Review of Oasis, Collaroy
Updated: Nov 18, 2019
A picturesque setting: with views of the ocean across the road, the sound of waves crashing and spiced aromas coming from the kitchen, Oasis in Collaroy on Sydney's Northern Beaches is exactly that; an Oasis away from the hustle and bustle of day to day life where we are transported to an exotic locale of the Mediterranean and North Africa.
As I make the drive from my house in Crows Nest to tonight's event at Oasis (hosted by Blacker Media), it's pretty obvious that the Northern Beaches would be a wonderful place to raise children and it's timely because I have recently been thinking about when to make the next housing move and what that looks like. While I love my house in Crows Nest and right now it suits all our needs, but as the boys grow, I would love to have a bigger yard and a pool for them. Being close to the beach would also be a major draw-card but something that has always bothered me about the northern beaches is restaurant situation. Growing up in the inner west and now on the lower north shore I've always been spoilt for the range of cuisines and quality of restaurants which, being a #foodie is really important to me. I'm keen to expand my horizons though and give Oasis a chance.
I am greeted warmly by Mustafa the owner and already I let out a huge sigh of relief because it feels like he is welcoming me into his home for a meal and I can tell its going to be authentically cooked and cooked with love. We start with appetisers of Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Falafel, Haloumi, Marinated Olives. The falafel have a delightfully crisp outer coating encasing a fluffy middle and tempered with a tahini sauce. The dips are earthy with a creamy texture with a good hit of acid from the lemon and together with the bread, haloumi and marinated olives, this is a lovely way to start our meal. I'm a bit confused because this food seems very Middle Eastern but then I remember that Turkey is part of the Mediterranean and all these dishes appear in Turkish cuisine. The hummus isn't quite as smooth as the unbelievably smooth hummus served at El Jannah but it's still very enjoyable. Meatballs arrive next and once bitten, release a beautiful scent of spices, swathed in a rich tomato sauce. Rounding out our starters is the Kataifi Prawns which are prawns wrapped in essentially very thin strips of filo pastry then fried. I am quite taken with the walnut and capsicum sauce which I mop up with remaining bread. I told myself I wouldn't eat carbs tonight because I've gained a couple kilos since I've started food blogging and I'd like to get them off but when the food is this good it's hard to resist! I may just have to buy bigger jeans! #yolo #enjoylife #justgowithit.
Kebabs are next and I adore them! We have a lamb kofta and a chicken kebab, both cooked over charcoal and perfumed with the intoxicating scent of smoke. The accompaniments of tabbouleh, toum (garlic sauce) and mint labneh provide the hits of freshness, acid and heat (from the very intense garlic sauce) I am looking for to balance the richness of the smokey meat. I'm very sorry to say that the Mushroom Mgarabi Risotto isn't really my cup of tea. While the flavour of the mushroom is lovely, I just can't seem to get my head around the use of chickpeas in place of a risotto rice. Perhaps if I didn't think of it as a risotto I may enjoy it for what it is but with so many other delicious dishes on the table to try, I chalk it up to me not being able to let go of the risotto concept and move onto the tagines. And oh the tagines!
“There is an element of theatre to the tagines, in which the name actually refers to the conical shaped vessel the dish is cooked in and not so much the dish itself. These are placed on the table and the lids removed to reveal steam emitting from both a chicken and lamb shoulder version. Oohs and Aahs emit from the foodies around the table and we ask our very kind waitress to repeat the lid lift again and again so we can get the perfect video for instagram. #obnoxious''
The chicken tagine is a gorgeous and aromatic stew which tastes like a warm hug from mum and is only eclipsed by the version made with lamb shoulder. It is slow cooked in honey with medjool dates which takes the naturally occurring sweetness of the lamb and turns it up a notch to a heavenly elixir that I just can't get enough of. It is so delicious that I even forget to take a photo of it because I am totally preoccupied with devouring this tasty concoction. #sorrynotsorry They are both served with rice and couscous which are cooked perfectly and I marvel at how I can never get it quite right at home. Its always a touch too soggy or a touch too dry. Some things are best left to the professionals! The last savoury dish is the grilled salmon with crispy skin and seasonal vegetables. The stand out for me is the roasted fennel which is beautifully soft and sweet and only a hint of aniseed which I can sometimes find too overpowering. I think well cooked vegetables are just magic and in this dish I think they are the real star and I wouldn't even mind if the salmon (which was very nice) was left off all together.
For dessert we are presented with a tasting plate of Turkish Delight, a warm Chocolate Brownie, and my favourite the Baklava. It is freshly made with the filo pastry shattering upon impact with my fork. I eat mine AND the serving from the diner next to me! So much for that diet hey... As if I haven't indulged enough, we are very lucky and grateful to receive a guest's gift of Rosewater and Pistachio Fairy Floss from Fluffy Crunch which I proceed to devour like the glutton I am! I love all fairy floss, even the basic carnival variety but this stuff is next level. They are a gourmet variety of award winning creations and have a plethora of flavours and toppings to choose from. Tonight's choice goes perfectly with the theme of our dinner and such a beautiful way to treat all the guests with a departing gift.
With full bellies and a jovial attitude helped by their signature cocktails, we leave Oasis with a sense of satisfaction that we just experienced a great meal and a great time. I am happy to say that I was wrong about the northern beaches not having enough top quality restaurants as Oasis has just shown off all they have to offer and I am impressed. While I'm not quite ready to move just yet, I'm keen to put some time into exploring the area and seeing what other gems I can find. If they're as good as Oasis, I'm in for a treat!
Oasis Shop 2/1073 Pittwater Rd, Collaroy
*I dined here as a guest of Oasis and Blacker Media but all opinions remain my own.