Oregano may sound like a funny name for a bakery known for its delectable cinnamon scrolls, but the green herb is one of the three main ingredients in za’atar – the cornerstone behind the store’s original concept.
Sonia and Tony Jabbour opened Oregano Bakery in 2010 as a Lebanese pizza shop, creating traditional pizzas. A few months down the track, Tony, a trained pizza chef, started experimenting with scrolls and sweets to generate extra income during a tough time. Sonia agreed, as long as he made use of ingredients they already had on hand. And so Tony continued experimenting, combining his tried and tested pizza dough with various flavours to create what are now nationally famous scrolls.
Now wholesaling their scrolls to more than 500 stores throughout Sydney, and offering overnight courier services to Melbourne and Canberra, their story is one of true inspiration. The popularity comes as no surprise, considering the bold flavours on offer.
The classic cinnamon scroll is topped with a blizzard of icing sugar and filled with a secret cinnamon mix that only Tony knows. Other variations include a cookies and cream scroll topped with Oreo cookies, the Greek favourite of tahini and sesame, and an indulgent chocolate and cashew scroll, generously covered in chocolate flakes. Peel them apart or bite straight in and appreciate the layers of oozy goodness.
While the scrolls may bring the people in, the core of the business still centres around Lebanese fare. The original za’atar pizza with oregano, thyme and sumac can be amped up with cheese or garlic. The meat pizza is topped with tomato, onion and herbs, or there’s the sujuc with spicy sausage. Za’atar wraps include ‘Sonia’s special’ of olives, mint, tomato, shallots and yoghurt, or the roast lamb with yoghurt and mint. A shanklish calzone is filled with the traditional Levantine cheese, tomato, onion, and chilli and spices, and classic pide breads are stuffed with mixed cheese or a blend of spinach, tomato and onion.
Downstairs, the small but sleek space lends itself to the savoury side of things. An open kitchen allows you to see straight through to the mastery at work and delicious aromas fill the cafe. White tiles pair with white walls, with the only pop of colour being their signature leaf. Upstairs was re-fitted in 2013 to be a dedicated scroll haven.
A true family business, Oregano Bakery sees Sonia and Tony’s son Jayden lead the coffee team as Head Barista while their daughter, Jasmine takes care of their ever-growing social media presence. Sonia’s brother Robert was also pivotal in setting up the business. Despite growing beyond their wildest dreams, the Jabbours are keeping their business local and oversee all the minute details.
Oregano might not be the main ingredient in Oregano Bakery’s most popular treat, but it’s a reminder of where Sonia and Tony started. There’s no better way to celebrate the values that pervade the business: family and delicious sweet treats.