning department, but is delicious in its own way.

The lamb is tasty, but is in sliced rather than chunk form.

There’s tomato, onion, garlic (I think), while delightfully crunchy texture comes from pine nuts and (I later discover) slivered almonds.

Then there’s the plentiful okra.

I love okra.

So I love the unctuous nature of my stew … one man’s unctuous is another man’s slime.

It’s all served up in an earthenware plate on a solid bed of rice.

It’s a good-sized serve, a splendid lunch and worth every cent of the $13 I pay for it.

Immediate appetite satisfied, it’s on to some equally enjoyable shopping.

As far as I can tell, about half of the Oasis Bakery grocery section is stocked with lines that is some way, specific or more generally, could described as of a Middle eastern bent.

The rest, be they luxury lines or staples, are the sort of thing that could be found in any good-quality food hall/grocery.

There’s an entire of wall dried fruit and nuts.

Adjacent, there’s an eye-popping range of different grains and pulses.

Some things it gladdens my heart to see, even if I refrain from indulging this time out – such as this line of “traditional Russian pasta”.

But I hone right in on the Lebanese-style pies Bennie and I have already enjoyed.

These are a little pricier than we are used to paying, but they’re worth it – the fillings are more plentiful, for starters.

These spinach and walnut pies are a good buy, though – a bag of four for $12.

As well as delightful crunch from the walnuts, they’ve got a sublime flavour whack from lemon and mint.


The lamb and pine nut jobs are pricier at $10 for a two-pack, but the filling is magic and there’s quite a lot of it.

I’ve had little luck in buying a commercial brand of turshi to replicate at home the quality turnip pickles we routinely have in restaurants.

The Oasis Bakery house brand goes a long way towards delighting.

It’s not restaurant quality, but it’s pretty good – and not mushy.

The Oasis range of dips and salads looks outstanding, but Bennie and I found the hummus to be both bland and bitter, so this time I make do with a tub of spiced labneh.

It’s treat time!

This orange-flavvoured Turkish delight is all class – delicious, fresh, chewy.

It won’t last long!

And, of course, my Oasis shopping endeavours are not complete without topping up on that basic Middle Eastern staple – Spongebob bikkies!

Sad to say, Oasis will not become a regular for us – the drive is too far.

But on the other hand, a drive around the bay on a nice day is just the ticket – and those Lebanese pies are definitely worth the journey.

Oasis Bakery also runs cooking demonstrations – check out the website here.

Oasis Bakery on Urbanspoon

Amanie’s Bakery


Omelette with "the lots".

Amanie’s Bakery, Shop 4/280 Main Rd, St Albans. Phone: 9364 5333

No matter where you head in Melbourne for your fix Lebanese pies and pizza, they remain some of the very cheapest and finest food available.

The shop at the Circle in Altona is our default Lebanese pizza shop, due to both its excellence and the neighbouring shops, several of which have become firm and regular favourites.

It has a limited range, though, and in terms of an enjoyable eating-out-in-public experience, it doesn’t get more spartan.

Sometimes it’s only natural to want something a bit more colourful and entertaining.

That’s why we also really like Mankoushe in Brunswick and Al-alamy in Coburg.

Both offer broader menus that include things such as dip and falafel platters.

And both are way up there when it comes to interest, human and otherwise, and entertainment.

Amanie’s Bakery in St Albans resides somewhere between those two approaches, both in travelling distance from Yarraville and overall vibe.

The decor and furnishings are your basic ethnic cafe stuff, but the food list has all the basics and a few other items as well.

Mr Amanie, who has been here about 10 years, is a cheerful and obliging host.

Tending the Amanie's oven.

I’m here today to buy pies for the coming week – and, of course, for lunch, for which I desire something other than pies!

So I order the omelette “with lots”, which is going to cost me $5.50.

I’m half expecting that this will be served as the scrambled eggs are at Al-alamy – with pita bread, tomato slices, pickles and olives on the side – but I’m up for whatever eventuates.

That’s all to the good, as what I receive is a sort of egg pizza, with the omelette spread on the base and studded with tomato, olives and capsicum.

It’s been dusted deftly with chilli powder, which delivers a nice and spicy glow to what is just the sort of light lunch I craved.

Ms Baklover gives her rundown of this bakery’s gear  here at Fooscray Food Blog.

Meanwhile, it continues to be a profound mystery to me why Lebanese pizzas and pies – and sundry other dishes at the places that serve them – are not more widely celebrated as a brilliant and magical slice of Melbourne’s food scene.