Son of a Baker
It's worth making the extra effort to get to this beachside Balkan cafe
There were a few risks involved in the opening of Son of a Baker, the patisserie-cum-cafe in south Sydney suburb San Souci. The first was co-owner Roman Urosevski's decision to break out on his own rather than take over the family bakery as assumed; his father has been running the popular Alexander's Bakery for over two decades.
The second was the location: Son of a Baker sits within a nondescript strip of shops at the sleepy Dolls Point-end of the Grand Parade — not exactly the type of place even locals would expect to find a decent feed.
In an attempt to neutralise these risks, Urosevski teamed up with Marcus Gorgè, a Sydney cafe veteran (Local MBassy, Chimichuri), to open the cafe in early 2018. And it's safe to say: the risk paid off. Within only a few weeks, the Alexander's Bakery outpost in Westfield Miranda switched to a Son of a Baker store — a vote of confidence from Dad — and when we visited on a wintry Sunday morning, it was teeming with people.
To figure out why, let's start with the space. Designer Korolos Ibrahim kept things things sleek and modern — pale timber tables, parquet flooring, washed cement walls and a marble counter holding a matte white coffee machine. The small space is made bigger by bifold windows overlooking the street and beach beyond. Up the back, a glass divider lets the curious look on as the pastry chefs get to work. It's small details like this that add warmth and character.
Another one is the burek, a baked and stuffed Balkan pastry, which Urosevski used to make with his father. If you haven't cottoned on yet, this familial relationship is where the cafe's cheeky moniker comes from. Burek flavours vary, but during our visit there was pulled pork (soaked in orange and passionfruit) and spinach and leek. The cafe's two Macedonian pastry chefs, who were brought over from Alexander's Bakery, have also refined the dough to be vegan. It's important to call out here that the burek simply shouldn't be missed — but easily could be with red velvet croissants, nutella cronuts and strudels also on offer.
Where Son of a Baker's fit-out is stunning in its simplicity, its food takes the opposite approach. Every plate on the eat-in menu has been designed by Gorgè to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible, which shows a strong attention to detail, but also means that food envy here is a very real danger.
The menu is divided into brunch dishes and sweet treats. More than half of the former are vegetarian and there are varied cultural nods throughout — think shakshuka ($18), a falafel bowl ($19) and piperchi ($18), charred peppers, aged lamb prosciutto and feta with scrambled eggs. But if looks are important (hey, no judgement here), you'll want to opt for one of the burgers — barramundi with miso butter ($24), pulled pork with pear sauce ($22) or chicken with shiso slaw ($19) — served on a charcoal milk bun.
Or there's the signature lobster tail benedict ($25) which, yes, is just as decadent as it sounds — three generous strips of lobster tail, two poached eggs, scallops, smashed avo, orange gel and hollandaise served in a croissant. There's a lot going on. It's not really a cohesive dish, but it's certainly fun. As is the butterfly pancakes ($18) which incorporate the uber-trendy butterfly pea powder to give the pancakes a purple hue.
Drinks are simpler, but no less colourful, with coffee by Zest, freshly squeezed juices, smoothies and, no surprises, heavenly red velvet and taro lattes.
Service is warm, in the way you'd expect from a neighbourhood spot, and slick, in the way you might not. It's the final piece of the puzzle that has seen this small suburban eatery go from strength to strength. It might take a little extra effort to get to Son of a Baker, but you'll be glad you made the trip.
Images: Michael Wee.