Hai Hello

A great way to greet the week

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - CONTENTS - Alice Pea­cock

SET UP & SITE: I’m look­ing to start off the week with a few Brownie points by invit­ing my mum out to break­fast and I think I’ve suc­ceeded. I’ve se­cured a com­pan­ion for a Mon­day morn­ing brekky and she’s tak­ing the morn­ing off to wit­ness the rare spec­ta­cle of one of her kids foot­ing the bill for her meal. It’s a win-win re­ally. Hai Hello, a “fu­sion” eatery perched on a cor­ner in the Re­muera town­ship, re­places the old Sierra cafe. It’s owned by the same fam­ily as the Thai Vil­lage Restau­rant, lo­cated just a few hun­dred me­tres away. Hai Hello has tones of this in­flu­ence — though we’re told the menu has wider Asian el­e­ments rather than just Thai. This makes for some in­ter­est­ing ad­di­tions to the menu, in­clud­ing sev­eral matcha latte op­tions (if you’re that way in­clined) as well as a ly­chee smoothie. The cafe has a warm, al­most homely feel to it. The counter is crowded with bak­ing and the staff wel­come us and of­fer a booth upon our ar­rival.

SUS­TE­NANCE & SWILL: We dither over an ex­ten­sive cof­fee menu — the place of­fers an ar­ray of Kokako cold brew cof­fees — be­fore fall­ing back on our go-to picks. My flat white is good and strong, though could be a lit­tle hot­ter. Mum’s latte is “great” - no com­plaints there. The menu is a mash-up of your usual sus­pects (“eggs your way on toast” or “smashed avo­cado on sour­dough rye”) and a few more in­ter­est­ing picks, like the duck bao buns with hoisin sriracha sauce. I some­how es­cape this stage of the meal with­out the usual par­ent jokes (“you kids and your smashed avo”) and we or­der two plates to share: eggs bene on house-made ku­mara rosti with beet­root-cured salmon ($20.50), and the Hai baked gra­nola. The gra­nola is a great com­bi­na­tion of flavours and tex­tures. Roasted muesli and nuts are paired with fresh fruit (or­ange and straw­ber­ries) and de­hy­drated fruit (ly­chee and man­darin). There’s also a blue­berry panna cotta which is great — not too sweet. The eggs bene is good, but not great. The eggs are a lit­tle run­nier than we both would have liked, and the rosti per­haps a lit­tle un­der­cooked. De­spite this, Hai Hello gains back points for pre­sen­ta­tion. The salmon on the bene dish comes curled into a pretty lit­tle rose and the whole pre­sen­ta­tion of the gra­nola is great.

SER­VICE & OTHER STUFF: The ser­vice was suf­fi­ciently at­ten­tive, but not overly so. Our cof­fees ar­rive promptly and our meals not too long af­ter, but we do have to ask for wa­ter for the ta­ble. A con­ver­sa­tion with a chatty man­ager in­forms us that they’re still play­ing around with the menu. Plans are in place to ex­pand the fu­sion side of things, with cre­ations like a satay panini. I can’t help but think of a cer­tain politi­cian — surely she’d ap­prove? Hai Hello has been open about a month, and it comes across a lit­tle as a place still find­ing its feet. It’s good and, with a lit­tle more tin­ker­ing, it could be great.

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