The Crux & Co., South Melbourne

The Crux and Co. is a relatively new cafe in South Melbourne, opposite The Kettle Black and easily accessible by any tram that goes through the Domain Interchange. The cafe has a range of croissants, pastries and sweet dishes that are balanced out by Korean inspired savoury dishes f.

The decor at Crux and Co is simple and minimalistic, with bright lighting and pale wooden furniture that make for a cosy and warm interior. The atmosphere is lively with all the people chattering, and the cafe is big enough that you didn't have to raise your voice to hear the people next to you. We waited about 15 minutes for a table, and about the same time for our food as well. Service was really great, with staff that were friendly and extremely attentive, though not to the point of being obtrusive.

The menu at The Crux and Co has both breakfast and lunch served all day, with traditional dishes that have an added twist to it which was really interesting. We decided on the Vegetarian Breakfast ($20), Bisque Benedict ($20.50) and the Crux Breakfast Board ($19), as well as OJ ($6.50) and a capp ($4). The cappuccino was nice and creamy with just the right amount of caffeine; not too strong or weak, and the OJ was sweet and refreshing, with a good amount of pulp in it. Given the prices of the food were decent, I was definitely surprised to find how generous the servings of food were.

The Vegetarian Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, grilled asparagus, feta, avo, grilled kale, spinach and sauteed mushrooms on sourdough toast. It was definitely one of the most generous portions of big breakfasts that I've seen, and the range of vegetables you got in the dish was definitely great value. The grilled kale and spinach were cooked well - not bland and not overly seasoned either - and together with the feta, tomato and mushrooms, the flavours were brought out nicely. The buttered sourdough did go a little soggy by the end, as there was just so many elements on top of it, but it was still enjoyable. The grilled asparagus was also delicious, even for someone who isn't usually a fan of the vegetable.

The bisque benedict was a twist on the usual eggs benedict, with tiger prawns and poached eggs served on squid ink toast with lobster bisque hollandaise. I'm not usually a fan of eggs benedict because of the hollandaise sauce - it's a bit too tangy for my liking - but this was surprisingly delicious with the lobster flavour dominating, and making for a great dipping sauce to soak the squid ink bread in. Initially, I wasn't sure if one piece of the squid ink toast was enough, though surprisingly with the bisque was quite filling. It did get a big soggy towards the end, but in a good way that allowed for the bisque to be more easily soaked up, and the crust was still nice and crunchy. The freshness of the seafood flavour came through strongly in the dish, and the tiger prawns had good elasticity. The poached eggs were cooked perfectly, with the yolk oozing out and combining with the benedict bisque for a really great flavour that you otherwise might not have thought would work well together. The portion was just the right amount and as it was quite a light dish, meant you didn't have that oily, heavy taste like with some other breakfast dishes, and had to keep washing it down with water or the like.

The Breakfast Board came with a house made croggle (croissant cross bagel), vanilla eclair, a chia bowl of cream of coconut with toasted coconut and fresh fruit, as well as a small OJ. This was a really delicious dish where all the separate elements came together really well. The chia bowl, with all the fresh fruit and coconut in it, meant every bite was made up of different texturtes and flavours, and really warming on a cold day, which was a nice surprise.

The crogel felt more like a croissant than a bagel, though lighter and less buttery. There was butter on the side, so if you did want it you could add it to the dish, and it was at the perfect temperature so it wasn't too hard and not able to be spread, and not too soft so that it melted and went everywhere. The OJ came in a japanese style tea cup which was really cute, and a nice touch to the dish to give it some acidity. The eclair was just the right portion to finish off the meal, and the vanilla flavour came through really well in the filling. However as a personal preference, the white chocolate was a bit too sweet - we also wondered if at less busy times you're able to choose what eclair or macaron to go with, or they just choose the most basic one there is.

As there's quite an extensive range of pastries and desserts on display, we couldn't have visited without having some ourselves, and decide on a raspberry eclair ($3.80) to share. The eclair wasn't too sour or sweet, with a slight tartness to it and just the right amount of filling to not be too doughy. The crunchy bits up the top gave the eclair some added texture to the otherwise soft pastry, and the white chocolate on top balanced out the flavours well.

As you can probably tell, I had a really great experience here at The Crux and Co., and will definitely be coming back again to try some of their other dishes (mains and desserts!). Definitely worth a visit for sure.

Ambience: 9/10
Service: 9.5/10
Food: 9/10
Price: $$


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