Hidden in an industrial backstreet of West End, Mega Continental is a wholesale Greek deli crammed with good things that are also available retail to the public.
Although I've lived nearby for years, and seen Mega Continental's blackboard signs out on the street, I'd never actually taken the time to visit until recently. But, finally, my curiosity (and the promise of Romano cheese for $11.99/kg) got the better of me, so I took a walk along Duncan Street to the modest Mega Continental frontage.
This boasts a lot of concrete, a loading bay, and pallets of stuff stacked around. There's also a 'coffee area' (a sectioned-off bit with an umbrella and table), where you can drink coffees purchased from the deli.
So it's more industrial than industrial chic. But it's cheery and welcoming, and some of my favourite shopping destinations have unassuming exteriors, so I wasn't too worried.
Inside lived up to my expectations. This is a small deli with a big heart, and there were plenty of patrons on the Saturday morning that I visited. It had the usual glass cabinets with lots of different cheeses and the like, all at reasonable prices. There were also at least 20 different types of olive oil, both in bulk and gourmet bottles, and many were on sale at discounted prices.
Away from the counter, Mega Continental's shelves were crammed with all the lines that you'd expect in a good deli. You can buy honey and sugared almonds, snack foods (crunchy things, spicy things, deep-fried things), pickles of all kinds, flours, nuts, chocolates, coffee, and heaps more. Many of the products are available in huge, wholesale-sized packs; the giant tins of giant beans particularly took my fancy.
If you're after olives, you're also spoiled for choice. In their own area were a row of olive tins, with two staff members using huge spoons to put them into containers for customers. There was a lot of laughing and chat going on, and the vibe was friendly and welcoming.
Mega Continental is a good companion to other West End delis such as Delta Foods and the deservedly famous Mick's Nuts (my usual deli). It has a larger range than Mick's (though Mick's still triumphs on nuts and dried fruit), and its wholesale sizes make it easy to take home enough to feed a party. Its prices are also on par with other local delis, with some items (e.g. certain cheeses and oils) probably cheaper, especially when they're on sale.
So, it's worth a visit, especially if you live close by in one of the new apartment blocks. With no other retailers in this area, it could easily become your favourite local, and it offers early opening hours every day except Sunday.
And me? Well, I enjoyed the chance to find out what was behind Mega's modest frontage, and my Romano was worth the expedition.