I love walking into a random eatery when I’m in a less familiar area, and realizing a few minutes later that it would become one of the places I visit regularly. It’s like discovering a hidden treasure. When I first walked into Rathdowne Deli, it was like walking into my grandfather’s shop. I was cheerfully greeted by the owner, an old school Aussie who’s always happy to have a chat and remembers all his regular customers.
I found shelves on the right that housed select brands of condiments, pasta, muesli, biscuits and other products that you might not find in your regular supermarket. Right at the back are benches where you can sit down to have a coffee and a bite while reading the paper, relaxing and pondering what to do with the rest of your day. In fact the owners and/or employees are very likely to sit down and have their home cooked lunch right next to you. On the wall by those benches are a few collages of old family photos you’d be very likely spend some time looking at. And most on your left is the deli fridge where all the cheeses, cured meats and other deli goodies are displayed. It’s not an extensive collection, but you’ll find all the essentials.
From those essentials, you can order one of their foccacia sandwiches. The menu basically consists of A4 pages randomly stuck on the wall, each of them describing the content of one of the sandwiches, with most of them pre-made in the morning and freshly toasted as they’re ordered. I’ve been to that deli many times and I’ve tried a few of the foccacias.
The BLT special, which is basically a BLT with an egg, is a great breakfast option guaranteed to cure your hangover. Ok maybe not guaranteed. The salami with sun dried tomato combination will make you want to execute a victory dance. And if you want a bit of fancy schmancy, then the proscuitto is the one for you. I don’t have a favourite, however what I really loved from the first bite was the bread, the delicious crunchy foccacia bread that made me go “OH!”. And do not expect sauces and complicated ingredients, these sandwiches are simple but yum. In fact, you might think they are a little dry if you usually use half a jar of mayo per sandwich at home.
In that same fridge, you’ll find sweets such as macarons, friands, and the delicious lemon tart that I strongly recommend you try. Very randomly on that side of the fridge is a picnic basket with fake bread in it. How do I know it’s fake bread? Apart from the look of it, I once made the mistake of almost touching it and was immediately told “Noooo love, this is fake bread, we have real bread over there” while pointing to the back area of the deli. So here’s the good news, this deli also sells bread. That is, if you’re lucky and there’s something left by the time you get there!
Rathdowne Deli & Courtyard Café contact info: