When I call Sal Senan, one of the co-owners at Self Raised Bread Shoppe in Carlton, he’s wrist-deep in dough. “Not the good kind, though,” he quips, before asking if it’s OK to finish up and call back in 15 minutes.

It’s late afternoon and Senan says he’s been at it since the early morning – but the pastry chefs were in the building long before that, laminating a golden fleet of viennoiseries at 3am. I insist 20 minutes is more than fine for a call back.

When we reconvene, he’s joined by Hussein Rachid, who also co-owns SRBS with sister Amani. They’re the same trio behind My Mother’s Cousin – a slice of New York’s pizzeria culture opposite Bexley North train station – and were the original owners of Rockdale cafe and Lebanese bakery Nineteen43, which closed under new ownership last year.

Never miss a Sydney moment. Make sure you're subscribed to our newsletter today.


Their latest venture, a humming bakery just up from the St George Illawarra Dragons home ground of Jubilee Park, continues the carb theme with gusto – but Senan says it’s more about takeaway this time.

“Come in and grab a nice loaf of sourdough, some stuff for the pantry. Pick up a coffee and a couple of pastries and head to the beach. But if you want to sit in and eat a sandwich, we’ve got a couple of seats and benches out the front.”

The team could have opened up shoppe just about anywhere, but Rachid says the MO has always been to bring smart, inner-city-style venues to Sydney’s south: “We’re both St George boys,” says Rachid. “We just want to give something back to the area we grew up in.”

Let’s be real – Self Raised Bread will probably be a magnet for the inner-city crowd, too. It echoes the retro aesthetic at My Mother’s Cousin (“Amani’s the expert” says Senan) with chequerboard floors, dark timber panels and gold leaf signage by Good Hands Sign Co in Marrickville. August Eight Studio created the snazzy branding and merch designs, while Senan and the Rachids handled the fit-out themselves.

A gun pastry team in head pastry chef Sarah Ghantous (ex-Flour and Stone) and Greer Rochford (ex-Cornersmith and Pig & Pastry) are responsible for the cornucopia of croissants, kouign-amanns, blueberry tarts, plum danishes and more. Kirrawee artisan bakery Thoroughbread helped develop Self Raised's bread program, while Wholegrain Milling in Gunnedah supplies flour for the sourdough, ciabatta and slabs of focaccia – the latter ferries tomato, basil and goats cheese, or whipped ricotta, tomato and honey-and-thyme-roasted peaches.

Inspired by Melbourne’s sandwich-deli boom and New York’s bodegas, Hussein has masterminded a fleet of hoagies, stuffed ciabattas and sourdough sandwiches oozing cross-section charisma.

“You can’t just slap a bunch of things together and expect it to be good – there’s a real art to making a good sandwich.” he says.

He and Senan both rate the Schnitzel (herb and garlic panko-crumbed chicken, lettuce, American cheese and mayo on white sourdough) and Hoagie No 1 (mortadella, turkey ham, salami, lettuce, roasted peppers, provolone and green dressing on a sesame seed-studded hoagie roll). There’s also a take on the ever-divisive tuna sandwich – here made on ciabatta – and plans for a rotating weekly special.

If you swing past in the morning, get your mitts around a milk bun bursting with egg, gooey cheese and a potato hash doused in pepper ketchup and a house sauce (add sausage for an extra couple of bucks), or a classic grilled cheese sanga, which you can (and should) jazz up with mushrooms. Also, Reformatory Lab coffee served every way.

With hordes already lining up for the trio’s hot bread during a sweltering Sydney summer, Senan boils it down to the same reasons the trio decided to do a bakery in the first place.

“It feels like people just want to get back to simple, tasty food. The kind of stuff we grew up eating. But simple doesn’t always mean easy – there are so many details that go into simple things. Details are everything.”

Self Raised Bread Shoppe
45 Jubilee Avenue, Carlton

Wed to Sat 7am–2.30pm
Sun 8am–2pm