Offering lobster bisque benedict and French toast with fairy floss, The Crux and Co menu could appeal to those who like to come, Instagram, and move onto the next thing. But owner Kevin Li (also behind Lights in the Attic and 3 Lives) and manager James Julian have designed the space to be homey and relaxing – to encourage visitors to sit a while.

“We’ve got a book shelf at the front window, so the idea is to find somewhere to lounge and be comfortable, not come in and then be pushed out,” says Julian.

There’s certainly a strong French influence in the menu, but with a culturally diverse team back of house, you’ll find culinary traditions from South America, Italy and Korea making appearances as well.

“We’ve let the chefs bring something personal to the menu, so an example of this is the Fontina fondue dish … our Italian chef modified one of his old family recipes to create it,” says Julian.

The interior design by Architects EAT references the 1960s with rounded edges on tables and cabinets, and a colour palette of baby blue and navy. A cork ceiling softens peak-time acoustics. The large marble counter and copper finishes complete a clean and polished look.

Unassuming from the outside, The Crux and Co’s long interior space seats 110 people all the way through to the commercial-sized bakery at the back.

“We noticed there was a lack of good bakeries and patisseries in the area offering fresh pastry, and this is our specialty,” says Li.

All the pastries and desserts are made on-site with Louis MK Lee (formerly Brunetti) as head patisserie chef. You can find decadent macarons, eclairs, escargot and croissant varieties, as well as the recently popular “crogle” (a croissant-bagel hybrid).

Coffee is a custom, robust blend by Five Senses. Other drink selections are chai by Chai Boy, two flavours of Mörk hot chocolate and organic tea by Ovvio.

Crux & Co.
35 Albert Road, South Melbourne
(03) 9820 1081

Hours:
Mon to Fri 7am–4pm
Sat & Sun 8am–4pm

thecruxandco.com.au