The Crux and Co is a gorgeous new cafe on the ground floor of the curvy Emerald building on Albert Road driven by the team behind Lights in the Attic in Hawthorn. Along with The Kettle Black it brings innovative brunch fare to a little-loved wedge of South Melbourne.
The decor by EAT architects is quietly chic and luxurious. The buttery leather, softly burnished wood and warm copper tones of the decor making me feel like I’m cocooned into an expensive Coach handbag.
The neutral colour-scheme gives a brightness to the site, where the only natural light enters through the front windows. The shelves cleverly pivot at the base so that they can be opened to create vertical shifts of air between tables when the weather’s balmy.
I’m invited to try the menu, which is very trend-driven and eclectic collection of international flavours.
I love a decadent breakfast so I cannot resist the bisque benedict, with poached eggs served on house-made squid ink bread and a lobster bisque hollandaise ($20.50). The seafood flavors are subtle but the addition of the fat tiger prawns reminds me that this dish is all about the fruits of the sea. The rice cracker squiggles provide architectural interest but turn out to be tasteless and soggy – push them aside.
I also try the French toast served with mixed berries, nuts, natural honeycomb, mascarpone and vanilla fairy floss ($18). I love the presentation – a single hunk of eggy bread and surrounding colour. It’s art on a plate but I’m a little overwhelmed by the number of sweet elements – I reckon in this case less may just be more.
The coffee comes from Five Senses made on a giant Synesso and one of the head baristas Ratchanon Theppabutra is formerly of Manchester Press. He has a sizeable Instagram following at @poonypoonypoony and his latte art extends to the cutest teddy bear on this babycino!
The pastries and breads are all made on site (the second kitchen is hidden behind the wall of the open kitchen) with the former head pastry chef of Brunetti at the helm.
What’s been capturing everyone’s attention is the ‘Croggle’ a croissant and bagel hybrid ($4.50).
In a town that thrives on high end cafe spaces and innovative brunches, The Crux and Co is right up there with the best of Melbourne’s #foodporn. I look forward to seeing your ‘grams!