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Friday, December 02, 2011

Encasa Deli, Sydney

encasa deli

The newly opened Encasa Deli is not like its neighbours. It's a little piece of Madrid on Bathurst Street, smack bang in the middle of the CBD. Giant salamis - from Rodriguez Brothers in Yagoona - hang over a display cabinet groaning with whole legs of jamon, wheels of cheese and terracotta dishes piled with plump and glistening olives.

olives encasa deli
Olives stuffed with walnuts and haloumi cheese $8.50 (by weight)

Encasa Deli is the latest undertaking by the owners of Encasa Restaurant on Pitt Street, heading north into the city and moving into Spanish groceries, deli smallgoods and sandwich lunches for office workers on the run.

coffee encasa deli
Colombian coffee $3

In only its second week of opening, word has spread quickly. There's a quirky mix of Spanish grandmothers hovering among the army of business suits that troop in at lunchtime. We pull up a stool around a huge wine barrel and kick things off with a robust Colombian coffee while we nibble on a plate of green olives stuffed with walnuts and haloumi cheese.

bocadillos encasa deli

It's all about the bocadillo here, a baguette with a simple filling that is a common roadside snack found all over Spain.

Mural of smallgood happiness; hessian-covered stools along the wooden counter

encasa deli
Bocadillos menu

As the kitchen eases into service, much of the menu is not yet available but we find plenty to keep our palates busy.

bocadillo de tortilla encasa deli
Bocadillo de tortilla $8.50

The bocadillo de tortilla is a lesson in the beauty of simplicity, a thick slab of Spanish potato omelette that is impressively moist. There's a generous slather of garlic aioli along the bread; strips of roasted red peppers add sweetness.

We're taken aback by the size of these bad boys - it's like having two sandwiches for the price of one. The bread is soft and fresh with a slightly chewy crust. All breads in the store are supplied by Brasserie Bread.

bocadillo de boquerones white anchovies encasa deli
Bocadillo de boquerones $9

Bocadillo de boquerones is another winner, pairing delicate fillets of white anchovies with confit piquillo peppers and roasted garlic aioli. The faint saltiness of the anchovies plays off deliciously against the red peppers.

bocadillo fried calamari encasa deli
Bocadillo de calamares $9

In Madrid, bocadillo de calamares are a local specialty. Fresh calamari is lightly dusted with flour and deep-fried until a pale golden hue. It's piled into a bread roll with garlic aioli, and proves to be dangerously satisfying.

spanish sardines encasa deli
Spanish sardines in olive oil

Up the back is the grocery section, stacked neatly with tins of sardines and marinated octopus and kitchenware supplies like paella pans and terracotta dishes. Tins of tomatillos and pickled jalapenos seem to have the South American market covered too.

The owners say they hope to start paella demonstrations on the first Saturday of the month, starting in January next year. Their plan is to teach people how to make a proper paella, and provide free tastings along the way.

In the meantime, I can't wait to try the rest of their bocadillos. A little slice of Madrid in your lunch break? Olé!

encasa deli

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Encasa Deli on Urbanspoon

135 Bathurst Street, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9283 4277

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 6.30am-6pm
Saturday 8am-4pm

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Spanish - Bodega, Surry Hills
Spanish - Carrington, Surry Hills
Spanish - Encasa, Sydney
Spanish - La Tapa Guapa, Sydney
27 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 12/02/2011 01:17:00 am


  • At 12/02/2011 8:18 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ooh I need to get myself there. If only for the superb tin sardines, one of favourite store cupboard staples. Good on them for the paella classes too. I've heard some shocking things lately like people using arborio and kransky sausages, outrageous ;)

  • At 12/02/2011 9:05 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Nice! Olives and anchovies look mouth-watering. One tiny correction, though: tomatillos and jalapeños are from Mexico, which is in North America, not South America.

  • At 12/02/2011 9:29 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    It looks fantastic - thanks for the heads up, Helen! Calamari roll...? Argh, how do I get there sooner?!

