New Collingwood cheesecake destination Lulu & Me feels more like a deli than a bakery.

The minute you walk in, you’re greeted by the overwhelming smell of freshly baked cheesecake. Follow the scent to the back corner of the former warehouse and you’ll find an open kitchen where you can watch all the action.

The store has a try-before-you-buy kind of model. Walk up to the service bench at the front and sample each of the five cheesecakes on offer before making your final choice.

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Photography: Jordan Price

Lulu & Me has become something of a Tiktok phenomenon, thanks to its pay-by-weight Basque cheesecake offerings. Founders Michael Diamandis and twin pastry chefs Dilu and Jini Kulathungam – who also all run Joy Cupcakes, one of the remaining Melbourne businesses that was part of the great cupcake craze of the 2010s – say their bakery is a “pioneer” for pay-by-weight cheesecake.

Only the two Basque cheesecakes, traditional and pandan, are available to purchase by weight; they come in at $5.49 and $6.46 per 100 grams respectively, with the higher cost of pandan cake due to the bakery’s use of fresh pandan leaves.

Photography: Jordan Price

After you’ve described (or shown the team behind the counter using hand gestures) how much cheesecake you’re after, they weigh and wrap up your slice in butcher's paper, just like at a deli.

There are also whole cakes on offer. If you’re buying the traditional Basque as a whole cake instead of by weight, you’ll get an orange, peppercorn and bay leaf syrup to pour on top.

Photography: Jordan Price

There’s a classic New York-style cheesecake made with a messmate eucalyptus biscuit base, and a no-bake cheesecake that Diamandis says reminds him of “the wobbly cheesecake that your aunty used to make, but better”. On weekends, there is a cloud-like Japanese soufflé cheesecake sold only as an entire cake, too. And they’ll soon have coffee available.

The light-filled warehouse is large but contains nothing but bakery equipment and the display cabinet, whose copper light artwork was made by Diamandis’s father. While there aren’t any seats, “there are no rules, the space is what you make of it,” says Diamandis. You should feel free to find a spot on the floor inside, take your cheesecake to a park nearby or take it home for later.

Lulu & Me Cheesecakes
1-5 Hotham Street, Collingwood

Thu to Sun 9am–2pm