Good coffee and Asian inspired breakfasts, what’s not to like? Such is the proximity of Haven Specialty Coffee to Central Station, you can actually grab a seat outside and watch the people traffic or the trains begin their outward journeys.
There has been a dearth of really good coffee around the biggest station in Sydney. Sure, you can venture a few more minutes up Devonshire or Reservoir streets and find amazing coffee, but Haven’s location is a real boon to those who need to grab their coffee hit before jumping on a train.
Quite often a cafe becomes renowned for the characteristics and style of their coffee, where Haven differentiates themselves is creating bespoke coffees tailoring to the needs of you, the customer! The friendly baristas can tailor your coffee based on aroma, acidity, sweetness, body and aftertaste. That’s a whole lot of customisation and seriously, if you can’t get the coffee you’re after, well, you must be hard to please.
Haven is a cavernous space with a combination of communal tables and seperates. Wooden picnic style chairs and concreted floors and ceilings make it an informal and relaxed space, and it’s enhanced with a piano at the front of the cafe for brave customers willing to tickle the ivory.
To start off my coffee experience, I try their Geisha monthly pick and the captain’s pick this month is a Costa Rican Dota EI Diosa. It’s a lightly roasted coffee which is served pour-over style . There is a definite hit of sweetness when I take my first sip. I don’t get the heat of ginger that’s described in the tasting notes, but I do get a citrus lemon rind flavour. It’s a medium-bodied coffee, and the aftertaste is delicate and brings to mind a red tea. The Geisha is immaculately presented with a mini decanter and a rocking tumbler glass. Very refined! The serving size is fantastic, it’s akin to never ending carafe of goodness.
It’s food time! I decide to go out on a limb and try the cauliflower popcorn with a poached egg, wakame butter, and lemongrass infused breadcrumb. Now, if you have been on the fence about cauliflower, you have to try Haven’s take on this variety of brassica. The cauliflower is deep fried with a crispy and crunch batter, and the wakame butter and lemongrass enhances the flavour. Break apart the perfectly poached egg, and as the yolk oozes out, you can mop it up with the cauliflower. These flavours really do marry well together. Who’d have thought a cauliflower could stand alone as a dish? But it does here at Haven!
The signature pork belly kimcheese burger is one of the standout items on the Haven Specialty Coffee menu, and I have to try a couple bites. The pork is deliciously tender and just melts away. The kimchi not only adds some heat, but cuts through the richness of the pork and cheese . The open style presentation owes more to the generosity of the burger and you would need to have a big appetite to get through this giant. If pork, bocconcini cheese and kimchi is not enough, there’s crispy kale and sweet apple which add a level of complexity to the burger, yet all the ingredients and flavours work so harmoniously together.
To round off my visit, I have to try their cappuccino and I specify a medium-bodied coffee. I usually will add a teaspoon to my cappuccino but when the manager/owner places a board with coffee in front of me, it’s accompanied by a little cup filled with raisins and I abstain from the sugar. It works really well, a great coffee with the raisins. The sugar from the dried grapes balances really well with the medium-bodied cap. It’s these little one percent level of efforts that set cafes apart in Sydney’s crowded café scene.
If you are after a café that delivers on “Tailoring Coffee Joyously”, with Asian inspired breakfast and lunch offerings, just jump on a train to Central Station, walk to the Devonshire St exit and Haven Specialty Coffee will take care of the rest.
Haven Specialty Coffee Essentials