The grand Hotel Windsor isn’t hard to miss on Spring Street. But the same can’t be said for its new bakery, Kudo.

Almost two years in the making, it opened quietly last month. And it’s already buzzing.

Accessible from the hotel’s side entrance on Little Collins Street, the pint-sized shop is entirely gluten-free – and in the process of becoming coeliac-certified.

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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. While the Kudo team will eventually bake whole cakes upon request, grab-and-go patisserie is now their (gluten-free) bread and butter.

Nguyen is the brains behind the bakery’s seasonal creations, such as 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 (in flavours like matcha, kumquat, and vanilla and Jimmy Rum), which were a happy accident. “We tried to do some bread and the texture ended up kind of like canelés, so I thought maybe I should try them,” says Nguyen. 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 now 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 in with an Ona coffee. Down the track, the team plans to introduce a small range of toasties and sandwiches, as well as local delivery and wholesale.

8 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

Thu to Sun 8am–4pm