Setting up a brand new café directly opposite The Kettle Black, – one of Melbourne’s most popular gourmet cafés – is a bold move, but that’s exactly what Kevin Li (Lights in the Attic, 3Lives) did with his newest project The Crux & Co. Located on the ground floor of The Emerald Apartment on Albert Road, The Crux & Co. is a uniquely modern café and patisserie, where the rich and buttery pastries of the West come to meet the tangy savoury flavours of Korea.
Since its opening in late June this year, The Crux & Co. has fast become a hotspot for Melbourne’s self-confessed brunch addicts, and it’s easy to see and taste why. Largely illuminated by natural sunlight, and featuring a soft grey-blue colour scheme, the café manages to feel open and relaxing despite reaching its full seating capacity of 110 customers. However, the most surprising element of is its incredibly fast and high quality service, especially considering the large volume of customers present on a sunny Friday afternoon.
Lead by executive manager James Julian (Two Birds One Stone, Addict Food & Coffee), every single member of the cafe’s front-house crew was polite, friendly and attentive. The only thing one really needs to worry about is deciding what to order from the all-day breakfast and lunch menu. If you like to start your days off with a slightly sweet note, then the French toast ($18)served with mixed berries, nuts, natural honeycomb, mascarpone, and vanilla fairy floss is ideal. The scoop of light and creamy mascarpone almost melts over the warm and thickly cut French toast, while the sweetness of the honeycomb and fairy floss are perfectly balanced out by the slight acidity of the fresh berries.
For those more inclined towards the savoury flavours for breakfast, then the Bisque benedict ($20.5) with tiger prawns, poached eggs, served on top of a house-made squid ink toast and topped with a lobster bisque hollandaise sauce is highly recommended. The squid-ink toast along with the tender and juicy tiger prawns brought the soft briny flavours of the sea to the familiar comforts of a traditional western breakfast of gooey poached eggs and slightly spiced creamy hollandaise sauce.
Although the main dishes are great, the true highlight of The Crux & Co. is its wide range of sweet macarons, cakes, tarts and pastries created by head pastry chef Louise MK Lee (Brunetti). With their delicate and smooth crust, light and slightly chewy centre, the macarons were absolute perfection. However, with its perfect balance of salty and sweet flavours, the salted caramel éclair is a must-try for any sweet-tooth who visits.
The Crux & Co.
Address: G01/35 Albert Road, Melbourne 3004
Contact: (03) 9820 1081
Hours: Monday-Friday 7am-4pm, Saturday-Sunday 8am-4pm