When you run a space as dynamic as Richmond’s Co Bake Space, a community-driven baking operation on Swan Street, there is no standard day.
But for owners (and Insta baking sensations) Alice Bennett and Alisha Henderson, that’s part of the charm. From pop-ups to parties to workshops, each day brings something new to the table. And the beauty of their Richmond locale is that they’re prepared for pretty much anything.
“I’ve been living here for almost 10 years,” says Henderson. “I rarely get out of my Richmond bubble. I feel like I can get everything I possibly need.”
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Whether they’re starting the day with a coffee, picking up supplies for the shop or winding down after hours, here are a few of the bakers’ top neighbourhood haunts.
Located a five-minute drive from Co Bake, Mile End’s Richmond location has become a fast favourite for team meetings and work lunches. “I think that’s been our most popular team lunch,” says Bennett.
The unanimous must-order is smoked salmon and caper cream cheese on an everything bagel, a savoury respite from the copious amounts of sprinkles and icing found in the office.
“Sometimes on the weekends they’ll do a pandan croissant cake, which is also amazing,” says Henderson. “We are all about eating everyone else’s cake. I’d never make anything like that myself, so I appreciate it when other people are baking it.”
After hours, the pair often turn to Co Thu Quan for hard-to-find Vietnamese fare like bun mam, a fermented fish and vermicelli soup. And when they’re after a classic pub meal, Union House, located just across the road from Co Bake, is their top pick.
“It’s quite sentimental to us,” says Bennett. “We actually went there when we got in Broadsheet the first time to celebrate.”
For Bennett and Henderson, every day starts with coffee or matcha – and 345 Richmond, tucked in a building just off Swan Street, is their preferred choice.
“We have personally decided they have the best coffee in Richmond,” says Henderson. “It’s a tiny hole in the wall that just happens to be so good.”
Natural wine is the duo’s knock-off of choice, and the recent influx of wine bars in Richmond and its surrounds means there’s no shortage of options to try. Lilac, hidden in Cremorne’s backstreets, was a recent highlight.
“That was a really great team dinner,” says Bennett. “We thought the vibe there was really great.”
They also love Fraek Vin, a new addition to Bridge Road inspired by the wine dens of Europe. “It feels so northside, but I’m so happy that it’s in Richmond,” says Henderson.
Days at Co Bake Space start early, but that doesn’t deter Bennett and Henderson from an early-morning fitness class to start the day right. They’re big fans of Fox Fit, a women-only gym in Cremorne that pairs strength training and high-intensity cardio.
“Alisha and I have been going together once or twice a week,” says Bennett. “From session one, we loved it.”
When they’re not hosting their own pop-ups, Bennett and Henderson enjoy strolling the shops along Swan Street. Glasshaus nursery is a must for flowers to brighten up Co Bake Space, while Avenue Bookstore is their pick for gifts.
“It’s a good place to go if you need a last-minute pressie,” says Bennett.
Supercheese, a specialty cheese and bottle shop, is another go-to for gifting or grabbing a bottle of wine after work. Meanwhile, when it comes to professional purchases, the bakers don’t stray far away.
“For any supplies, we go straight to Chefland, my favourite place on Earth,” says Henderson. “We’re always picking up last-minute bits and pieces or equipment – and doing all sorts of damage on the credit card.”
As local business owners, it’s important for the bakers to shop locally – particularly considering the support they’ve seen at Co Bake.
“The way that the community shows up and supports Richmond businesses is pretty amazing,” says Henderson. “I don't know if every inner-city suburb would be that way, but they’re very loud and proud.”
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Ray White.