Few people are going to come back from New York without raving about the pastrami-packed Reuben sandwiches. Paul Serafin is no different.

The former owner of sandwich chain Stax rethought his whole outlook on lunch, switching his allegiance from one US state to another. Whereas Stax celebrates the Philadelphia “hoagie” – a bread roll packed with artery-bothering fillings, The Flying Fig Deli pays homage to the New York “Reuben”.

“I travelled to New York earlier this year and was really inspired by the Jewish deli culture,” Serafin says. A “from-scratch” mentality dictated his new venture’s direction, producing housemade cordials, pickled veg, smoked pastrami, and lox (cured salmon). “It’s Jewish, but it’s not kosher,” Serafin says. On that note, the bacon is made in house too.

A mystery item called “the shrub” is one to try as the weather warms up. “It’s a vinegar-based syrup that’s sort of like a soft drink,” he says. “We have a few flavours and really try to keep things seasonal so it will change.” Currently the shrub comes in three combos: rhubarb and ginger; beetroot and lemon; or kiwi, mandarin and vanilla. If shrubs don’t take your fancy, opt for the vinegar-free housemade soft drinks.

Through the French doors a small courtyard is not yet open to the public. Here, Serafin smokes pastrami for Reuben sandwiches on an upright smoker. He hopes to produce as much as possible on a small artisanal scale.

The deli is open for lunch from Tuesday to Sunday, but Serafin hopes to extend hours to the evening as business picks up. He also plans to utilise his liquor license. In the near future, patrons will enjoy a twilight platter of house pickles, lox and smoked pastrami with an accompanying glass of red.

The Flying Fig Deli
The Flying Fig Deli, 161 Jefcott Street, North Adelaide
(08) 7226 1788

Tues to Sun 7.30am–3.30pm