ot too long ago Kew was a suburb starved for great cafes – but not anymore. Joining cafes such as Ora and Percy’s Aeroplane, Cru is a welcome addition to the recent procession of quality eateries sprouting up in this leafy suburb.
Located on a somewhat eclectic stretch of Glenferrie Road, Cru is the perfect spot for locals – and not so locals – to make their second home. This is the first joint venture for friends and co-owners Annie and Peter Rose, Andrew Pickering and Robyn Blake, but the place has the feel of a wealth of experience in hospitality.
If the crew on the floor seem pretty close, that's because they are. They're all friends of the owners and their families and it's that extra bit of love and care that makes Cru feel like home. The light and welcoming dining area is courtesy of Northcote architects Baracco + Wright. A long marble bar runs almost the length of one side of the room, making it the perfect place to spread out with a newspaper and Five Senses coffee.
There's also plenty of room for outdoor dining, with long benches stretching throughout the sunny exterior space. Those unsure about braving the winter chill needn't worry; the majority of the space is undercover and is warmed by top-standard heaters. There's also a cleverly placed hatch in the wall that opens into the kitchen, so the staff can bring the dishes steaming straight from the stove. The outdoor space leads into an open courtyard complete with a charming old shed. Once the weather warms, this shed will be converted into a wine bar.
Back in the kitchen, chef Justin Cortellino has created an exciting menu that sprawls from breakfast to lunch. Cortellino has worked hard with his team to source the best local ingredients for his kitchen. The textured gluten-free bread is delivered daily from Jane's Bread, an artisan baker in Hawthorn. The eggs come from South Gippsland, the succulent bacon from Otway Pork and Peter B. Bouchier and the lamb from Paddy's Meats, right around the corner on Cotham Road. This sense of keeping things close also stretches to the kitchen, as Cortellino orders his olive oil from his mum's grove in Echuca and the staff, all of whom seem to share Cortellino's passion for food, are trying their hand at making their own relishes, chutneys and spices in-house.
That said, the menu doesn't shy away from a healthy dose of dude food, with tender lamb sausages, a burger with Angus patty and the sure fire favourite, bubble and squeak (smoked ham, cabbage, potato and a poached egg). The Stop 80 (named after the tram stop right outside) also deserves a special mention for the combination of fried egg, bacon and cheese, cased in a buttery brioche bun.
If you’re after a friendly local café, there's never been a better time to join the Cru.
916 Glenferrie Road, Kew
(03) 9818 4366
Wed to Fri 7am–4pm