When CRUX celebrated its first birthday last year, it was met with the café’s busiest weekday on record and an outpouring of support.
“The response we received was something else,” says co-owner Aleesha Lindsaar.
“We had gifts and cards from customers… it was really cool to feel so much support and love.”
Such community is evidence of the vegan institution’s reputation, cultivated in the 18 months since Aleesha and her business partner George Thomson debuted their Semaphore Park digs in late-2018.
As a result, Aleesha says, “we’ve moved our focus to innovative dining, as it’s what has felt right (and what’s necessary for veganism)”.
“We’ve realised we need to recreate classic non-vegan foods because we need to show what can be done with plants and that you don’t give anything up by going vegan.
“We feel where we are now is more powerful than anything we’ve done in the past”.
George and Aleesha maintained creative reign over the new menu, enlisting additional expertise in the form of head chef Joel Van Bussel.
“We had to know what the limitations were,” explained Aleesha.
“Just like a year ago, our main issue is still space – we’re seriously limited. But Joel sees the vision for CRUX just as we do, so we really all just had the same ideas bouncing around.”
Throughout 2019, limited-release menu items gave diners a taste of CRUX’s culinary prowess – fully realised in December with the release of the eatery’s sophomore menu.
Comprised of breakfast and brunch offerings designed “to take people’s breath away”, expect the nostalgic flavours, tastes and textures you’ve grown up with, sans animal products.
“[They’re] all things you’d see on a ‘normal café menu’, except ours are made in-house, with love and care by our chefs – with no cruelty,” explains Aleesha.
Dubbed the Sunny Daise, the addition of a vegan fried egg epitomises CRUX’s penchant for innovation – pushing the boundaries and quickly gaining notoriety both in store and online.
“A true vegan egg was something Adelaide had never seen before.” That is until George figured out the science on how to replicate the real deal and Joel spent hours on hours realising his vision.
Other menu highlights include the salt and pepper squid and the Smoking Green bowl. The former is expertly crafted from King Oyster mushrooms and cooked in a broth of seaweed and sea salt to produce an uncanny plant-based alternative while the latter champions house smoky papaya salmon, cashew cream cheese and salad of organic greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red cabbage, and kimchi.
Unsurprisingly, the team required a well-deserved break over the festive period “to utilise every second of rest”, although Aleesha admits she did find time to make some tweaks to the café’s ever-chic décor.
Looking forward to the new decade, she says diners can expect “mouth-watering specials to showcase more of what veganism has to offer”.
“There’ll also be new menus but we have to top the egg – so we’ll be taking our sweet time to perfect what we believe Adelaide needs.”
WHERE? 5/292 Military Road, Semaphore Park
WHEN? Wednesday – Sunday: 8.00 – 15.00
Photography by Ben Neale