One of Melbourne’s most popular bakeries, Baker Bleu, is opening in Sydney – its first venture outside Melbourne. Baker Bleu will launch in Double Bay early next year, in partnership with Sydney hospo legend Neil Perry (Rockpool, Spice Temple), doors down from Perry’s new restaurant Margaret.

“[Neil] got on the phone during Covid,” co-owner and baker Mike Russell, who is originally from Sydney, tells Broadsheet. “He said … I'm doing this restaurant in Double Bay, you should too. We should open a bakery in Sydney. And I was like, no crazy. I can't even imagine that right now. Because everything was just changing all the time. We'd lost all that wholesale, because of lockdown here. With the amount of staff we were going through because people were coming and going, and leaving the country, it just felt like it was just not ever going to happen. And he said look, at least come have a look at the site. We came to Sydney look the site with him and were like, wow, it's really special. And you know, we just felt like, if it's achievable, then it's an opportunity we can't miss out on all of our friends and family from Sydney.”

The menu at Baker Bleu Sydney will replicate that in Melbourne. It is all about sourdough, bagels, baguettes, and white and rye loaves. The loaves are made with wild yeast and naturally leavened. They ferment for at least 18 hours, resulting in dense bread with caramel-hued crusts. You will also be able to grab pizza slices, pastries and grocery items such as anchovies, butter and sea salt. Perry might even be bringing his sandwich-making skills into the fold once things get up and running.

“He's got a real great penchant for sandwiches,” says Russell. “So definitely we're going to be doing something in that in that as well.”

The bakery will take up a 260-square-metre space, and there’ll also be outdoor dining overlooking the park opposite – but it will ultimately be a grab-and-go venue.

Russell spent years learning his craft at some of Australia’s best bakeries, including Iggy’s and Bourke Street Bakery in Sydney, as well as Baker D. Chirico in Melbourne. Baker Bleu sells its products to some of Melbourne’s most respected restaurants including Attica and Cumulus Inc. And before it moved into a new, larger space in 2019, it was selling out of loaves before 9am on many Sundays. Its second location – with a focus on pastries – opened earlier this year in the Melbourne suburb of Prahran.

Baker Bleu is slated to open in Double Bay in early 2022.