194 Toorak Road
(03) 9827 5058
Coffee: Rosso, Single Origin
Mon – Fri: 6.45am – 4.30pm
Sat: 8am – 2pm
Note: This cafe is now closed and is replaced with Drugstore Cafe.
“Believe it or not there are villages in Melbourne. If a British foreigner was to come to Melbourne and stumbled across shops and eateries with wooden exterior panels and classic window designs, he/she would fit in like bangers and mash. Understandably, we were colonised by the British which have villages and townships, which seems to have somewhat been adopted here in Australia. I beg to differ that a strip of shops is not considered a ‘village’, but regardless, amongst ‘Toorak village’ lies a cafe gem by the name of Crue Coffee Lounge.
Crue provides a unique coffee experience with a big focus on delivering fine coffee with a modern touch. Upon entering Crue you will notice cameras purposely situated around the barista station capturing their every move while they prepare your coffee, which is transmitted on the TV screens behind them. They offer a range of single origin beans in addition to their house blend, Rosso. This blend is roasted in Richmond and consists of a selection of five different beans. It is an interesting combination, considering most roasted blends prefer a two or three bean selection. The end result of my long black was sensational, having soft floral aromas with a defined fruity/mandarin taste. There was a clear, crisp taste which didn’t leave a lingering ‘coffee ash-tray breath’.
To go with my fabulous beverage, I elected the Avocado & Feta mash w/ Pesto & Lemon on Sourdough [$9.8] with 2 additional eggs [approx. $2.5 each]. You will notice that Miss SL had also selected the same dish and this meant it was time for the brunch addict face-off. The dish came out in next to no time and I was surprised at the attractive plating of the simplistic meal. Avocado & Feta smash in general, is a delightful fresh and simplistic dish, but what separates a good and great smash is the method and the little additional extras. This was clearly in the great category with its smooth, green texture and lack of lumpy avocado. There was a sweet, enjoyable lemon taste infused within the smash which defined the dish. The poached eggs were a necessary addition to the meal that complemented the pesto.
Crue is a great little cafe. It has creativity, character with great coffee and food – but there are downsides. For starters, it is closed on Sundays and limited hours on Saturday. This makes it difficult if you don’t work in the area to visit. The other main downside is its location. Crue is a coffee place that you would expect to find down an alley, as the Melbourne brunch-goer generally enjoys taking a pleasant wander to get to their destination, like the newly impressive Manchester Press or The Little Mula Co. Rather, Crue is on the main street with the busy traffic and people walking passed. The location seems to lose a little of that ‘Melbourne factor’ where great cafes are in unexpected locations. With that said, Crue is still worth the visit and I do urge to experience it for yourself.”
“It was a beautifully sunny day and Mr LB and I decided on an impromptu brunch at Crue, South Yarra. It’s one of those places we’d been wanting to go to for a long time, but because it’s not open on Sundays we always missed out. We arrived to find it sitting in the middle of Toorak Road, amongst other shops and cafes which didn’t look nearly as exciting. It was surprisingly empty, which didn’t seem right given its cool and trendy decor.
There were two guys behind the counter mucking around when we arrived – the barista and the waiter. They jovially told us to sit anywhere we liked and assisted us with picking our brunch for the day – Avocado & Feta Mash w/ Pesto & Lemon on Sourdough [$9.8] with 2 additional eggs [approx. $2.5 each]. I also ordered a soy latte to start off my morning with a bit of a kick, and a copy of the cafe-supplied Box magazine for my dose of Hollywood gossip.
My coffee arrived and upon my first sip I knew it was something special – a unique flavour of flora and fruit combined together to leave a soft but velvety impression on my palate. Mr LB noted a hint of mandarin and nectar, which was drowned out by the power of my soy milk.
Our brunch was quickly served within 10 minutes of ordering. Two thin slices of sourdough crisply cooked and topped with a heavy load of pesto, avocado and fetta smashed, together with our beautifully cooked poached eggs to the side were served before us. I quickly re-arranged my plate and popped my eggs on top of the sourdough, piercing them with a fork and allowing it to drip all over the pesto.
Delicious! I thought the pesto might be too overpowering in this dish, but the avocado and feta were perfectly matched, toning down the intense flavours of the basil and pine nuts. The sourdough was perfectly made too – crunchy, crisp and fresh. Believe it or not, we were both pretty full by the end of this meal and couldn’t even find room for a late lunch later in the day.
I think Crue would benefit from a more sneaky location, for example, in an unsuspecting side street or alley like many of Melbourne’s greats. After all, Melbournian’s love the hunt. That aside, I believe it was the perfect way to start our Saturday without being hustled and bustled about.”
Final thought: “A lovely pesto-based avocado smash”