I’ve heard it so many times before… “I left the corporate world because I needed a change”… and it’s really amazing how many times I hear café owners say this, and rejoice in the new path they have taken. This is exactly how I found Adam Cruickshank, who came to Australia from the Long White Cloud over the ditch.
He’s no stranger to hospitality, having managed gastro pubs while in New Zealand, before moving to Melbourne in his early 20’s. Being locked up in an office, and chained to a desk from 9 to 5 proved to be too much of a challenge for his rebellious personality. ‘Coffee came calling like a choir of schoolboys’. Now several years in, and 3 venues later; it’s safe to say Adam has found his place. “I was miserable in the corporate world, and needed to get out. The café keeps me busy, and gives me a chance to connect with people”. Following the success of his Mt Waverley site, and Notting Hill location; it was time to move closer to the city, and so Crooked Letters Prahran was born. The name Crooked Letters is a reference to Adam’s nickname, care of Outkast’s popular song which echoes his surname.
The café is housed in a former milk bar, and Adam has kept vestiges of its former resident, whilst also keeping things simple so that regulars are afforded an opportunity to simply be, and relish the communal vibe. Head barista Hugo knows everyone’s order; regulars know each other’s names, as well as each other’s dog’s names. This is exactly why I love a local café, especially one set in the backstreets of an inner-city suburb. It’s shedding light on the one thing we humans crave- ‘connection’. In an age where social isolation is rife, it’s nice to know there’s a place for connection, and a sense of belonging.
I’m happy to say, the coffee was as rich as the social value this place holds. Coffee of the day was the Kenya Nyakabugi, a beautifully balanced coffee, with notes of black tea, hints of dark berries, and citrus acidity. Find Adam and the Crooked Letters crew at 3B Murray Street, Prahran . Open daily from 6:30-3pm, and 8am til 3pm on weekends.