The grand Hotel Windsor isn’t hard to miss on Spring Street. But the same can’t be said for its bakery, Kudo. Accessible from the hotel’s side entrance on Little Collins Street, the pint-sized shop is entirely gluten-free.
By pastry chef Felix Goodwin (ex-Sunda) and his wife Elena Nguyen, it was originally meant to be a dedicated in-house kitchen for dietary-friendly wedding and celebration cakes. But when Covid put party-planning on hold, the couple decided to pivot to smaller, more takeaway-centred items like tarts, cookies and canelés – all sans gluten – which they sold from the hotel during Melbourne’s lockdowns.
The rolling pop-up was such a success that they decided to keep the model going, even with the return of events. Grab-and-go patisserie is now their (gluten-free) bread and butter.
Nguyen is the brains behind the bakery’s seasonal creations, which might include the mandarin, pineapple sage and apricot jam choux, made with the sharp yet sweet bite of mandarin peels fermented in local honey. There are also a few cakes and cookies on regular rotation. Plus chewy, custardy canelés (think matcha, kumquat, and vanilla and Jimmy Rum) which Nguyen says were a happy, accidental outcome of her trying to make bread. They’re now one of the signature sweets, signified by copper canelé moulds hanging from the ceiling.
She and Goodwin have well and truly worked out the bread situation since then. There are several different varieties including baguettes, sourdough focaccia and sandwich loaves, each made with a custom flour blend for optimal consistency.
Given the size of the space, most snacks are designed to take away, but there are a few bar seats if you’d like to sit with your sweets and coffee from Ona.
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