When it comes to doing nice things for your mum, Tesha Borin makes us all look bad.

Borin’s mother, Cristina, is lactose intolerant and sensitive to gluten. So Borin’s new cafe and bakery, Buku, is friendly to almost any food intolerance you can think of.

Borin says the venture is an extension of her mum’s experimental baking.

“I took a lot of her trial recipes and fixed them. This whole thing has been a team effort,” says the 26-year-old pastry chef, who has had stints at the Grand Hyatt, The European and Tonka.

At Buku you’ll find a rotating menu of gluten-free and refined-sugar-free cakes and slices that rival their common counterparts for taste and aesthetic. A banana cake with butterscotch ganache and dairy-free “crème” is a decadent winner.

“You’d be surprised what you can do with gluten-free flours, which I make from scratch. We’re pushing the boundaries,” she says.

Borin’s father, a carpenter, helped with the renovations to the Northcote site. Two custom-made, recycled-timber tables dominate the earthy-toned space, which seats 20.

There’s a small dine-in menu, including wheat-free oat porridge, smashed avocado on densely seeded bread and a couple of vegan salads. There’s also a hot “beetroot chocolate” to try.

“It’s about people with intolerances feeling comfortable to go somewhere and eat without worrying about the spiel. You go out, you eat whatever you want just like everybody else,” she says.

555 High Street, Northcote
(03) 9481 6141

Wed to Sun 8am–4pm