Following a coffee experience is like barracking for a football team. Come across a loyal follower, and they’ll travel for kilometres to get their special brew, even when it’s out of the way. That’s how it is with Hide ‘n’ Seek.
Not just a hot cup of stimulating brew, for many people coffee is a daily ritual, a social experience and even a sense of belonging to a particular community.
Early in 2014, Mark and Rosie Hutton set up Hide ‘n’ Seek Espresso. They’d both been in the hospitality industry since their teens, Mark most recently working with Toby’s Estate, and they grabbed the chance to set up a place of their own. Located in Miami Village Shopping Centre, the espresso bar is hidden away in suburbia.
“We wanted to create a local hub for the community in Miami,” Mark told us.
They’ve set about doing just that. Regulars are greeted by name, and new customers are welcomed with a smile.
“Mark has a really great skill with customers, which makes them feel special,” a local told us. “He’s always cheery. The second time we went into the shop he greeted us with a smile and asked ‘Soy latte and flat white?’ It was the coffee we’d ordered when we first went there.”
The house blend Toby’s Estate Woolloomooloo is a smooth full-bodied blend with chocolate and caramel overtones, perfect in a latte for your daily cup. Hide ‘n’ Seek also run a weekly single origin: Sumatran, when we visited.
Mark really looks at home behind the espresso machine, happy to talk coffee and food. He happily relates how he and Rosie built this place themselves: Rosie’s design ideas, him doing the work, he tells me. Using scrap metal and recycled timber for the bar, fruit crates from Bellingen as decoration and soil sifters as wall feature pieces, an edgy urban-industrial espresso bar was born.
A regular walks in right on closing time. No worries at all! Mark’s not in a rush and she walks away, coffee in hand.
Specialising in coffee and sweets from the cabinet, as their clientele grows the couple is developing the kitchen to increase the range of food on offer. For now, choose from the cabinet, as there’s no menu. Everything is baked on the premises and, though the sweet and treat menu is limited, it varies from day to day.
There are advantages to being a small suburban espresso bar. There’s tons of parking, making takeaway a cinch, and the barista himself feels an essential role in community well-being.
“It’s not like coming to work. This is what work should be like; you enjoy coming in here every day,” Mark says.
That’s the attitude that shines through and brings a smile to so many around him. As he closes up and I say goodbye, he packages up a piece of cheesecake.
“Here, take this with you.” He smiles and waves away my offer of payment. It’s a small gesture, but a typical one. It’s all about giving back; contributing, rather than taking.
Shop 2/110 Mountainview Avenue, Miami Ph: 0427 978 853