Take five minutes with the co-owner of Alexander’s Bakery Southside (also known as the bakery with the baby), Wollongong, Kaveh Akbari.
Kaveh and his wife opened the bakery just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but the tenacious business held on through tough times to become one of the best places to stop for a pastry and cuppa in the Illawarra.
Kaveh’s got even bigger dreams for the business, but for his advice on the best places to eat and drink around the region, read on.
In a nutshell, who are you?
We’re a mum and dad boutique bakery that combines traditional Eastern European (Macedonian) pastries with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours and delivers a huge range of bureks, focaccias, croissants and baklavas all under one roof. We’ve come to exist on the back of four decades of work by my father-in-law Tome, who has been making bureks for 40 years and opened his own bakery in Rockdale 25 years ago.
How would you describe Alexander’s Bakery?
A resilient little bakery, built on ‘human first’ principles that takes pride in its high-quality pastries, coffee and customer service. We’re a place that people want to be at, both as customers and employees.
What dish best sums up what your venue does? Bureks.
What dish can’t you go past? The focaccias, and the sandwiches made on our very own freshly baked rolls.
Favourite cuisine? Turkish – especially a sausage, egg and labne roll.
Most essential ingredient? Ricotta.
What inspires you about the food culture in Wollongong? The opportunities for growth … we have lots of potential.
What’s your go-to venue for a special occasion?
Two Smoking Barrels – the best burgers I’ve ever eaten! But also the Korean BBQ in town, and Jasmine Rice for Thai. Baby Face is an outstanding fine dining place for a bit more class.
Favourite Wollongong bar? I like Towradgi Beach Hotel, it just has awesome vibes.
What is the best kept secret on the food scene locally? I don’t know about secret, but Jin’s little place at Corrimal is absolutely to die for.
What do you think is an iconic Wollongong food institution? Two Smoking Barrels by far.
What are your top three recipe tips?
Whatever you’re trying to make, enjoy the process and do it with love; immerse yourself in it, you’ll taste the difference! And present well. Presentation is a huge part. It shows care and passion.