TO say The Re Store in Perth has a rich family history is a massive understatement.
The roots of the delicatessen stretch back to 1885 when Giuseppe Re immigrated from Italy to Sydney.
In 1894 he was lured to WA by the Kalgoorlie gold rush, but saw another business opportunity and opened a deli in Fremantle, selling provisions to miners.
Giuseppe and his wife Carolina had a whopping 10 sons and the second eldest Giovanni (John) opened a grocery store in 1936 on the corner of Lake and Aberdeen streets in Northbridge – the original Re Store.
John began roasting coffee under the brand Braziliano, designing the logo and artwork, and it went on to become one of the biggest sellers in Perth and can still be found in cafes and restaurants around town.
Today The Re Store is still owned and run by the third generation of the family.
That history is reflected in the kitsch sign outside its Leederville deli, halfway up Oxford Street.
The store looks like an inner-city minimart from the 1970s with a small carpark, terracotta tiled roof and a large unapologetic sign.
It also reminded me of the minimarts I frequented on Italian holidays in the 1980s and 90s.
On Tuesday lunchtime, the car park was super busy and slightly chaotic with hungry office workers doing a merry dance with a stream of parking cars.
At times it was like Wacky Races meets Two Greedy Italians.
It was clearly a popular spot for lunch, with everyone from suited office workers to tradies emerging from the store with large continental rolls so big they could double as a police truncheon.
I made a beeline for the deli counter and sized up the made-to-order continental rolls, which were a bargain at about $5 with fillings including salami, coppa, prosciutto, tuna and mortadella.
There was also a mass of toppings to chose from like eggplant strips, artichokes and sliced olives.
I went for the special pancetta roll with sun-dried tomatoes ($6.90) – a rustic affair stuffed with thin slices of salty pancetta and a heap of sun-dried tomatoes.
You won’t go hungry after this bad boy and at under $7 it was great value for money.
The store is a delightful, unapologetic ode to the past with a humungous deli and shelves crammed with imported goodies and produce made on-site.
I got some freshly made veal chicken tortellini ($13.14) and artichoke and ricotta ravioli ($14.92) to take home for dinner.
The huge, thin wavy parcels of ravioli reminded my wife of the stingrays she saw at Hamelin Bay on holiday.
“Gorgeous, super light pasta,” she noted.
“Once you have fresh pasta like this you never want to go back to the dried stuff in the supermarket.”
“The tortellini is just as good with a subtle veal and chicken filling.”
We also got some huge mushroom and spinach arancini ($5.95 each) and a vanilla cannoli ($5.50) to round things off.
The arancini had a lovely rich gooey filling, while the cannoli tasted as good as it looked with a crisp tube and decadent filling.
The Re Store is one of the biggest independent liquor shops in WA, and there is a mind boggling array of booze at the far end of the shop, where they conduct wine nights and tastings.
The deli has a rich heritage and you can feel the buzz and history as you walk around the store.
Well worth checking out for lunch and some take-home dishes.
The Re Store
231 Oxford St, Leederville
by STEPHEN POLLOCK