A Must-Try Surry Hills Cafe: Haven Specialty Coffee
Located across from Central Station in the heart of Surry Hills is where you’ll find Haven Specialty Coffee.
Enter an open plan, industrial style space with exposed pipes on the ceiling, a large wooden communal table and smaller tables inside and out on the street. Amber pendant lighting hangs from the roof above and a large, open kitchen sprawls across one half of the cafe adjacent to cleverly placed mirrors that give the illusion of a larger venue.
It’s a busy Saturday but not long after putting our names down for a table are we seated inside with full view of the busy barista.
As the name suggests, Haven Specialty Coffee is serious about their brew. It’s the only place in Sydney we’ve come across that let’s you tailor your coffee to your liking, almost like a martini. Use their helpful guide to select your perfect coffee based on aroma, acidity, sweetness, body and aftertaste.
But if that’s all a bit much and you’re in need of a quick fix, ‘help me i’m hungover’ coffee, a simple flat white is smooth, strong and bound to hit the spot. It also comes with a tiny pot of currants. Random, but nice and thoughtful all the same.
Tea drinkers aren’t neglected or snobbed at this establishment. Rather, each pot is served as part of a ritual instead of a boring cuppa. We order a pot of lapsang souchong that comes with an egg timer so you know exactly when it’s ready. Pour it into another pot to avoid any stray tea leaves, add milk and then pour the tea into a small sipping cup. There’s a little card explaining some of the benefits of lapsang souchong you can read while you sit back and enjoy your tea. It’s a rewarding experience worth the $5 price tag.
Still recovering from a big night we order three dishes between two applying the theory that the more food you eat, the less the head will hurt. It kind of works, especially after devouring a crispy croque monsieur with leg ham, gruyere cheese and mustard bechamel sauce. The smoked salmon fritters with poached eggs continues to soothe the restless tummy but by the time it comes to the third dish we’re pushing the fullness threshold.
The smashed avocado on sough dough topped with poached eggs and salsa verde is probably the healthier option of the three so maybe that’s why we leave it last. The heavy serve of salsa verde risks overpowering the dish but by this point we’re more than satisfied and ready to order another coffee.
This time we’ve “played it safe” with the classics menu. On our next visit we’ll tackle the ‘Fusions’ section of the menu full of Asian style twists on classic dishes. Hello pork belly kimcheese burger and miso roasted eggplant with deep fried gnocchi.
For those coffee geeks out there you may be interested in Haven’s coffee workshops. Take a latte art class or explore the world of coffee with a two hour appreciation class. For more info visit their website.
Haven Specialty Coffee
30-34 Chalmers St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, (02) 9281 9300
Mon – Fri 7am-4pm, Sat-Sun 8am- 4pm