  • At 12/02/2011 10:22 am, Anonymous Nic@diningwithastud said…

    I could quite happily sit and pick at all of those olives for days haha

  • At 12/02/2011 10:25 am, Blogger Phuoc'n Delicious said…

    This is awesome! What a great place to grab a quick and delicious lunch, my mouth is watering at the olives and cured meat, give me that alone and I'll be one happy person

  • At 12/02/2011 10:46 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Ooh, I definitely like the look of the bocadillo de boquerones and the calamari one too! This reminds me of a place I used to go in Canberra, where I'd get a wonderful baguette filled with roasted capsicum, marinated artichokes, and salami. Nom nom!

  • At 12/02/2011 11:06 am, Anonymous Melleemoo said…

    I have just sent my boyfriend your post, and he is going to go test it out at lunch today! He says he has been walking past it the last few weeks, but only see's people drinking coffee so didn't realise they did sandwiches.

  • At 12/02/2011 11:17 am, Blogger Mel said…

    OMG! It must be my Hungarian upbringing but I LOVE LOVE LOVE a good deli and this looks just the business...I hope I can visit one day soon.

  • At 12/02/2011 11:35 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Carbs sandwiched between carbs mmmmmm

  • At 12/02/2011 11:38 am, Anonymous Cessie said…

    I walked past there last weekend and thought how good it looked - these pics have made me hungry :)

  • At 12/02/2011 1:33 pm, Anonymous crazy over foods said…

    One word for all of them, DELISYOSO!!!

  • At 12/02/2011 3:30 pm, Blogger devoured said…

    Looks amazing! Wish I had one of those calamari sandwiches right now... definitely heading here next time I'm in the city

  • At 12/02/2011 7:59 pm, Anonymous pigflyin said…

    went there after reading your post! it is very cute and the columbian coffee is not bad at all. bocadillo de calamares is suck a good idea!

    it is just around the corner where I work! i will be going there more often.

  • At 12/02/2011 10:42 pm, Anonymous Dee said…

    Oh wow potato omelette! So traditional :O

  • At 12/02/2011 11:58 pm, Anonymous Sara - Belly Rumbles said…

    I feel a pre-movie bite happening at this place, or will just have to get in for lunch :)

  • At 12/03/2011 5:16 am, Blogger German said…

    the shop look like the old spanish "ultramarinos" (A spanish grocery store before the supermarket times)
    Here some spanish sandwich where you can make for yourself: http://bit.ly/ukM9BB

  • At 12/04/2011 4:22 pm, Anonymous thang@noodlies said…

    Give me the Bocadillo de boquerones!!! Looks delicious!

  • At 12/04/2011 8:09 pm, Anonymous The Food Sage said…

    Can't wait to get me into the city to check out some of these goodies...
    Thanks for the gastronomic tip-off.

  • At 12/05/2011 6:11 am, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    So many bocadillos...so little time! I'm loving the various fillings and combos. Am heading here this week!

  • At 12/05/2011 2:34 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i just have a calamari sandwich...ummumumumuumumummumumumu delicioso...... so good i havent got words to describe it....and 9 dollars only crazy jhons uypa yupa

  • At 12/05/2011 8:48 pm, Anonymous Jobe said…

    Great reporting, Helen. Checked it out today after seeing this. The sobdasado is insanely good. Unbelievable at $7.50.

    Needs to be more places like this. Such a refreshing change from the tired cafe rolls that are more lettuce than filling.

  • At 12/08/2011 1:09 pm, Blogger Rossy said…

    Just finishing off an argentino now. Walking back to the office with it was torture, it smelt so good. Tastes freakin awesome. I'll be back!

  • At 12/09/2011 1:46 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    am eating the calamares right now- the bread is just as yummy as the calamari! my new favourite lunch! cant belive i missed out eating this when i was in madrid...

  • At 12/15/2011 1:23 am, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    Looking forward to trying a bocadillo (or two) here!

  • At 12/27/2011 5:18 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dropped in before christmas and bought the best Turrones in the world!!Membrillos too!!on my way there tomorrow with some mexican friends...adios!!

  • At 1/14/2012 9:36 pm, Blogger sirandmladylikeluxury said…

    Didn't even know this deli was here! If its anywhere near the food standards of Encassa then its worth trying.

  • At 1/17/2012 5:59 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Went crazy today! Had chorizo bocadillo con papaya juice! Nom! Took away sourdough, white anchovies , torta por mi Casa! So happy!! Gracias en Casa deli!


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