Forget the Berry Donut Van, This NSW South Coast Bakery Is the Next Area Institution

Most people who’ve been to the NSW South Coast know about the Berry Donut Van. It’s been around for over 55 years and has become an institution in the area. Now, a new spot looks set to join its cult status on the South Coast.

It’s Lagom Bakery in Burrill Lake, south of Ulladulla and a 3.5-hour drive from Sydney. Since its opening in December 2020, the venue has already won two awards for its food. Its fruit loaf won Champion Loaf Of The Show at this year’s Wollongong Baking Show, while its olive and herb loaf topped the competition’s Savoury Sourdough category, winning against 65 other bakeries.

The bakery came about organically. Co-owner Brinley Kettle started baking his own sourdough during COVID lockdowns and started distributing it at a friend’s restaurant, Gwylo, and select shops.

Lagom Bakery
Image: Lagom Bakery

Eventually, Kettle teamed up with his former chef friend Jon Reeves to set up their own shop, Lagom Bakery, part-bakery and part-deli. They serve up bread — like raisin and walnut, cheese and jalapeno and seedy house — as well as viennoiseries — like almond croissants and cinnamon scrolls — and snacks, including toasties and pizza slabs. And, of course, they’ve also got teas and coffees, like milk, black, iced and batch brew.

“Lagom Bakery is built around the mission ‘to nourish our community’,” says Reeves.

“We’re dedicated to slow, artisanal practices, believing that simplicity and ‘just the right amount’ are the way to go. That’s the definition of ‘lagom’ in Swedish, after all. Our focus is on locally-sourced ingredients, working with suppliers in our region wherever possible, minimising our environmental impact and creating everything in-house.”

Kettle says their success so far can be directly attributed to the venue’s team of hardworking, friendly, foodie fans, as well as the South Coast community who’ve embraced the bakery’s sourdough and viennoiserie with what he describes as passion and excitement.

Image: Lagom Bakery

“It’s so exciting and affirming to see our local customers return weekly, sometimes daily for their staples, coffee catch ups and conversations,” says Kettle.

The two like to say that each of Lagom’s loaves contain a handful of love. They’re made with passion, commitment to detail and the highest quality ingredients possible. They also don’t take shortcuts with baking, adopting an ethos of ‘slow is best’ and ‘good things take time’.

“Coming from a chef background, it’s an interesting switch in process,” says Reeves. “Baking requires absolute attention to detail, following the recipe and procedure for consistent results. It’s a challenge. The smallest change can impact the entire loaf, so it’s all about knowing the dough and getting familiar with it.”

Lagom Bakery
Image: Lagom Bakery

Reeves says he also loves seeing bread’s raw ingredients, flour and water, be turned into a pantry staple — that also smells and tastes great. Kettle, meanwhile, says his favourite part about being a baker is that every day is different.

“It’s satisfying working with your hands and ultimately creating something nourishing that customers get stoked about,” he says.

As for their favourite loaves? They’re both big fans of the seedy house and the rustic white sourdough, that’s delicately shaped into a traditional baguette and then rolled in Lagom’s house seed blend that includes fennel and sesame seeds.

“It’s definitely the most difficult loaf to perfect — like an art form — but also the most rewarding,” says Reeves. “We munch the ends straight out of the bag — and catch our customers doing the same them. We also slice them as a charcuterie board essential and craft them into the best sandwiches.”

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