Lamenting the loss of meat and cheese in Newtown after Gigi Pizzeria launched its plant-based menu last week? Cheer up, sad face, it's all good. The Porteno crew has opened Continental Deli on Australia Street and has your salami and manchego cravings sorted.
"We're just trying to create a deli that stocks the food we love to eat and grew up on," says Porteno's Elvis Abrahanowicz, who co-owns Continental Deli with business partner and Porteno sommelier Joe Valore.
Abrahanowicz says instead of having 10 types of olive oil "just for the sake of it" the choice of goods at Continental will be curated, with only one or two of each type of product.
"For example, we'll just have one San Daniele prosciutto, one jamon serrano, one iberico, one mortadella and one culatello," says Abranowicz. "We'll also have lots of eastern European smallgoods that we find very difficult to get anywhere else. I was saying to one of the boys yesterday, 'jamon iberico is delicious, but so is a coarsely-ground liverwurst, you know. One costs $180 a kilo, the other one costs $10 a kilo, and I think both taste excellent."
There a strong focus on tinned goods with French sardines, Spanish anchovies, clams and mussels. There's also a small range of branded products the Continental team has been canning itself such as chickpeas, baked beans and creamed corn. "We'll be keeping the range quite tight and changing it as much as we can," says Abrahanowicz, who has also been working with Fishtales' John Susman on canning sustainable seafood for retail sale later in the year.
There are tables and chairs to seat about 20 people for a sandwich, plate of cold cuts or tin of fish during the day. After 6pm the Deli takes on a small bar vibe and Mikey Nicolian (Porteno barman of four years) will be happy to pour you a wine, classic cocktail or vermouth.
Jesse Warkentin, a graduate of the Porteno pans, is on kitchen duties with Abrahanowicz, and a bistro is scheduled to open upstairs by the end of October. Abrahanowicz says it will have an eastern-European feel and feature only Australian produce on the menu.
210 Australia Street, Newtown, Mon-Sun 10.30am-10pm