It’s been six years since Kit Tran opened Haven Specialty Coffee in Surry Hills. But when light-rail construction began in the suburb, the cafe took a hit and has never quite been the same.
“We lost a lot of business there. After they finished construction, the whole area [had] changed. It’s really quiet there; it’s like a ghost town,” Tran tells Broadsheet.
So, Tran and business partner Herman Chiu have relocated their cafe to Rosebery. “We had the idea since last year to move to a new location and start fresh,” Tran says. “The reason we like Rosebery is because it’s booming here. We essentially see a lot of new apartments, but there aren’t many cafe options – so we thought, ‘Let’s give it a go.’”
But the Rosebery venue isn’t a copy-and-paste of the original. Rather, it’s a more grown-up version. Haven 2.0 is half the size of the spacious and open Surry Hills space. There’s a sleek industrial warehouse vibe to it, with white, brown and grey tones and the use of natural wood throughout.
The all-day menu has been stripped back, but still focuses on Australian dishes with Asian twists. The emphasis here is on quality rather than quantity, Tran says. Dishes that do make a return include Haven’s signature bacon-and-egg roll with house-made char siu sauce. There’s also a spin on a yum cha favourite, daikon cake, with dried sausage, shrimp, shiitake mushroom and charred broccoli, and a dressing of bechamel and XO sauce.
For the sweet tooth, there’s a Hong Kong-style French toast made using a soft-centred, crumbled peanut butter brioche, topped with honey lotus seeds, mascarpone cream, condensed milk and strawberry compote.
Coffee has always been serious business for Haven and this focus has carried over to the new space, where the barista and coffee-making apparatus take centre stage. Depending on the season, there’s usually single-origin beans from Kenya, Honduras or Costa Rica for batch brew, pour-over and cold drip. Haven’s coffee menu also features the “magic” – a Melburnian coffee order made with a double-shot of ristretto and three-quarters milk.
Haven Specialty Coffee
7 Crewe Place, Rosebery
Mon to Fri 7am–3pm
Sat and Sun 8am–3pm