Haven Specialty Coffee is a Surry Hills café located opposite Central station, that focuses on creating the perfect brew for customers. Hailing from Hong Kong, owner and experienced barista Roy Yu saw a market for tailoring coffee tastes and flavours to the particular preferences of each customer. People can customize their coffee based on 4 elements of aroma, acidity, sweetness, body & aftertaste. To match his large coffee offering, the café offers an extensive menu of favourites and Asian fusion twists, making it the perfect place for breakfast or lunch.
Cold drip or Cold Brew coffee has been taking Sydney by storm recently, with our hot climate and coffee appreciation making it the perfect way to enjoy ice-cold coffee that retains maximum flavor. The increasingly popular method uses filtered water dripped over coffee beans for long periods ranging from 8-12 hours to yield greatest taste from the beans. It creates a subtle yet concentrated ice-cold coffee blend, with the different chemical profile creating lower caffeine and less acidity than hot coffee.We sampled their 8 hour Cold Brew “Nutty” and “Chocolaty” ($8) blends which were served in cute little conical vessels with a glass of ice. The Chocolaty blend was accompanied by cacao nibs and crushed nuts that effortlessly matched the tasting profile of ‘vanilla, earthy, aromatic with full body & dark chocolate aftertaste’. Meanwhile the Nutty blend was distinctly different, but still delicious accompanied by little dried currants.The cafe also boasts a long list of teas or ‘Iced Tea Mocktails’. The Marilyn ($6) was a fruity blend of watermelon, honey, lemon and cold brewed Mary Mary served up in a pretty patterned glass. Their menu lists a range of ‘Classics’, ‘Fusions’ and ‘Desserts’. The Classics include typical breakfast café items such as Smashed Avocado, Croque Monsieur, Smoked Salmon Fritters and Bacon, Egg & Avocado Sandwich.
Moving onto Fusions, we knew it was essential to order their ‘must try’ Signature Pork Belly Kimcheese Burger ($20). Served open style, the soft fluffy milk bun was lightly toasted and covered in a mayo aioli sauce. Layered on top was freshly blanched kale, a fresh apple slaw, a small slab of five spice roasted pork belly, shredded radish, long strands of sesame omelette, and finally a delicious kimchi mixed with bocconcini. Whilst the piece of pork itself was relatively small compared to the rest of the burger, it was tasty. The richness of the dish was offset by the fresh kale and slaw, whilst the radish and apple slaw added a slight crunchy texture. The bocconcini was a measly serving, yet proved delicious alongside the kimchi and aioli. It proved cumbersome to eat, yet justifiably delicious.
Next up was the Miso Roasted Eggplant ($15.50) consisting of a ginormous eggplant halved and scored, before being basted with a sticky sweet miso sauce and roasted. Sitting atop a bed of sweet soy garlic aioli and with deep-fried gnocchi decorating the plate, the eggplant itself was finger-licking good. Unfortunately the gnocchi seemed displaced and lost its appeal, with the unusual texture created by the deep-fryer proving disenchanting. The sliced spring onions atop the eggplant paired dreamily with the dish, and cut through the sweetness of the miso glaze.The Tartare Smoked Salmon ($19) is a perfect breakfast dish combining everyone’s favourite’s of poached eggs, avocado and smoked salmon toast. Beautifully presented with a circular tower of avocado and thinly sliced mirin cured smoked salmon, topped with strawberries and sprigs of dill. The addition of cirtrus dressed strawberries generated another level of flavor to the typical salmon-avo combination, with the acidity of citrus interrupting your expectations in a subtle yet friendly way. The eggs were expertly poached, delivering perfect yolk porn.
Being huge fans of desserts, we were treated to all but one of the sweet treats available. The description of the French Toast Kara-Age ($14.50) had us all salivating, consisting of espresso infused French toast (Hong Kong style), chocolate ice-cream, kiwi & berries. Hong Kong style denotes the method of deep-frying bread sandwiched with sweet filling, in an egg mixture- which in this case was spiked with an espresso infusion. This was absolutely delectable, despite the absence of kiwi as described, the plentiful scattering of berries, and gooey sweet syrup drizzled over the dish was addictive. The ice-cream was a light chocolaty flavor, proving not too overpowering. Meanwhile the finishing of fresh mint leaves on top, cut through the sweetness and proved a nice addition to complete the dish.As we were coming to realize, Haven doesn’t skimp on presentation, and this was by far the most beautiful dish we were served. Named the Golden Dragon ($15.50) with what is said to be ‘yin and yang’ inspired plating, it included black sticky rice, mango, coconut sago in a matcha pandan pond. The dish was interesting but not a favourite. The sticky rice was warm and unusual, whilst the coconut sago seemed a little boring and bland. An interesting element was the matcha pandan pond, which proved a subtle union of the two flavours. The fresh mango was delicious with the Matcha sauce and cute addition of strategically placed raspberries echoing the yin yang symbol.The Madagascan Love ($11) proved a crowd-favourite and any chocolate lover’s dream. The 73% Madagascan Dark Chocolate Brownie was served on a bed of chocolate soil, with vanilla ice-cream and mixed berries. The slightly warm and gooey brownie was decadent and velvety, whilst the chocolate soil crumb embodied a slightly burnt tang that proved an enchanting flavor addition. The ice-cream was rich and smooth with a strong vanilla bean flavor burning through. The sprinkling of blueberries and strawberries, and sweet berry syrup perfectly concluded the dish with a fresh fruity polish.To finish, a small cup of Tear-amisu ($11) in Haven’s cute coffee mugs inscribed with their signature Anchor symbol sat tempting us. Despite being full, we managed a bite of the velvety layered mousse and sponge mixture. Consisting of a bailey’s infused tiramisu, the unusual component of Matcha was an interesting but welcomed addition to the mix. The coffee tears were odd and rather bland, but looked pretty sitting atop the dish. The cream within the dessert was sickly sweet and rich, proving a little too much for us at this stage but sure to satisfy any tiramisu lover.
Haven also conduct coffee appreciation classes and latte workshops for those serious coffee enthusiasts. It is a great place to pick up a delicious coffee, as we observed with lines out the door for their famed and skilled blend. Check it out and be sure to try some of their menu delights!
Haven Specialty Coffee
30-34 Chalmers Street, Surry Hills, Sydney NSW
Phone: (02) 9281 9300
Monday – Friday: 7am – 4pm
Saturday – Sunday: 8am -4pm
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of Haven Specialty Coffee