History – Pre 1976
The real history of the Wellington Cake Shop starts well over 100 years ago in the towns and cities of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. Laszlo Brull (Lesley or affectionately known as Laci - pronounced Lo-tzi, to many of his original 1979 clients) is the product of a second generation pastry cook with a family lineage which originated as bakers (specialising in Bread)
Laci’s grandfather was a baker. In those days, before the harsh realities of the Second World War set in, the Patisseries (cakes and tortes) were predominantly owned by Christian families, while the Jewish families ran the bakeries (bread and leavened – sourdough or yeast, products). These were the divisional lines on which many generations of Hungarians grew up in. Laci’s father Bela however, was not content to towing the family line (true to Brull tradition) and began as an apprentice in a prominent Patisserie in the leafy and affluent hills of Buda in the mid 1930’s, meanwhile his parents were running a successful bakery.
As the spectre of war loomed things began to change, however the bakery was still in function and Bela completed his 5 year pastry cooking apprenticeship. After Hungary’s Liberation and Bela’s return from the labour camps he began to operate from a small shop front offered to him by his father in his local bakery. In the meantime Bela was married to Elizabeth in the late 1940’s and in 1951, his first son Laszlo was born, a few years later his second son Zoltan came along. But things soon took a turn for the worse.
In the early 1950’s many of Hungary’s small business’ that had been in family hands for generations, with that knowhow and knowledge was lost. The Communist Regime nationalised all aspects of the Hungarian economy and confiscated property and possessions. Disenchanted and disheartened, particularly after surviving the horrors of the Nazi occupation and forced labour camps Bela and his family lost his bakery along with many prominent families in both the Baking and Patisserie professions. He began to work as an electrician.
Happily after the Hungarian uprising in 1956 a few changes were made and Goulash Communism allowed some small business’ to open, Bela was amongst the first to open shop in the markets. The business began to thrive and with the help of his wife Elizabeth they soon moved their business to a premises in Buda. (Incidentally that Patisserie is still in operation today, owned by one of Bela’s apprentices and her daughters with all the original recipes Bela had been taught and handed down to him.)
As Laszlo was growing up he was actively involved with his parents, consistently helping them after school and on weekends in the patisserie, serving customers and learning the trade. He loved the occupation so much that when it came time to decide his future he began an apprenticeship with a well known pastry cook who by this time had re-established his Patisserie. After some five years of his apprenticeship and two more years of working at another Patisserie, Laci became qualified as a Master Pastry Cook.
1976 till now
In 1975 Laci began courting his wife Gyorgy (Georgina) whose father had run one of Budapest’s largest bakeries and who also had a family line of bakers. They were married in July 1976 and immigrated to Australia in mid 1977 with their baby daughter Mariann. With the aid of their extended family which had immigrated to Sydney in the late 1940’s early 1950’s, Laci’s Uncles and Aunties helped establish Laci and Georgina in the Bondi area, helping them with accommodation and securing their first jobs. At the time there was a strong and vibrant Hungarian community in the Eastern Suburbs, which often concentrated in areas such as Double Bay and Bondi road. After working in a couple patisseries and opportunity to purchase a small bakery on 157 Bondi rd became available. Again, with the much appreciated help of their extended family, Laci and Georgina Brull opened the doors of the Wellington Cake Shop (named Wellington because of its location being at the intersection of Wellington Street in Bondi).
What started as an all Aussie affair, with the traditional meat pies, sausage rolls, finger and Chelsea buns and bread rolls. As time progressed Leslie and Georgina had two sons David and Tomi. Over the intervening years the Wellington Cake Shop has evolved into the continental patisserie and Bondi Icon that it is today.
Tastes that were once foreign to the local taste buds were loved by expatriate Europeans who had been somewhat starved of their traditional cuisines. Over time though, Poppyseed, Walnut, sweet cream cheese and sour cherry, the Chocolate Kuglouf and other ‘alien delicacies’ began to be embraced by the greater majority. These days the great grand children of some of our original customers are passing through our doors.
So the Brull family are passionate about their little business and the quality of the products we make, and as a family we feel that many of our loyal customers who have stuck with us all those years and watched the family grow are part of our extended family. So with major renovations having been undertaken in late 2011, Laci, Georgina, Mariann, David and Tomi would like to thank each of our generational customers and our new ones for their support and we look forward to being able to provide you with the same quality and standard for as we have for the last 34 year for at least the next 34 years.