The Pickled Lam Deli

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi ,

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Master Chef Joe Lam .

Master Chef Joe Lam .

Master Chef and owner of Scalinis extended his culinary ventures to include a new delicatessen meeting a growing demand for quality fine foods on the go. 

The Pickled Lam Delicatessen, in Motootua, is the creation of the internationally renowned Master Chef, Joe Lam, who confessed that the catchy name of his new deli was formed over a few too many drinks with friends but that it came in the nick of time before they opened up three weeks ago.

“It was one of those few drinks too many moments and someone came up with it,” Mr. Lam laughed. “I thought actually that’s a great name for a deli because at the time when we were ready to open we had no name.”

Chef Lam had always wanted to open a deli in Samoa having had one previously in St Heliers, Auckland along with the Auckland based Scalinis.  After extending Sacalinis restaurant in Motootua, Mr. Lam decided that the time was right to open after identifying a market for fine quality delicacies.

“Ever since I’ve been in Samoa, I wanted to open a deli but we had to wait for the right time in the market. With what we’ve seen in Scalinis, when we brought in the stuff that we’re using now, every now and again we put it on special - the more in demand they became,” he said. 

“So we figured this is the right to open and even now, I reckon that we underestimated the market. We got slammed in the first and second week and we’ve pretty much run out of our cold cuts and cheeses. So we had to jump on the plane to New Zealand and get more cheeses.”

The Pickled Lam is a classic deli offering your classic imported meats and cheeses. The selection of mouthwatering ready-to-eat gourmet sandwiches, dips and salads are all made from scratch with a few exceptions. 

“We have designed everything to grab and go with the salads and sandwiches,” he said. “We also have own dips that we make and we make our own breads and bagels. People come in here and grab some bread, grab some cheese, roast peppers and olive, all of that European antipasto sort of food. 

“There’s a big gap in this market that we’re filling, we also do pizzas and takeaway desserts. We make pretty much everything except for the ice cream which we buy locally.”

Master Chef Joe Lam .
Master Chef Joe Lam .

Delicatessens are a foreign concept to some, but Chef Lam said you wouldn’t know it by how fast his imported delicacies are being purchased by the locals.

“This cheese from New Zealand arrived about six days ago and we’ve already sold half of it. I think it’s about 50/50 with the locals but it’s mainly locals who are buying. It’s also the way that people are eating nowadays, they like to share plates. People come in and buy four or five entrees and share it because they all want to taste different things.”

Delicatessens are not for everybody and Chef Lam is okay with that saying that consistency of premium quality and service is his goal and that he wants to offer the best that he can offer as far as delis go in Samoa.  

The Scalinis restaurant owner cures some of his own meats and tries to source from local markets as much as possibly can but as he points out there is something special about buying special imported delicacies.

“It’s good to source some of the local meats but there’s also something special about the prosciutto coming from Italy and the salamis coming from Spain. For us it’s about consistency - consistency of quality of food we produce, the quality of service we provide.

“We also understand that we can’t please everybody but I just tell my staff to just try their best, people will understand what we’re doing.”

Chef Lam says that there will be more delicious delicacies and specialty wines added to the menu as they work with quarantine and customs on the regulations of bringing them in.

The Pickled Lam is open from 7.30am to 9pm Monday through Saturday.

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